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Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

This slow cooker kalua pork recipe brings a taste of Hawaii right into your kitchen. This traditional Hawaiian dish is slow-cooked to perfection for a tender, flavorful result that will transport your taste buds to the tropical islands. The key to this recipe's authentic flavor is the combination of mesquite smoke and Hawaiian sea salt. Packed with flavor, this pork dish is perfect for any occasion.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

Photos of Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

The ingredients for this recipe are commonly found in many supermarkets, but there are a couple you should pay attention to. The first is liquid mesquite smoke, a potent flavoring that gives the pork its unique, smoky flavor. Not all supermarkets may carry it, so be sure to check in the barbecue or seasoning section. The second is coarse red Hawaiian sea salt. This special type of sea salt has a distinct flavor and is typically used in traditional Hawaiian cooking. If you can't find it, a coarse sea salt can be used as a substitute.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Pork shoulder blade roast: This cut is ideal for slow cooking as it becomes exceptionally tender and flavorful.

Liquid mesquite smoke: This gives the pork a rich, smoky flavor that's key to this dish.

Coarse red hawaiian sea salt: This unique salt enhances the flavor of the pork and adds an authentic Hawaiian touch.

One reader, Brockie Branham says:

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This slow cooker kalua pork recipe is a game-changer! The pork turns out incredibly tender and flavorful, with just the right amount of smokiness. It's so easy to prepare and the results are absolutely delicious. I highly recommend trying this recipe for a taste of authentic Hawaiian cuisine at home.

Brockie Branham

Techniques Required for Making Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

How to prepare the pork: Stab the pork shoulder blade roast all over with the tip of a knife. Rub coarse red Hawaiian sea salt all over the pork. Drizzle the liquid mesquite smoke all over the pork.

How to cook in the slow cooker: Place the prepared pork in the crock pot and set it to low. Cook until the meat is tender, about 12 to 16 hours.

How to shred the pork: Remove the cooked pork from the crock pot and place it on a large platter. Remove any excess fat and shred the pork using two forks. Discard the cooking liquid, reserving a little as needed to keep the pork moist.

How To Make Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Treat yourself to a Hawaiian dinner with this tender and slightly sweet kalua pork. Enjoy the smoky aftertaste. We guarantee that this is a superb meal!

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 5 minutes



  • 3lbpork shoulder blade roast,trimmed
  • 1tbspliquid mesquite smoke
  • coarse red Hawaiian sea salt,any sea salt would work


  1. Place pork in the crock pot and stab it all over with the tip of a knife.

  2. Rub sea salt all over pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over and set crock pot to low; cook until the meat is tender, about 12 to 16 hours.

  3. Remove from crock pot and place on a large platter. Remove any fat you may have missed and shred pork with two forks. Discard liquid reserving a little as needed to keep pork moist.


  • Calories: 206.84kcal
  • Fat: 10.80g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.42g
  • Trans Fat: 0.44g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.36g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.97g
  • Protein: 27.31g
  • Cholesterol: 92.53mg
  • Sodium: 316.45mg
  • Calcium: 16.46mg
  • Potassium: 457.26mg
  • Iron: 3.40mg
  • Vitamin A: 4.08µg

Technique Tip for Achieving Tender and Flavorful Kalua Pork

When shredding the pork, it's best to let it cool slightly before handling to avoid burning your fingers. Also, using two forks, pull in opposite directions to create long, tender shreds. If you find the pork a bit dry, don't hesitate to mix in some of the reserved cooking liquid. This will not only moisten the meat but also enhance its flavor with the smoky and salty notes from the Hawaiian sea salt and liquid mesquite smoke.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Kalua Pork in a Slow Cooker

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and measure out ingredients the night before to save time on the day of cooking.

Use a slow cooker: Utilize a slow cooker to cook the pork while you attend to other tasks, saving time and effort.

Invest in a meat shredder: A meat shredder can help you quickly and efficiently shred the pork, saving time and effort.

Double the recipe: Make a larger batch and freeze the extra portions for future quick and easy meals.

Plan your sides: Choose simple side dishes that require minimal preparation to accompany the kalua pork.

Substitute Ingredients For Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe

  • pork shoulder blade roast - Substitute with pork butt or pork shoulder: Both cuts are from the same area of the pig and have similar fat content, making them suitable alternatives for slow cooking.

  • liquid mesquite smoke - Substitute with smoked paprika: Smoked paprika can provide a similar smoky flavor to the dish without the need for liquid smoke. Use it sparingly to avoid overpowering the dish with smokiness.

  • coarse red Hawaiian sea salt - Substitute with coarse sea salt or kosher salt: Both options provide a similar texture and saltiness to the dish, and can be used in the same quantity as the Hawaiian sea salt.

Presentation Tips for Serving Kalua Pork

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the shredded kalua pork in a neat and elegant manner on the plate, ensuring that each piece is showcased beautifully.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle some finely chopped cilantro or parsley over the kalua pork to add a pop of color and a touch of freshness to the dish.

  3. Create a flavorful sauce: Drizzle a light pineapple teriyaki glaze or a mango salsa over the kalua pork to enhance the flavors and add a gourmet touch to the dish.

  4. Serve with exotic fruits: Accompany the kalua pork with slices of grilled pineapple or papaya to provide a tropical and visually appealing element to the presentation.

  5. Incorporate edible flowers: Place a few delicate orchid petals or hibiscus flowers around the plate to introduce an element of sophistication and elegance to the dish.

  6. Use artistic plating techniques: Employ techniques such as quenelles or carefully arranged stacks to present the kalua pork in a visually stunning and professional manner.

  7. Add a touch of gold leaf: For a luxurious and extravagant touch, delicately place a few edible gold leaf flakes on the kalua pork to elevate the presentation and create a sense of opulence.

Essential Tools for Making Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

  • Crock pot: A slow cooker used for cooking food at a low temperature for an extended period of time.
  • Knife: Used for stabbing the pork and for general food preparation.
  • Forks: Used for shredding the cooked pork.
  • Platter: A large, flat dish used for serving and presenting food.

How To Store and Freeze Leftover Kalua Pork

  • Once the kalua pork has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Make sure to include any remaining juices from the slow cooker to keep the meat moist.

  • Refrigerate the kalua pork for up to 4 days. When ready to serve, reheat the pork in a skillet or microwave until it reaches your desired temperature.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the kalua pork for up to 3 months. Divide the pork into portion-sized containers or resealable plastic bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing.

  • To thaw frozen kalua pork, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to defrost overnight. You can also thaw the pork in the microwave using the defrost setting, stirring occasionally to ensure even thawing.

  • When reheating frozen kalua pork, make sure to add some liquid (such as chicken broth or reserved cooking juices) to prevent the meat from drying out. Heat the pork in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave until it's heated through and reaches your desired temperature.

  • If you have any leftover kalua pork, consider using it in other dishes like sandwiches, tacos, salads, or fried rice for a quick and flavorful meal.

How To Reheat Leftover Kalua Pork

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover kalua pork in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pork is heated through. This method helps to retain the moisture and flavor of the pork while reheating.

  • For a quicker option, use the microwave. Place the desired amount of kalua pork in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the pork is heated through. Stir the pork halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.

  • If you want to add a crispy texture to your leftover kalua pork, consider using a skillet. Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pork is heated through and slightly crispy on the edges.

  • For a flavorful twist, reheat your kalua pork in a slow cooker. Place the pork in the slow cooker and add a small amount of chicken broth, beef broth, or water to help keep the pork moist. Cook on low for 1-2 hours, or until the pork is heated through. This method is perfect for larger portions of leftover pork.

  • If you have a sous vide machine, you can use it to reheat your kalua pork while preserving its texture and flavor. Place the pork in a vacuum-sealed bag and submerge it in a water bath set to 140°F (60°C). Reheat the pork for 1-2 hours, or until it reaches the desired temperature. This method ensures that the pork is evenly heated and remains tender.

Random Fact About Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

The traditional Hawaiian dish, Kalua pork, is typically cooked in an underground oven called an imu. This cooking method involves wrapping the pork in banana leaves and slow-roasting it in the underground pit, resulting in a smoky and tender meat. The use of liquid mesquite smoke in this slow cooker recipe aims to replicate the authentic flavors of the traditional imu-cooked Kalua pork. This dish is often served at luaus and other festive gatherings in Hawaii, where it is enjoyed for its rich, smoky flavor and tender texture.

Is Making Kalua Pork in a Slow Cooker Economical for Home Cooking?

The slow cooker kalua pork recipe is highly cost-effective for a household. The pork shoulder blade roast is an affordable cut, and the minimal ingredients required make it budget-friendly. The long cooking time allows for the meat to become tender and flavorful, making it a worthwhile investment. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20, making it an economical choice for a delicious and satisfying meal. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Is Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Healthy or Unhealthy?

This slow cooker kalua pork recipe is a mixed bag when it comes to healthiness. On one hand, pork shoulder is a relatively fatty cut of meat, which can contribute to higher saturated fat and calorie intake. Additionally, the use of sea salt may increase the sodium content of the dish. However, the recipe does not include any added sugars or unhealthy ingredients, and the slow cooking method can help to tenderize the meat without the need for excessive oil or fat.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Trim any visible fat from the pork shoulder before cooking to reduce the overall fat content
  • Use a leaner cut of pork, such as pork loin or tenderloin, which has less saturated fat
  • Reduce the amount of sea salt used, or substitute with a lower-sodium alternative like potassium chloride
  • Add vegetables to the slow cooker, such as onions, garlic, or carrots, to increase the nutrient content and fiber of the dish
  • Serve the kalua pork with healthy sides, such as steamed brown rice, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad
  • Use the reserved cooking liquid to moisten the pork instead of adding additional fat or oil

Editor's Thoughts on This Delicious Slow Cooker Recipe

This slow cooker kalua pork recipe is a classic Hawaiian dish that captures the essence of traditional flavors. The use of liquid mesquite smoke and coarse red Hawaiian sea salt adds depth and authenticity to the dish. The slow cooking process allows the pork to become tender and infused with smoky flavors. The simplicity of the ingredients and cooking method makes this recipe accessible to home cooks, while still delivering a delicious and satisfying dish. It's a perfect option for a flavorful and effortless meal.

Enhance Your Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mango Salsa: Combine diced mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice for a refreshing and tangy topping for the kalua pork.
Coconut Rice: Cook jasmine rice in coconut milk and water for a creamy and slightly sweet side dish to complement the savory kalua pork.
Grilled Pineapple: Grill pineapple slices until caramelized for a juicy and smoky side to balance the rich flavors of the kalua pork.
Taro Chips: Slice taro root thinly and fry until crispy for a unique and crunchy accompaniment to the tender kalua pork.

Other Alternative Recipes Similar to Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate your favorite vegetables and grill them to perfection for a healthy and delicious side dish or main course.
Braised Beef Short Ribs: Slow cook beef short ribs in a rich and flavorful sauce until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. Serve with mashed potatoes or creamy polenta for a comforting meal.
Mango Sorbet: Blend ripe mangoes with a touch of honey and freeze for a refreshing and fruity dessert that's perfect for a hot summer day.
Chicken Noodle Soup: Simmer chicken, vegetables, and noodles in a savory broth for a comforting and nourishing soup that's perfect for any time of the year.
Banana Bread: Use overripe bananas to make a moist and flavorful banana bread that's perfect for breakfast or as a sweet treat.

Suggested Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Bacon-Wrapped Dates: Indulge in the perfect combination of sweet and savory with these delectable bacon-wrapped dates. The crispy bacon adds a satisfying crunch to the tender, sweet dates, creating a mouthwatering appetizer that will leave your guests craving for more.
Caprese Skewers: Impress your guests with these elegant and flavorful Caprese skewers. The combination of juicy cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil, drizzled with balsamic glaze, creates a burst of Italian flavors in every bite. These skewers are not only visually appealing but also a delightful appetizer option for any occasion.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder for an elegant and decadent dessert experience.
Apple Pie: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a classic apple pie, with a flaky golden crust and a hint of cinnamon, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Why trust this Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe:

This slow cooker kalua pork recipe is a guaranteed hit for any pork lover. The combination of liquid mesquite smoke and coarse red Hawaiian sea salt infuses the meat with irresistible flavor. The slow cooking process ensures that the pork shoulder blade roast becomes tender and succulent, making it perfect for any occasion. Trust the authenticity of this recipe, as it captures the essence of traditional Hawaiian cuisine. The result is a mouthwatering dish that will transport you to the shores of Hawaii with every bite.

Share your thoughts and experiences with the Slow Cooker Kalua Pork Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section.
How long does it take to cook the slow cooker kalua pork?
The slow cooker kalua pork typically takes 12 to 16 hours to cook on low heat until the meat is tender.
Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe?
Yes, you can use other cuts of pork such as pork butt or pork loin, but the pork shoulder blade roast is recommended for its tenderness and flavor.
Can I substitute the liquid mesquite smoke with another type of liquid smoke?
Yes, you can use other types of liquid smoke such as hickory or applewood if you prefer a different flavor profile.
Do I need to add any liquid to the slow cooker along with the pork?
No, you do not need to add any additional liquid to the slow cooker as the pork will release its own juices during the cooking process.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it later?
Yes, you can make the slow cooker kalua pork ahead of time and reheat it later. It can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated with a little reserved cooking liquid to keep it moist.

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