Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork

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This Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork is tender, smokey and melt in your mouth perfection. Get that authentic Hawaiian Luau pork flavor at home with this super simple, 3 ingredient masterpiece.

Palm trees or no palm trees, you can be transported to your own little paradise with this moist delicious pork. Serve with Grilled Coconut Lime Pineapple, and either Hawaiian Fried Rice or Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, for a complete island experience.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork, tender smokey and moist, served on a bun.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork

With only 3 ingredients this is probably one of the easiest meals to make. When you taste this explosion of flavor and smokey goodness, you won’t believe it only has 3 ingredients. This is also known as Kalua pig or Luau Pork, but it’s all the same amazingly deliciousness.  This will be such a huge hit you’ll want to keep this in your rotation of family favorites.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork is the easy quick version of a Hawaiian staple for Lauas. In Hawaii a large pit is dug, wood is placed in the bottom and set on fire and rocks are put on top and around to hold in the heat. A whole pig is then salted and spiced and wrapped in damp leaves and placed on top of the slow burning fire and covered with dirt and left to roast all day. This method is not really realistic for all of us, but this slow cooker version is.  Besides bringing forth the same super delicate and juicy pork, the only other thing these two methods have in common is the time. You’ll want to plan ahead because to get that divine tenderness you’ll want to cook at least 16 hours.

Kalua Pulled Pork Ingredients:

Although there are only 3 ingredients, using the right ingredients will ensure that authentic Hawaiian Pork flavor.

  • Pork Butt Roast: Also called a Pork Shoulder roast you can get one with the bone or with out. Either works.
  • Course Hawaiian Salt: Look for this in your specialty stores like Cost Plus World Market, Trader Joes, or you can order it from Amazon. You can also use the widely available Himalayan Salt if you can’t find it Hawaiian Salt.
  • Liquid Smoke: If you are in a pinch Worcestershire Sauce can be used as a substitute but you have quite that smokey flavor, but still oh so tender.

How to Make Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork:

Super simple to make, but definitely need to plan ahead as this should be started the night before you’d like to indulge.

  1. Season: Place the pork in your slow cooker. Generously rub (yes rub it in the meat, think massaging meat) in the liquid smoke and salt. Add more if you have a bigger roast, less if it’s smaller, but be sure to season well.
  2. Cook: Cook on low for 16-20 hours. Yes you read that right.
  3. Shred: Remove the pork to a cutting board or bowl and shred. Remove the liquid from the slow cooker and separate the fat from the broth. Add in both the broth and pork back to the cooker to keep warm before serving.

Making Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled pork by rubbing salt and liquid smoke into meat.

Tips for Great Kalua Pulled Pork:

This is a really hard recipe to mess up but here are some tips to make sure it stands out above the rest.

  • Pork:  Pay attention to the size of your roast. If you get a roast larger than 6 pounds (8-12 pounds) you’ll want to increase both the salt and the liquid smoke. Too little can leave your pork tasteless. The amazing flavor comes from the salt and liquid smoke. For a larger roast increase the salt and liquid smoke by 1-2 teaspoons.
  • Rinse and Trim: Rinse and pat your roast dry to ensure the flavor “sticks” to it. Trim your roast of large chunks of fat, and place fat side up in the slow cooker, the fat will baste the rest of the roast as it cooks.
  • Pierce: Poke the roast with a fork all over before rubbing in the salt and liquid smoke to increase the flavor inside and out.
  • Liquid Smoke: It is recommended by some Islanders to use Hickory Liquid Smoke for an authentic flavor, but Mesquite is just as good, it’s mostly about personal preference.
  • Time:  I know I’ve said it before, but truly the longer you can cook it the better. This will work if you start in the morning and let it cook all day, it just may not be quite as tender. But still amazing.

How to Serve and Store your Kalua Pulled Pork:

Pork Roasts usually produce a lot of meat, so there are endless possibilities. It’s also super easy to store and save for a rainy day.

  • Serve: This juicy flavorful pork is great as a stand alone or serve over rice or noodles. Use in your favorite Mexican dish such as quesadillas, tacos, burritos or even on top of nachos. Make pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw.  Use on a flatbread with your favorite toppings.
  • Store: Bring leftovers to room temperature and store in an airtight container with the juices in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze leftovers in a freezer safe container or freezer ziploc bag sealed tightly for up to 3-5 months.
  • Reheat: Thaw frozen leftovers in the fridge over night. Reheat all leftovers on the stop top in it’s liquid. Do not microwave. It’ll over cook the meat making it rubbery and possibly dry.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork tender and juicy shredded on a plate.

More Tempting Slow Cooker Pork Recipes:

Nothing is better than setting and forgetting dinner in the morning and coming home from a busy day to a meal almost done.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork

5 from 3 votes
This Slow Cooker Kalua Pulled Pork is tender, smokey and melt in your mouth perfection. Get that authentic Hawaiian Luau pork flavor at home with this super simple, 3 ingredient masterpiece.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 16 hours
Total Time 16 hours 5 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 8 People


  • 6 pound Pork Butt Roast
  • 3 Tbsp Coarse Hawaiian sea salt or regular sea salt works great
  • 3 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • Buns for Sandwiches


  • In a slow cooker add the pork. Sprinkle salt on top of pork and pour the liquid smoke on top.
  • Cook on low for 16-20 hours. Turn the roast halfway through.
  • Once it is complete remove the roast and shred with a fork.


Updated on September 12, 2020
Originally Posted on May 22, 2013


Serves: 8

Calories449kcal (22%)Protein76g (152%)Fat14g (22%)Saturated Fat4g (20%)Cholesterol214mg (71%)Sodium2795mg (116%)Potassium1272mg (36%)Calcium19mg (2%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword kalua pork, pulled pork, Pulled Pork Recipes, slow cooker kalua pulled pork
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic


Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    Outstanding recipe! I can’t believe how easy it was and how SUPER tasty it turned out! This is our family’s new favorite recipe – even my picky eater devoured it. Thank you so much!

  2. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe~ have made many times, but had forgotten about it w/all of the smaller, pork tenderloin we have been buying these past few years- dieticians had everyone freaked out over animal fats for SO long- that was irritating. They’re actually very good for you, especially if consuming w/out carbs!
    Anyhow, really enjoyed all the questions about how much liqueur to add in as well- since there is none=) Had a friend who used to make that at home as well. We’re not big alcohol drinkers, so I’ll stick w/my homemade vanillas~ which are AMAZING btw, & oh so easy to do. Thanks again Alyssa, awesome stuff~ as usual =) XO’s from AZ/NM people who love your blog!

  3. Are you saying 16-pound Pork but Roast? I don’t see a period between the 1 & 6 and that is a dam big roast. I’m only one person and my dog too much for me.

  4. I made this recipe a while ago for my son’s end of school Kindergarten party. The kids loved it and so did all the parents! I made little “sliders” by putting it on Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. So yummy! I’m glad I found this recipe again because I will be making it for a super bowl party. Thanks for the great recipe!!

  5. I tried this last night. I must have done something wrong because the pork came out so salty we could hardly eat it. I put less than half of the recommended salt and used sea salt (not regular), so I’m not sure what happened. Any suggestions for something I could do differently?

    1. Kalua Pork does have a saltiness to it but it shouldn’t be so salty that you can’t eat it. We thought it turned out great but maybe try using less salt next time. 🙂

  6. I’ve made this at my daughters first birthday luau and it was delicious! Even our smallest guests enjoyed it (they weren’t so sure at first and were hoping for hot dogs but ended up LOVING it) I was reading the other reviews and think its funny that some people seem to be confusing Kalua with Kahlua .. This meat has nothing to do with the alcohol. Kalua (no H) is the Hawaiian word for cooking/roasting an animal in an underground oven called an Imu. I grew up in Hawaii and this method of cooking a pig and getting Kalua pork is AMAZING but being in the mainland now this slice cooker version was surprisingly good and much easier then digging up an Imu in my yard 😉

  7. Kahlua pork should be made with the most important ingrediant (and where it get’s it’s name…) Kahlua! Even if you don’t drink, no fear, the alcohol cooks off…. I can’t imagine this recipe tastes “right” without the Kahlua added.

      1. Any liquor store will have some. That’s what you use to make White Russians if you ever had one. Google it, I’m pretty sure you’ll recognize the bottle.

    1. Me too!!! I was thinking I’d make pulled pork with actual Khalua in it and have some leftover to make a White Russian. Double win! Nope….no liquor. :Hahahaha!

      1. Hawaii I immediately stertad searching for Kalua pork recipes and found one at this awesome blog Pineapple & Coconut! {you should check it out, she loves any and all things Hawaiian} I didn’t just want to make

  8. I’ve had this recipe from Allrecipes and it’s awesome. It’s so simple but the best!

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