Slow Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pork

by Dorothy Reinhold on October 6, 2013

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While in Hawaii a few months ago, we fell in love with a local dish called Kalua Pork.

Kalua (do not confuse with Kahlua, the liqueur) is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method in which pig is rubbed with salt, wrapped in ti leaves and cooked in an underground pit or oven. Deeply flavored, smoked, perfectly and simply seasoned, it is the backbone of the luau. While we didn’t partake of a luau while there, we had several delicious meals that included Kalua Pork, and I was inspired to try it at home. I asked the waitress how to make it, and I took her simple description and ran with it.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pork on Shockingly DeliciousI don’t have an underground oven in my backyard (do you? If so, invite me over!), but I figured my trusty slow cooker could stand in. While in Kauai, I bought Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt on Shockingly Delicioussome of the Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt that is used in the dish. It is red salt colored by Hawaii’s mineral-rich, volcanic red clay, and is used as a rub for meat, chicken or fish to give it an authentic flavor of Hawaii. If you don’t have it, you can find it online, or just substitute kosher salt (don’t tell anyone) and call it a day.

Let’s make Kalua pig, which you will eat for several meals. Later I’ll give you another way to use it, in something called a “local bowl.” Honestly, I ate this 3 times in Hawaii; that’s how good it was!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pork

Summary: Deeply porky, slightly smoky, perfectly and simply seasoned with traditional Hawaiian sea salt, Kalua Pork is a wonderful traditional Hawaiian meal. The slow cooker stands in for the underground oven. 


  • 2.5-pound pork shoulder butt roast, trimmed of large pieces of fat
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt
  • 10 squirts hickory smoke flavoring


  1. Mist the inside of the crock with nonstick spray. Place all ingredients in the crock, put the lid on and cook on LOW for 12 hours (or 8 hours on LOW and 2 more hours on HIGH).
  2. Remove lid and, using two forks, shred meat in the crock.
  3. Serve meat with mashed potatoes, rice or another grain, and a green vegetable alongside. Pass barbecue sauce so each person may dribble a bit on their pork if they like.
  4. Serves 8. Or serves 4, with leftovers for another meal.


Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious

Sunday Supper

See this page for all the wonderful #SundaySupper dishes I have made since I joined this group, and links to all the other delicious dishes made by my fellow cooks.

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 12 hours Diet tags: High protein, Paleo Number of servings (yield): 8 Culinary tradition: English My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 

Sunday Supper badgeThis week our #SundaySupper crew is cooking one-pot dishes. Check out the variety of things we have cooked up for you! Try my Kalua Pork or find something else from the menu below that floats your boat:

‘Take the chill off’ Chilis, Soups, and Starters

‘Put meat on your bones’ Stews

‘Make room for seconds’ Main Dishes

‘Can’t say no’ Desserts

TwitterBird on Sunday Supper Come celebrate one-pot cooking with the Sunday Supper team on our live  #SundaySupper Twitter chat starting today at 7 p.m. EST.

  • Twitter how-to: Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag throughout the day to see the recipes. To join the conversation, simply use the #SundaySupper hashtag to share your favorite tips and recipes.
  • Pinterest: Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more recipes and photos.
  • Join: To join the Sunday Supper Movement, sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons October 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

You know, I didn’t participate in a luau when I was in Hawaii either, and I must say – I sort of regret it now. Maybe I can just make your recipe, put on a grass skirt, and pretend? Except, I won’t really be doing that grass skirt bit…


Heather // girlichef October 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

This sounds amazing – we would devour it! And no, I don’t have an underground oven…but I’ve been begging hubby to make me one for years. Maybe one day ;).


Tara October 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Looks and sounds fabulous, I would love to go to Hawaii to have it but your looks delicious too!!


Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts October 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Serve with mashed potatoes!?! Blasphemy! Kalua pig must be served with “2 scoop rice”! 🙂
My family loves when I make Kalua pig (hey, we say Kalua pig not pork, just noticed that), and the leftover meat (there’s a ton) gets packed up in zip top bags and frozen for future meals–it thaws just fine.
When my son was in K, in Hawaii, I loved eating at the school cafeteria on the days that they served Kalua pig. They’d have little cups of lomi lomi salmon for the adults 😉

Thanks, Dorothy!


Dorothy Reinhold October 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Rice of course! But I like to bend the rules…. 🙂


The Ninja Baker October 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

How wonderful, Dorothy, that you are able to prolong your Aloha memories with a scrumptious meal. Bravo on remembering to bring back the Red Hawaiian sea salt =)


Alice // Hip Foodie Mom October 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

oh my goodness, I love this! When I was in Hawaii at a luau, I saw the whole thing. . them taking the cooked pig out of the ground. so amazing and tasted fabulous! yummm!


Sheffield Wilder October 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Kalua pig (puaa) is usually done in an imu using hot pohakus,
rocks, that have been heated in a big fire right in the pit (imu).
Banana stumps and leaves along with ti leaves are used to keep
dirt off the pig, bananas, sweet potatoes, and fish, and the whole thing is buried for 7 hours under more leaves, burlap bags, and canvas. My friends and I used to do this back in college days. Getting and keeping a good set of lava stones
was important along with the bags and canvas. I left all that
behind me when I left Hawaii for a job in Chicago. Really miss
the Hawaiian food. Next best thing is Ono Hawaiian Food in
Kapahulu, Oahu, near Waikiki.


Family Foodie October 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm

My kids love pulled pork. Its always such an easy meal that the kids can pick at all day. I will have to give this recipe a try, it sounds amazing!


piesandplots October 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Kalua pork always sounds so good. I need to try this! I love that there are lots of leftovers too.


Marjory @ Dinner-Mom October 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

Sounds delicious. I need me some Alaea Red Hawaiin Sea Salt!


Laura October 6, 2013 at 11:38 am

I don’t have the Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt but I was given some Hawaiian Black Volcanic Sea Sat for Christmas so I think I will give it a try


Dorothy Reinhold October 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Read the comments…one of the other readers warns about the black volcanic salt and says it is charcoal-y, so be warned. Give it a taste and judge for yourself before you use it. The traditional red salt definitely is not charcoal.


Nichole C October 6, 2013 at 11:27 am

Oooh, as good as this looks, I can’t wait to see the local bowl!


Shannon R October 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

I’m dying to try the Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt. Looks pretty awesome.


Lizthechef October 6, 2013 at 9:55 am

Love this – and I have some of that red salt from our Kauai trip last June.


Dorothy Reinhold October 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Then it’s a done deal…you must make this!


The Wimpy Vegetarian October 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

When all the kids visit, I love to make slow roasted pork using Diane Kennedy’s recipe. Next time I’m trying it with the Red Hawaiian salt and the smoke flavoring. It’s got to be fantastic!!!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers October 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

What a simple and tasty looking dish! I would love to have this for dinner!


Shannon @VillageGirlBlog October 6, 2013 at 9:08 am

Awesome use of a slow cooker award!! Yum! I love how simple this can be but so darn tasty.


FoodieArmyWife October 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

Kalua Pork is a favorite around here too!


Jen @JuanitasCocina October 6, 2013 at 7:08 am

We make this quite often…it’s my favorite pulled pork! LOVE!!


Dorothy Reinhold October 6, 2013 at 7:59 am

I cannot believe how good this is for something so simple.


Renee - Kudos Kitchen October 6, 2013 at 4:03 am

I love when a recipe can transport you back to a place and time. I’ve never been to Hawaii but I’ll bet your recipe is the next best thing to being there. I’m amazed there are so few ingredients. I’ll bet that red Hawaiian sea salt really packs a punch of flavor!


Dorothy Reinhold October 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

You are IN Hawaii when you eat this!


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