3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Kalua Pig


There’s nothing quite like the aroma of kalua pork wafting through the house on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It instantly transports me back to my childhood summers in Hawaii, sitting under the swaying palms as the unmistakable smoky-sweet scent of this iconic dish filled the air. My aunties would spend hours tending to the underground pit oven, patiently waiting as the pork transformed into tender, falling-apart morsels imbued with the flavors of the islands.

While most of us don’t have easy access to a traditional Hawaiian imu pit for cooking kalua pork, this 3-ingredient slow cooker version captures those same luscious, kalua flavors with hardly any effort. Just a few simple ingredients and your trusty Crock Pot are all you need to re-create this iconic Hawaiian delicacy in your own kitchen. Trust me, one bite of this succulent, smoky-sweet pork will have you dreaming of tropical beaches and swaying palm trees.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Kalua Pork

  • Only 3 simple ingredients required (pork butt, salt, and liquid smoke)
  • Hands-off slow cooker method – just set it and forget it!
  • Recreates the authentic kalua flavors without an underground oven
  • Fall-apart tender, ultra-moist pork every time
  • Feeds a crowd and makes excellent leftovers
  • Versatile enough for tacos, sandwiches, rice bowls, and more

Kalua Pork Ingredient List

  • Pork Butt/Shoulder (4-5 lbs) – This well-marbled cut becomes meltingly tender when slow cooked
  • Hawaiian Sea Salt or Coarse Kosher Salt – Provides the signature salted kalua flavor
  • Liquid Smoke – Gives the pork that unmistakable smoky kalua essence

Kalua Pork FAQs

Can I use a different pork cut?
While pork butt/shoulder is traditional, you can also use pork loin or tenderloin. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.

Is liquid smoke necessary?
Yes! It’s what gives the pork that distinctive kalua smoke flavor. I don’t recommend omitting it.

Can I cook it on high?
For best texture, cook on low for 8-10 hours. High heat will make the pork dry out.

Kalua Pork Tips and Tasty Variations

  • For extra moisture, place the pork on top of sliced onions or cabbage in the slow cooker.
  • Get creative with the rub! Add brown sugar, chili powder, or smoked paprika.
  • For a crispy exterior, broil or air fry the shredded pork for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Make kalua pork nachos, tacos, sliders, or add to fried rice or ramen.
  • Stir in some pineapple juice or teriyaki sauce for a Hawaiian-inspired twist.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

This kalua pork keeps beautifully! Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days. You can also freeze portions for up to 3 months.

To reheat, place desired amount in a baking dish with a splash of broth or pineapple juice. Cover with foil and bake at 300°F until heated through, about 20-30 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Serving Suggestions to Transport You to the Islands

  • Serve over sticky white rice with mac salad and fresh pineapple
  • Make kalua pork sliders or tacos with cabbage slaw and teriyaki aioli
  • Roll up in tortillas with rice, beans, cheese, and salsa for burritos
  • Top crispy tostada shells with pork, pico de gallo, and guacamole
  • Add to a breakfast hash with eggs, potatoes, and hollandaise

No matter how you serve it, this slow cooker kalua pork is sure to be a hit! One whiff of its intoxicating aroma will instantly evoke dreams of Hawaiian paradise. So go ahead and treat yourself to a taste of the islands with this simple, succulent, and supremely flavorful dish. Mahalo!

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

There’s nothing quite like the aroma of kalua pork wafting through the house on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
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Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 4-5 pound pork butt or shoulder roast
  • 2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt or coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke


  • Pat the pork roast dry with paper towels and use a fork to prick holes all over the surface.
  • Rub the salt and liquid smoke all over the pork, massaging it into the meat.
  • Place the seasoned pork into the slow cooker and cover with the lid.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours, turning the pork over halfway through cooking time.
  • Once very tender and falling apart, remove pork from slow cooker and shred using two forks.
  • Serve the shredded kalua pork over rice, in tacos/sliders, or however desired! Enjoy!


  • For extra moisture, place sliced onions or cabbage in the bottom of the slow cooker before adding pork.
  • Get creative with rubs! Add brown sugar, chili powder, smoked paprika, etc.
  • Broil or air fry shredded pork for 5-10 minutes for a crispy exterior before serving.
  • Leftovers will keep refrigerated 3-5 days or frozen for 3 months.



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