Slow Cooker Kalua Pig


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Slow Cooker Kalua Pig is just like the Hawaiian pork that is served at a luau or at your local Hawaiian restaurant. Great on buns or with rice.

Most recipes for pulled pork in the slow cooker have barbecue sauce on them for flavor. This recipe does not need anything covering up the pork, a few simple ingredients highlight the flavor of the pork.

Shredded Hawaiian style pork in a slow cooker with pasta salad and rice on the side.
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What is Kalua Pig:

  • Kalua pig has nothing to do with Kaluha the coffee liquor.
  • Kalua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that uses an imu, a type of underground oven.
  • Kalua pig is often the main attraction at luaus.
  • Here in this recipe, we are using liquid hickory smoke and sea salt and cooking in the slow cooker instead of an imu.
Large pork roast, Himalayan sea salt and hickory liquid smoke in front of a slow cooker.

How to Make:

  • Only a few ingredients are needed to make Kalua Pig in the slow cooker; pork shoulder, cooking oil to brown the pork, Himalayan sea salt, hickory liquid smoke, and water.
  • Don’t skip the Himalayan sea salt. It has a delicate salt flavor that highlights the pork flavor. Buy a jar of it and it will last you for years. I buy mine in the grinder jar.
  • Hickory liquid smoke can be found on the same aisle as the barbecue sauce.
Pork roast unwrapped on a cutting board with jar of Himalayan sea salt next to it.


  • Set a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove-top. Add the cooking oil. Brown the roast on all sides.
  • Place the pork into a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Add the Himalayan sea salt and pepper over the pork.
  • Pour over the water and liquid smoke.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours. This may seem like a long time but it’s worth the wait.
  • Shred the meat with 2 forks and serve with a bit of the juices from the slow cooker.
pork shoulder in a pan being browned.

What size pork butt?

This recipe is adaptable to any size pork butt, you can use this recipe with a 1.5 to 6 pound pork. As long as you can fit the pork in the slow cooker and place the lid on completely, it will work.

Full slow cooker of shredded pork.

What to serve with Kalua Pig:

When serving I like to serve the pork with items you would see at a luau.

close up of shredded pork in the slow cooker.

Can I freeze Kalua Pig?

  • Yes, place 2 cups of the shredded pork in a Ziplock bag along with a splash of the pork juices. Doing this will minimize freezer burn on the shredded pork.
  • Freeze for up to two months. To thaw, place in the fridge over night. Heat in microwave or in a skillet for serving.
white plate with pasta salad, shredded pork and white rice.

More pork recipes here on The Magical Slow Cooker:

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shredded pork, pasta salad and white rice on white plate.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Pork butt slow cooked with himalayan sea salt and a touch of liquid smoke.


  • 4 lbs. Pork butt , (often called pork shoulder)
  • 1 tsp. ground pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. liquid hickory smoke


  • Rinse and pat dry the pork roast. I don't often rinse my meat, but pork can sometimes be very slimey.
  • Sprinkle the roast with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet set to medium-high heat, heat up the oil, and sear the roast on all sides. Add to the slow cooker.
  • Add the water and hickory smoke.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 10 – 12 hours, without opening the lid during the cooking time. If you roast is slightly frozen, you can cook on high for a few hours before switching to low.
  • Shred the pork with two forks. I like to remove the roast onto a large baking sheet that has a lip on it. Discard any fat. Add the shredded roast back to the slow cooker with about a cup of the juices that it was cooked in.
  • Serve and enjoy. Serving suggestions are rice, mac salad, hawaiian rolls and don't forget the sriracha.

How to Video

Sarah’s Notes

Different size of pork shoulder?

Any size pork roast can be used, increase or decrease the salt, pepper, liquid smoke amounts slightly. 

If you want to freeze the pork:

  • Place 2 cups of the shredded pork in a Ziplock bag along with a splash of the pork juices. Doing this will minimize freezer burn on the shredded pork.
  • Freeze for up to two months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. Heat in microwave or in a skillet for serving.
Nutritional values are approximate. Please use your own calculations if you require a special diet. 


Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 513mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

Made this recipe? Leave a comment below!

First Published 08/03/2014

Updated 07/31/2019

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Recipe Rating


  1. Alan says:

    The liquid smoke should be mesquite, not hickory. This more closely approximates the wood used in the luau to heat the stones. Also it’s not authentic without the cabbage.

  2. Amanda says:

    Can I shorten the cooking time by cooking it on high? I have a 2 lb roast. I have made it before and it was delicious. Today I don’t have 10 hours.

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      Yes! A 2 pound roast will probably take 6-7 hours on high. Maybe less.

  3. Ann G. Tam Sing says:

    In Hawaii, Ke’awe (Mesquite) wood is the most used wood for the imu (fire pit). As such we make this recipe with Mesquite flavored smoke and Hawaiian sea salt, (when we can get it) for authentic flavor. It is definitely a crowd pleaser and is ono (delicious) served plain, as well as with BBQ sauce.

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      Thank you for your tip Ann! I will add that to the recipe.

    2. Cathy Smith says:

      And if you can get it at the International grocer, if you can get a banana leave and a taro leaf, you can lay them in on top, and the are what insulates the pig from the imu, it’s ok without but if you can get a 5-6 inch square of 1 or the other, preferably both. They will make your kahlua Pig over the line ‘licious