Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
Posted by Lisa on January 7, 2017 / 13 Comments
Slow cooker kalua pork is reminiscent of kalua pig served at Hawaiian luaus. It’s deliciously smoky, salty, tender and only takes three ingredients.
Brrr, it’s cold and drizzly outside. I’m about 99% done with this stubborn cold (hooray) but can’t help my brain from drifting off to warm and tropical locations as I’m bundled up in 3 layers of clothes, socks plus slippers and a beanie. Yes, I might be a little dramatic for this “inclement” SoCal weather, but my body craves perpetual warmth (along with sunlight and vitamin D) and I firmly believe it boosts my immune system.
So perhaps I should jump on a plane to Hawaii? I mean, it’s only a couple of hours away (I say, convincingly to myself).
Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot on my plate for the next few weeks and don’t think I’ll be able to sneak away. But in honor of those warm, tropical islands I’ve decided to whip up a Hawaiian-inspired recipe – kalua pork.
So what it kalua pork? Well, if you’ve ever visited Hawaii odds are you’ve had it at a luau. The term kalua actually refers to the cooking method, where the pig is roasted in an underground oven (called an imu), wrapped in ti leaves or banana leaves for several hours. And when it’s uncovered, the tender pork pulls apart with a deliciously smoky and salty flavor.
For those who were thinking it had something to do with kalua alcohol (which I also love), nope, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
But trust me, you sure won’t be disappointed with this slow cooker kalua pork recipe. In fact, you’re gonna be thrilled because it’s super easy – just three ingredients. And maybe five minutes of work involved. For something ohhhh, so good.
Here’s what you do. Place a 3-4 pound pork shoulder (also called a pork butt) into your slow cooker or crock pot. Pierce it all over the top with a sharp knife or fork and then rub it with some pink Hawaiian Alaea sea salt. You can use either fine or coarse grain Alaea sea salt, though if you use coarse grain, you may need a little more than the 1 tbsp listed in the ingredients.
Next, drizzle the top of the pork with a tablespoon of liquid smoke to impart that traditional kalua smoky flavor and set your slow cooker on low for 10-14 hours. Tip: read the ingredients on your liquid smoke and grab a one with no added nasties.
The cooking time will depend on the size of your pork shoulder, but consider it done when you barely touch it with a fork and it pulls apart easily.
Once the pork shoulder is fully cooked, remove it to a plate and use two forks the pull the meat apart. You can also drizzle a little of the juices on the pulled pork to keep the meat moist, but just remember that these juices will be quite salty, so don’t go overboard.
And that’s it. Slow cooker kalua pork that’s easy, tasty and reminiscent of warm, tropical islands. Serve the kalua pork straight up with a side of cabbage and white rice (or cauliflower rice) for a traditional meal. Or use it in tacos with cabbage and pineapple, wrapped up in cassava flour tortillas. Winter….pshaw.
Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
Slow cooker kalua pork is reminiscent of kalua pig served at Hawaiian luaus. It's deliciously smoky, salty, tender and only takes three ingredients.
Place the pork shoulder in your slow cooker and pierce the top several times with a knife or fork.
Rub the pork with the sea salt. Then, pour the liquid smoke on top.
Program your slow cooker for 10 hours on the low setting. You may need a few more hours if your pork shoulder is larger.
Once the pork shoulder is fully cooked, remove it to a plate and use two forks to shred it. You can also drizzle some of the remaining liquid from the slow cooker on top, to keep the meat moist, then serve immediately.
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