/ / / / / Slow Cooker/ Instant Pot Kalua Pork and Cabbage

Slow Cooker/ Instant Pot Kalua Pork and Cabbage

Easily recreate the traditional Hawaiian Kalua Pork without digging a pit in your backyard with this Slow Cooker recipe!

I want my children to be well acquainted with their heritage and a huge part of that heritage is the food. I’m so proud of all of the different countries that my ancestors hail from. 

How is kalua pork traditionally cooked?

Traditionally it is cooked in an underground oven called an imu. The pit would be about the size of the whole pig plus additional space for wood and rocks.

The pig would be wrapped in banana leaves and steam cooked in the ground. The cooking time on a whole pig would take almost an entire day, around 8 hours!

Thankfully we have modern inventions like the slow cooker that can make that whole process easier. If you use an instant pot not only does it make it easier it knocks the time down to less than 90 minutes!

If you are wondering what kalua pork tastes like, it tastes smokey and salty. 

Ingredients you need:

  • pork roast
  • liquid smoke
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • cabbage A plate of Slow Cooker Kalua Pork on top of rice

How to cook kalua pork in the slow cooker?

  1. Place pork in slow cooker.
  2. Mix sea salt and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over pork.
  3. Cook on low for at least 10-12 hours. Shred the pork using two forks.
  4. Add shredded cabbage and toss with meat. Cook for an additional 25-30 minutes tossing about every 5 minutes until cabbage has cooked down.

How to cook kalua pork in the instant pot?

  1. Cut the pork shoulder into 2-3 inch chunks. Place in the instant pot.
  2. Mix the sea salt and liquid smoke in a small bowl and rub all over the pork.
  3. Add 1 cup water to the instant pot. Replace lid and turn valve to sealing.
  4. Cook on manual high pressure for 45 minutes. When instant pot is done cooking manually relieve the pressure by turning the sealing valve to venting.
  5. Add shredded cabbage to instant pot. Replace lid and turn valve to sealing. Cook on manual high pressure for 3 minutes. 
  6. When done, move valve to venting. Stir to combine the cabbage with the meat.

We think it’s best served with white sticky rice and macaroni salad. You can always add in Hawaiian sweet rolls and Spam Musubi too! I also like to include Honey Lime Fruit Salad for a complete meal. 

A closeup shot of a plate of Slow Cooker Kalua Pork and white rice

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Want more recipes for a luau? Try these:

Instant Pot/ Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Instant Pot/ Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Easily recreate the traditional Hawaiian Kalua Pork without digging a pit in your backyard with this Slow Cooker recipe!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 5 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: Hawaiian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 111kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Ingredients

  • 3 lb pork butt or shoulder roast
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 small head of cabbage shredded

Instructions

  • Place pork in slow cooker.
  • Mix sea salt and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over pork.
  • Cook on low for at least 10-12 hours. Shred the pork using two forks.
  • Add shredded cabbage and toss with meat. Cook for an additional 25-30 minutes tossing about every 5 minutes until cabbage has cooked down.

For the instant pot

  • Cut the pork shoulder into 2-3 inch chunks.  Place in the instant pot.
  • Mix the sea salt and liquid smoke in a small bowl and rub all over the pork.
  • Add 1 cup water to the instant pot.  Replace lid and turn valve to sealing.
  • Cook on manual high pressure for 45 minutes.  When instant pot is done cooking manually relieve the pressure by turning the sealing valve to venting.
  • Add shredded cabbage to instant pot.  Replace lid and turn valve to sealing.  Cook on manual high pressure for 3 minutes. 
  • When done, move valve to venting. Stir to combine the cabbage with the meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 643mg | Potassium: 300mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 14.4mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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5 Comments

  1. I love kalua pork. My father is Filipino and our family lived in the Philippines for 2 years when I was young. On our way back to the States we stopped in Hawaii for the first time and we all fell in love with the islands! Over the years traveling back and forth to the Philippines we would always spend time in Hawaii which is my favorite vacation spot and we would always eat the traditional Hawaiian foods like kalua pork! Quick question . I want to make this the day before. If I reheat it in the crockpot will it tend to dry out? Can’t wait to try your recipe!! Mahalo!!

    1. Hi Lynne! Thank you for sharing your memories with me. Someday I want to make it to the Philippines! You can make this the day ahead and reheat in the slow cooker. I would add a cup of broth to the meat when reheating so that it doesn’t become to dry. Good luck!

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! My 9YO fell in love with Kalua pork and cabbage from a local restaurant and I wanted to recreate it at home. When I found your recipe I felt confident it would have what we were looking for to recreate that taste, and I was not wrong! It has become a favorite go-to in our house and I thank you for providing such a deliciously simple recipe!

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