If you've ever been to a luau in Hawaii then you've most likely tasted Hawaiian pulled pork, also known as kalua pork. This easy kalua pork slow cooker recipe doesn't have you cooking a roast pig in a spit but gives you that home-cooked version of the BEST luau pork.
Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
I first tasted Hawaiian pulled pork aka kalua pork when I was married 20 years ago on the island of Kauai. Oh man, was it ever heavenly!
While we'd had traditional pulled pork many times before, the savory Hawaiian pork version takes it to a completely different level. While luau pork is typically roasted as a whole pig (slow-cooked, of course!), that's not a realistic cooking method for the vast majority of home cooks.
And to set the record straight...some people call this kahlua pork and others call it kalua pork....but either way, we aren't talking about the Kahlua liquior my friends! That's a different name entirely and there is no Kahlua in Hawaiian pork.
Back to me reminiscing about my wedding ;).....
And after eating just one bite at the luau we attended after our vows were exchanged, I instantly knew I had to figure out how to make a slow cooker kalua pork recipe at home! Well, friends, this is it! This is the same recipe we've been making often for over 10 years now.
Even better? I've made sure that this Kalua pork slow cooker recipe gluten-free, low-carb, keto-friendly, and paleo-approved so we can all enjoy this amazing pulled pork!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Adapting the traditional Hawaiian recipe to a crockpot makes it easy for home cooks.
- The addition of bacon, salt, and garlic adds a ton of flavor!
- Cooking Hawaiian pulled pork in a crockpot on low gives you the perfect slow-cooked texture and flavor.
Believe it or not, our kaula pork slow cooker recipe has just has 4 simple ingredients!
- pork shoulder or pork butt (boneless)
- bacon - uncooked
- garlic cloves
- sea salt
Depending on which part of the US you live in will most likely determine whether you're going to find pork shoulder OR pork butt at your grocery store. If you're a fellow West Coaster like me, you might not find pork butt at your grocery store! What you'll need to buy is a pork shoulder roast.
However, if you like in the South like my sister, there you'll find pork butt but you won't see pork shoulder roast in the grocery store.
Either way....BOTH of these meats work FANTASTIC for making a Hawaiian pulled pork slow cooker recipe.
What to do if you an only find bone-in shoulder blade at the store?? Buy it anyways and your roast might be in the 4-5 lb range instead. You'd cook the recipe the same way (just use a little less salt) and then remove the bone before shredding the Hawaiian pork roast.
I was pleasantly surprised that my latest delivery from Butcher Box came with an actual pork butt roast!
If you want to eat healthier, grass fed meats delivered to your doorstep, here's the Butcher Box link to check out what they're all about.
- Paleo & Keto - While our Kalua pork slow cooker recipe is both keto and paleo-approved, be sure you are using bacon that is compliant with your eating plan.
Step By Step Instructions
Your Kalua pork slow cooker is super simple! Just a few minutes of prep work and then let your slow cooker do all the heavy lifting.
Preheat your crockpot on low temperature.
Cut each of the garlic cloves into 4 slices each.
Lay the uncooked bacon in the bottom of the crockpot.
Place the pork roast on top of the bacon slices.
Cut 12 small slits in the roast with a sharp knife and insert the garlic slices into the slits. Push down as far as you can to keep them from popping out as the pork roast shrinks.
Sprinkle ¾" teaspoon salt per pound (if you bought a bone-in roast take off one lb in this calculation).
Cook the Hawaiian pork roast on low for 10-12 hours until cooked through and falling apart.
The pork should be easy to shred, if it isn't that means your roast needs to cook longer.
Finish & Serve
Add the khalua pork and bacon to a large bowl.
Remove the bone and any big fat pieces you see from the pork roast.
Add ½-1 cup cup of liquid from the crockpot and add it to the meat.
Shred the pork, bacon, and garlic with 2 forks, a hand mixer, or meat shredders.
Add more salt if needed or more liquid to taste.
- To make your Kalua pork slow cooker recipe, you can use either a pork shoulder roast or a pork butt.
- To keep the garlic in the meat, and the flavor, be sure to push it down as far as you can.
- DO NOT open your slow cooker while it is cooking! This drops the temperature and takes at least 20-minutes for the pot to recover the temperature.
- When you remove the meat from the slow cooker, be sure to grab any pieces of garlic that may have popped out and shred them alongside the meat.
- You do not need to add any additional liquid to your slow cooker kalua pork! The meat itself creates plenty of liquid.
- Preheat crockpot while getting ingredients together. You could prep this the night before so you just have to plug-in first thing in the morning
- Serve it with a bun like a pulled pork sandwich!
When you're in Hawaiian and eating Hawaiian pulled pork at a luau, some of the classic sides include: purple sweet potato slices, salmon, Hawaiian poi (made from taro), chicken long rice, tropical fruits, sweet bread, and of course tropical cocktails to start! More common side dishes for pulled pork include salad, coleslaw, potato salad, or on a roll as a sandwich.
Store any leftover kalua pork in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat leftovers in the crock pot for best flavor!
While we do recommend using a slow cooker, if you are pressed for time you can make your kalua pork in the oven. Using a low temperature, 300-325, bake your pork wrapped in foil for 4-6 hours (depending on size).
Other Pork Recipes You'll Love
Looking for more pork recipes?
- Instant pot country style ribs
- Baby back ribs in the oven
- Air fryer pork chops
- Crockpot sausage and peppers
- Dry rub for pork ribs
And be sure to pin the kahlua pork recipe for later on Pinterest so you can easily get back to it!
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