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4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

4 ingredients – that’s all you need to make this delicious Hawaiian entrée.

Kalua means “to bake in a ground oven.” Since most of us don’t plan on digging up our backyards and bountiful gardens this summer, the Test Kitchen improvised using the trusty slow cooker. Low and slow is the name of the game when cooking kalua pork (or kalua pig, as it’s also called), and the slow cooker allows you to do just that.

Coat your pork shoulder with salt. We used red Hawaiian sea salt, but you could use Himalayan sea salt or regular sea salt as a substitute. Add pork to a large Dutch oven and brown it on all sides before adding it to the slow cooker crock along with liquid smoke.

Cook on LOW about 8 hours or until pork is cooked through and shreds easily – like we said, low and slow.

When the pork is finished cooking (slowly but surely), shred it and discard the bone. The liquid smoke, generous coating of salt, and time help transform a simple pork shoulder into a briney, melt-in-your mouth dish.

Serve slow cooker Kalua pork with grilled pineapple slices, as a building block for Hawaiian tacos, or with classic island sides like macaroni salad and rice for a take on a Hawaiian-style plate lunch (a Hawaiian meal similar to the meat-and-threes of the South). Another simple, slow cooker recipe to add to your summer luau menu.

4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 to 5 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons red Hawaiian-style sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • Classic Macaroni Salad


  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat oil.
  2. Coat pork with Hawaiian-style salt. Add pork to Dutch oven and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add pork and liquid smoke to crock.
  4. Cover slow cooker and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until pork is cooked through.
  5. Remove pork to a cutting board. Shred pork, discarding bone. Place shredded pork back in crock to keep warm.
  6. Serve pork with Classic Macaroni Salad.


Serves 6-8

The Stay or Go® 6 Quart Slow Cooker‘s clip-tight sealed lid locks onto slow cooker to help prevent messy spills

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  1. Too many foods prepared and otherwise have too much salt. This is high sodium and not healthy. I don’t use salt! I would make this without salt.

  2. In Hawaii it is cooked with cabbage and served over rice diluting the amount of salt per serving.

  3. We add cabbage the next day or to stretch the dish. When it is first made we Do Not Add Cabbage

  4. Tip add a banana leaf or to leaf to the bottom of the pot before adding the rest of the ingredients. Add salt at the end mixed with hot water little at a time then taste. Born and raised in Hawaii. Enjoy

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