Kalua Pork

Kalua Pork – the famous luau style pork made easy in the slow cooker. It’s unbelievably tender, and deliciously flavorful!

Shredded kalua pork shown from the side in a white serving bowl set over a blue napkin and wooden platter. Pineapple slices and tropical flowers are shown to the side.

What is kalua pork?

Kalua pork is a smoked shredded meat. It is the main dish and most common food served at traditional Hawaiian luaus and feasts. It is a centuries old tradition that uses a rather laborsome process of cooking a whole pig underground (this recipe uses just a cut of pork and a simplified cooking method to make it more realistically doable for everyone).

How is it traditionally made?

In Hawaii kalua pork is cooked in an underground oven called an imu. The world “kalua” actually translates “to cook in an underground oven” in the Hawaiian language.

To make the oven and cook the pig:

  • A large pit is dug into the ground about 3 – 5 feet deep.
  • Koa or Kiawe wood is placed at the bottom of the pit and topped with large rocks.
  • The kindling is lit and it’s allowed to heat for several hours.
  • After that the pit is lined with vegetation (usually ti leaves or banana leaves).
  • A whole pig is then salted, stuffed with some of the hot rocks, sometimes topped with vegetables, and wrapped or covered in more damp leaves.
  • Then it is placed in the prepared underground oven and covered with a layer of soil.
  • From here it is left to cook underground for about 6 to 7 hours.
  • Finally it is removed and the meat is shredded.

As you can see it is quite the process but a neat tradition. It is the tastiest, most authentic method but definitely not something all of us are able to do.

Single serving of shredded kalua pork on a white serving plate shown with sides of white rice, sautéed cabbage, fresh pineapple and flowers.

Easy Kalua Pork

This version of kalua pork couldn’t be easier to make! 3 ingredients added to a slow cooker – and let the crockpot do the rest!

Since most of us don’t all have a underground oven dug out to cook this the traditional way I think this is the next best option, still cooking it low and slow.

It is amazing what a lengthy cook time can do for a cut of meat like a pork shoulder. You’ll really will be impressed at the tender end result.

It’s perfect for backyard parties, summer get togethers, and really just a simple dinner you can serve any day of the year.

And then with leftovers freeze them for a second meal, it makes plenty!

To keep it super simple just pair it with rice and a steamed veggie for a no-stress, almost entirely hands-off dinner.

Original source: https://www.cookingclassy.com/kalua-pork/