Crock pot Kalua Pig

The benefits of crock pot cooking is that it is easy and simplifies the task.  The famous catch phrase "set it and forget it" (I won't mention the infomercial) comes to mind in this sense.  Traditionally as Polynesians we would bake the pig in underground ovens until the Pig was cooked as desired.  My wife and I were both born here in the United States and have experienced a fusion of our cultural heritage and the melting of the American delicacy.  The rustic nature of a cooked pig skinned, gutted, and left as a glutinous trophy to be celebrated is a sight for sore eyes.  I have been back to my parent's homelands and have often felt like an outsider.  Longing to connect to my roots and my personal desire to share in the rich heritage of my ancestors is often expressed in our cooking. 

One of our personal favorite dishes has always been Kalua Pig.  Like many Polynesian dishes the recipe is very simple.  Four ingredients:

1.  Pork (5-10 lbs)  -I suggest Pork Butt or Shoulder
2.  Liquid Smoke -I suggest Hickory
3.  Salt-I suggest Hawaiian sea salt (Pink) or Kosher Salt
4.  Green Onions-(Optional) 

Keeping it simple I think pays homage to our culture and ancestors.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our Family.


I purchased the pork the morning I was going to cook.  This a Pork Butt roast from Walmart approximately 6.95 lbs. Honestly I have never cooked Kalua this way, but I didn't anticipate any difficulties.  I began prep shortly after dropping the kids to school anticipating that it would be ready by the time they got home.  4-6 hours.

This is the liquid smoke and salt that I used.  The liquid smoke is hickory flavored and the salt is Pink Himalayan that we had in the kitchen.  I have tried various salts when making Kalua, the main thing is to use moderately because you can always add more.

The first step is to prep the meat for seasoning.  I basically cut laterally incisions into the meat until hitting the bone.  If your meat is boneless I would suggest approximately 1 inch cuts.  Further, I poked holes in the meat in regular intervals.

On the bottom side of the Butt Roast I did the same as the top.  I cut lateral lines and poked holes in the meat.  If the amount of fat is undesirable to you, you may trim the fat to your liking, but this may reduce the overall flavor profile of the dish.  To each their own.

Before you do the above pictured step I patted the meat dry with paper towels to ensure that the Liquid smoke would adhere to the meat.  Once the meat had been towel dried I applied the Liquid Smoke liberally to ensure that the Pork was covered on all sides and in the grooves of the incisions.  Next I applied a good amount of salt on all sides and in the grooves.  ***I know that I do not have exact measurements for the liquid smoke and the salt--but to say I used it liberally assumes that meat was well covered in the seasoning.  

The next step not pictures is to add the meat to a crock pot and add approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water cooking the meat on High for approximately 2-6 hours depending on type of cut and weight.  I checked the meat approximately every 2 hours.  When it is done, the meat will easily be shredded with a fork.

Before serving I sliced a bunch of green onions, added a couple table spoons of Aloha Soy Sauce, a couple tablespoons of liquid smoke, and couple more table spoons of salt and let it cook on low for another 30 minutes.

Please adjust seasonings to fit your flavor profile.