Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Kalua pork/pig is delicious and nutritious! It is traditionally an entire pig, roasted in an Imu (Hawaiian pit oven dug into the ground) that gained popularity as a Luau food at hotels in the Hawaiian Islands, but was historically a centerpiece dish, reserved for Hawaiian royalty at large feasts and celebrations. It is typically covered in banana and ti leaves. Today, we can enjoy the taste of this royal dish any time, with a pork shoulder/butt roast, roasted low and slow in your oven, or even easier, cooked in your Instant Pot.

There are many IP Kalua Pig recipes on the internet, however many of them have a long list of ingredients and additions. A good Kalua pork requires only pig, salt and liquid smoke to impart that smoky flavor that you lose when you don’t bury it in the ground. That’s it. The result of sticking to these simple ingredients is a virtually carb free, perfectly salted taste sensation.

While most folks still eat rice to accompany this dish, I don’t bother with rice anymore. Instead, stir fry some cabbage on the side, or better yet, mix the cooked pork right into your wok with the cabbage and make Kalua pig and cabbage. Then throw a fried egg on top. Delish!


4 lbs boneless pork shoulder/butt roast
Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt
Liquid Smoke


Cut pork shoulder, untrimmed of fat, into 2 inch cubes and place in your Instant Pot.

Notice I don’t give a quantity of liquid smoke. Just sprinkle enough liquid smoke to moisten over the pork and rub it in.

Notice too that I don’t give a quantity of sea salt. Just grab a handful of salt and rub it all over the moistened pork. Rub it in there. Now grab a pinch or two more and rub it in for good measure.

Add a quarter cup of water to your Instant Pot and set it on high pressure for 40 minutes. After cycle has completed, allow pressure to release naturally.

Remove Kalua pig from Instant pot with a slotted spoon and shred with two forks. Serve!

Kalua pork keeps and freezes very well. To reheat, throw it (including it’s cold fat/juice) in a hot wok or sauté pan, stirring constantly, until heated through.