Slow Cooker Kalua Pork with Sweet Chili Pineapple Sauce

Dreaming of a trip to Hawaii?  This Slow Cooker Kalua Pork recipe can, at least, take your taste buds there.  Perfectly seasoned with just two ingredients and so tender it will melt in your mouth. Serve it with an easy Sweet Chili Pineapple Sauce and have your own luau at home.

Kalua pork in a blue and white bowl on a white background.

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Can’t get to Hawaii anytime soon? Me neither. And whether we’re not able to travel for a few weeks or a few years, I still enjoy the fresh, tropical flavors of Hawaiian cuisine. Everything thing I love is either fruity or pork-y. And this Kalua Pork recipe is one of my favorite authentic Hawaiian foods I’ve ever tried.

It’s super easy to make, too! Just a few minutes of hands on time and you have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooker Kalua Pork that tastes just like your favorite luau buffet.  It’s really impressive, too….and makes a tons so it’s fantastic for summer cookouts and tailgates.

Kalua Pork on a lettuce leaf with a spoon drizzling sauce on top.


Kalua Pork, or Kalua Pig, is a tender, juicy pork that’s cooked in an underground pit called an Imu.

An Imu is a 2- 4 foot deep pit dug and filled with kindling and rock, often made of lava rock or basalt, and set on fire. It takes several hours for the kindling to turn to coal and the stones to get to an even heat so they’re ready to cook the pig. Then, tropical leaves are placed on top of the stones to steam cook the pig.

Hawaiians traditionally use anything from coconut palm fronds to grasses, ti leaves or banana leaves to cover the pig. 

A whole pig is then placed on top of the leaves, covered with more leaves or greens before the dirt that was dug out of the pit is used to cover it completely to keep the heat in. It’s cooked for approximately 8 hours depending on the size of the pig.

For this version, we’re using a slow cooker. You get, just about, the same great flavor without having to dig out a big pit in the backyard. This is more of an oven Kalua pork recipe than a traditional Kalua Pig recipe….but the flavor is just as phenomenal.

The smoke flavoring in a traditional kalua pig is from the underground cooking but we duplicate that same flavor in the crockpot with Liquid Smoke.  It’s kind of my secret weapon in smoking without actually using a smoker. 

The name “kālua pork” has been used by Hawaiian cook Sam Choy to describe pork shoulder butt that’s rubbed with sea salt, wrapped in ti leaves, and slowly cooked in an oven using liquid  smoke rather than an imu.

Kalua Pork in a blue and white bowl on a white background.


You’re prep time for making Kalua Pork includes….stabbing the meat violently with a fork to work off any stress you may be experiencing.  

Perfect start to the day, if I do say so myself.  Great pre-office workout.  And then dousing the pork with liquid smoke (if you’re sensitive to MSG…there are brands that are free of MSG, just read the label) and smothering the pork in Hawaiian sea salt.  It will look like a lot…’s not.  Don’t hold back.  

Then turn on your slow cooker for 10 hours….yes, 10….on low.  Go about your day and don’t peek.  Ever.

After 10 hours, you can shred the pork with two forks and leave it in the slow cooker with the broth. (Before shredding, I skim off some of the fat…you can skip this step if you wish.)

Whisk all the Sweet Chili Pineapple sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Wrap, taco style, in bibb lettuce leaves for a low carb meal.


Slow Cooker Kahlua Pork with Sweet Chili Pineapple Sauce | The Suburban Soapbox


We like to serve our pork along with a big pile of rice and in lettuce leaves. If you’re looking for a few more things to round out your Hawaiian feast, you may also want to add this easy Kani Salad….it’s fresh, easy and fabulous.

If you don’t want to use the sweet chili sauce, we love serving it with our favorite teriyaki sauce, too!

And if you’re not feeling like waiting for your Hawaiian dinner in the slow cooker….we also love this simple Huli Huli Chicken with a side of Mac salad. It’s ready in a fraction of the time but it’s equally delicious.

Finish up your homemade luau with a slice of Haupia Pie!  It’s so coconut-y and chocolate-y and perfect.

Kalua pork in a lettuce leaf with sweet chili sauce on top.

Looking for even more easy slow cooker pork recipes, you have to try these family favorites!



Slow Cooker Kalua Pork with Sweet Chili Pineapple Sauce

serve up this delicious slow cooker pork with sweet chili pineapple sauce!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 hrs
Total Time 10 hrs 5 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 151 kcal


  • 1 - 8 lb bone in Boston Butt Pork Roast
  • 4 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 5 tablespoons pink hawaiian sea salt or regular sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons garlic chili sauce
  • 5 tablespoon hoisin sauce


  • Place the pork, fat side up, in the slow cooker. Using a fork, pierce the roast all over and pour the liquid smoke over it to coat. Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the roast and cover. Cook on low for 10 hours (the roast is done when the meat begins to fall apart when shredded with a fork.)
  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the pineapple juice, rice vinegar, honey, chili sauce and hoisin sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook the sauce until reduced by half stirring with a heat resistant spatula frequently. Set aside.
  • When the roast is done, transfer to a cutting board and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded meat back to the slow cooker and serve immediately with the sauce.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and frozen for up to 2 months.


Serving: 12gCalories: 151kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10122mgPotassium: 73mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29gVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 0.5mg
Keyword pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


19 comments on “Slow Cooker Kalua Pork with Sweet Chili Pineapple Sauce”

  1. Oh yes!!!! Love using my slow cooker!

  2. Your pineapple sauce is amazing! Looks great!

  3. That sauce. I want to drizzle it on everything!

  4. That pineapple sauce looks wonderful!

  5. Love this! I use my slow cooker all year long!

  6. Yum! That pineapple chili sauce sounds really delicious!

  7. This is hilarious – i am in Hawaii for the first time right now!!! And the food is amazing!! Love this!!

  8. This puts me in such a festive, vacation mode. I look forward to trying this soon!

  9. That sauce sounds so distinctive! I’ve never had one with kahlua in it!

  10. Ahh Hawaii – you will get there someday 🙂 My sister-in-law use to live on the Big Island – I think that’s my favorite island of them all. I’m dying to get back (and need to check out that show!)

  11. Oh and this recipe?? I agree with you that think that sauce would even make a shoe taste good -ha!

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