One of my favorite recipes to make in the Instant Pot is Kalua Pork. This Hawaiian dish (Kalua Pig recipe) traditionally cooks in an underground oven, or imu, for hours until the meat becomes tender with a smoky flavor.
With the pressure cooking power of the Instant Pot, this dish can be made in a fraction of the time without sacrificing any of its delicious taste.
Kalua Pork Instant Pot Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need for this Kalua pig recipe.
- Olive Oil: Infuses richness and a smooth texture to the pork, contributing to the overall succulence.
- Pork Butt (Whole roast, bone out): A choice cut, boneless for convenient preparation, ensuring tenderness and ease of shredding.
- Liquid Smoke: Imparts the quintessential smoky flavor reminiscent of traditional imu-roasted pork.
- Salt (Coarse kosher or Alaea sea salt): Enhances the natural flavors of the pork and adds a perfect touch of seasoning.
- Water: Facilitates the cooking process, ensuring the pork is tender and juicy in the Instant Pot.
So few ingredients but a delicious recipe cooked in no time. You don’t even need chicken broth!
How to Make Kalua Pork Instant Pot Style
Wondering how to cook Kalua Pork in the Instant Pot? Here are our easy and simple instructions for this tasty Hawaiian pork dish.
Step One: Turn on the Saute Setting
Set your Instant Pot to sauté and add the oil.
Step Two: Saute the Kalua Pig/Pork Butt
Once the Instant Pot gets hot, place the pork whole into the instant pot. Sear all the sides of the pork for 3-5 minutes each side.
Step Three: Deglaze Instant Pot
Once seared. Remove the pork and set aside. Add the water and cancel the instant pot setting. Using a wooden spatula, scrape any seared meat remnants to prevent a burn notice.
Step Four: Add Liquid Smoke to Kalua Pork
Add the liquid smoke and return the pork to the instant pot. Salt the top of the pork.
Step Five: Pressure Cook Kalua Pork Butt
Seal the lid and pressure valve. Set the instant pot to 90 minutes on high pressure.
Step Six: Release Pressure on Instant Pot
Once finished, let the Instant Pot have a natural release pressure for 15 minutes then manually release.
Step Seven: Shred Instant Pot Kalua Pork
Remove the pork from the Instant Pot onto a cutting board. Using some forks shred the pork. Add the shredded pork to a plate for serving.
Step Eight: Garnish and Serve Kalua Pig
Serve pork with steamed rice and peppers and pineapple.
Kalua Pork Cooking Time
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 90 minutes + time for pressure build-up
Yields 6 servings
What to Serve With Instant Pot Kalua Pork?
Traditionally, this dish is served as an entrée with sides to accompany it. However, it can also be added as a protein to salads or wraps, served on a bun for sandwiches, or used as a filling for tacos or burritos.
Kalua Pork Shoulder is great on Hawaiian rolls! Get our Instant Pot Hawaiian rolls recipe here!
Some sides that pair well with Instant Pot Kalua pork include steamed rice, lomi tomato, poi, and macaroni salad. For added flavor and texture, serve the Kalua pig with fresh pineapple or sliced bell peppers.
Kalua Pig and Cabbage
Another popular dish often served alongside Kalua pork is steamed cabbage, also cooked in the Instant Pot.
Simply add cabbage wedges to the pot with the pork during pressure cooking for a tasty and easy side dish.
As the cabbage cooks at the same time as the pork butt, it will pick up the smoky flavor of the liquid smoke and create a delicious, tender cabbage dish.
Cooking Kalua Pork With Banana Leaves
Note: If you want the true traditional Kalua pork experience, try using banana leaves to wrap and cook the pork in.
Place them on top of the Instant Pot before sealing the lid for added flavor infusion. Also, feel free to add diced onions as well as liquid smoke for added flavor before cooking.
How to Store Kalua Pork?
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat as desired before serving again. Enjoy!
Enjoy Instant Pot Kalua Pig
Enjoy your tasty Instant Pot Kalua pork! With this easy cooking method, it’s now easier than ever to enjoy this traditional Hawaiian dish in the comfort of your own home. It’s absolutely delicious and you won’t be disappointed!
Mahalo for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Kalua Pork?
Also known as Hawaiian Pork or Kalua Pig, traditional Kalua pork is a delicious dish made by cooking a pork shoulder.
The Kalua pig meat is usually rubbed with Alea sea salt before being cooked for several hours until it becomes tender and infused with smoky flavors.
What Does Kalua Pork Taste Like?
Kalua pork is incredibly tender and has a smoky, salty flavor. It pairs well with Hawaiian sides such as lomi tomato, poi, and macaroni salad.
Kalua pork is similar to pulled pork and can be used in a variety of dishes such as tacos, sandwiches, salads, or even pizza toppings.
Is Kalua Pork Healthy?
Like all pork dishes, Kalua pork is high in protein and fat. However, the cooking method (using the Instant Pot) helps to render some of the fat from the meat, making it a healthier option compared to traditional cooking methods.
Additionally, using Hawaiian sea salt as opposed to regular table salt can also provide additional health benefits.
Hawaiian salt is rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium, which can aid in muscle function and nerve transmission.
Why Make Pressure Cooker Kalua Pork?
Not only is the Instant Pot a quick and easy cooking method, it also helps to infuse flavor into the meat by trapping in moisture while pressure cooking.
The result is a tender and delicious Kalua pork dish that can be made in a fraction of the time compared to traditional Kalua pig cooking methods.
Ready to give this Kalua Pig recipe a try? Check out my favorite Instant Pot Kalua Pork recipe here. You won’t be disappointed!
What Is Alea Sea Salt?
Known as Hawaiian Sea Salt, this salt is made from seawater that is evaporated in the sun and mixed with red volcanic clay known as Alaea.
This type of salt gives Kalua pork its distinct reddish color and adds a slightly earthy flavor.
Best Alea Sea Salt Substitute
If you don’t have Alea sea salt, try using coarse kosher salt instead.
Do I Have to Perform a Natural Pressure Release?
No, you can manually release the pressure immediately after cooking for a quicker meal, however, it is recommended to allow for natural release as it results in more tender meat.
Can You Freeze Kalua Pig?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze this Instant Pot Kalua pork. Store it in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to 2 months. Thaw before reheating and serving again.
Can I Cook Pork Shoulder Kalua Pork in a Stove Top Pressure Cooker?
Yes, simply follow the same steps and cooking time for a delicious Kalua pork dish on the stove top pressure cooker.
What Sauce Goes With Kalua Pork/ Kalua Pig?
While some enjoy the smoky, salty flavors of Kalua pork on their own, others like to add a sauce for added flavor.
Traditional Hawaiian sauces that pair well with Kalua pig include teriyaki or sweet chili sauce.
For a more unique twist, try adding barbecue or Korean gochujang sauce. Enjoy experimenting with different sauces to find your favorite combination!
Is Kalua Pork Keto Friendly?
Yes, this Instant Pot Kalua pork recipe is keto-friendly as it is low in carbs and high in protein. Serve with low-carb sides such as cauliflower rice or salad to make a complete keto meal.
Is Kalua Pork Gluten Free?
Yes, this Instant Pot Kalua pork recipe is gluten-free. For a completely gluten-free meal, serve with rice and veggies instead of bread or buns.
Do I Have to Use a Whole Pork Roast?
While using a whole roast gives the traditional flavors and texture, feel free to use any cut of pork.
For a quicker cooking time, try using boneless pork shoulder roast, cubed pork shoulder, pork loin, pork tenderloin or pork chops. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
How to Cook Kalua Pork in the Slow Cooker
If you don’t want to use an Instant pot to cook this kalua pork recipe then you might want to try the slow cooker version of kalua pig.
To cook slow cooker Kalua Pork , place the pork butt in the slow cooker and mix liquid smoke, sea salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours until tender and easily shredded. Serve as desired.
Can I Use Bacon Instead Of Liquid Smoke?
You can certainly use bacon to add smoky flavor, however the taste of your butt roast will not be quite the same as a traditional Kalua pig.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 lb pork butt, whole roast, bone out
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke, mesquite, or any flavor
- 1 teaspoon salt, coarse kosher or Alaea sea salt
- 2/3 cup of water
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté and add the oil.
- Once the Instant Pot gets hot, place the pork whole into the instant pot. Sear all the sides of the pork for 3-5 minutes each side.
- Once seared. Remove the pork and set aside. Add the water and cancel the instant pot setting. Using a wooden spatula, scrape any seared meat remnants to prevent a burn notice.
- Add the liquid smoke and return the pork to the instant pot. Salt the top of the pork.
- Seal the lid and pressure valve. Set the instant pot to 90 minutes on high pressure.
- Once finished, let the Instant Pot have a natural release pressure for 15 minutes then manually release.
- Remove the pork from the Instant Pot onto a cutting board. Using some forks shred the pork. Add the shredded pork to a plate for serving.
- Serve pork with steamed rice and peppers and pineapple.
Enjoy with taro or root vegetables
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 650Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 610mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 52g
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