This kalua pork will rock your world. It is SO moist, it only has three ingredients, it can be prepared in less than five minutes, and it feeds a CROWD.

Kalua Pork. How I’ve managed to live this long without making myself acquainted with this incredible meal is beyond me.

First, a background. The word “Kalua” simply refers to a method – “cooking in an underground oven.” I don’t know about you but I don’t have any underground ovens around; however there is no need to worry.

Shredded pork on a white plate.

This delicious Kalua Pork can be made at home and if you have never made it, I am telling you here and now that it will rock your world.

Let me outline the benefits of this life-changing meal:

1) It only has three ingredients (not counting a smidgeon of water).
2) It can be prepared in less than five minutes.
3) It is economical.
4) It feeds a CROWD.
5) Leftovers can be frozen beautifully and reheated as BBQ pork sandwiches, pork quesadillas, pork enchiladas, you get the picture.
6) It is the most deliciously moist pork I have ever tasted. Ever.

Have I convinced you to make this yet? You won’t be disappointed. My sister-in-law, Mary, introduced this method of cooking pork to me several months ago and I am forever grateful.

It really is my very, very favorite way to eat pork (served with rice and fresh pineapple and you have one incredibly divine meal).

FAQs for Kalua Pork

Can this meat be frozen to use later?

You can freeze it, no problem, especially if it saves you time. I’ve had the best luck cooking, letting the meat cool, and then vacuum sealing (in my food saver). It seems to keep the flavor and freshness a lot better.

How long should this cook in the instant pot?

Usually a 3-5 pound pork roast needs about 55-60 minutes in the IP (high pressure). If it were 1-2 pounds, I’d probably do 40 minutes or so.

What’s your favorite liquid smoke for this recipe?

Applewood and hickory are my favorites!

Should I use bone-in or boneless pork?

Either will work, but bone-in makes a more tender pork.

What if I want to make a smaller roast?

For a smaller roast (about 4-5 pounds), cut about an hour off the baking time, but still add the same amount of water so you are sure it doesn’t dry out.

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Kalua Pork

4.59 stars (29 ratings)


  • 10-12 pounds pork shoulder butt roast, don’t substitute a leaner cut of pork or it will be dry
  • 1 bottle liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt, or hula salt if you can find it
  • 1 ½ cups water


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Trim roast of large pockets of fat (but leave some fat on there to help the pork stay tender while cooking).
  • Place pork in large roasting pan (the aluminum, deep roasting pans you can buy at the grocery store work great if you don’t own a heavy-duty roasting pan).
  • Rub 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt into pork. Pour the bottle of liquid smoke over and around the pork. Pour the water around the pork. Cover roasting pan TIGHTLY with two layers of aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 5-7 hours (don’t uncover while baking – let the steam and heat work its magic!).
  • Shred with two forks and serve with rice.


Freezable: I always make a ton of this when cooking it because it freezes well but feel free to scale down the recipe as needed.
Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker: rub the roast with salt per the recipe. Add the water and liquid smoke to the Instant Pot, place the roast in the pot, secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 60-65 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release. 
Crockpot: I’ve had a lot of questions about whether this will work in a crockpot. I’ve never made it in the crockpot, but a reader, Tasha, commented and said she has made this for years in the crockpot, cooking it on low for 14-16 hours.
Flexibility: This recipe has a lot of wiggle room. I’m sure it would be fine with a smaller roast, less water, etc. Just play around with it and see what you get!
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 293kcal, Protein: 39g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 132mg, Sodium: 1166mg