Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig
Preparation time
10 mins
Cooking time
960 mins
Hard recipes
8 people

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

“Once or twice a year, our family decamps to Hawaii—our home away from home,” writes Michelle Tam in Nom Nom Paleo.

“I love everything about the islands: the people, the pace, the climate, the beaches, the sunsets, the food.


Slow Cooker Kalua Pig


  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 (5-pound) pork shoulder roast, bone-in or out (it doesn’t matter)
  • 5 garlic cloves (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse Alaea Hawaiian sea salt


  1. Line the bottom of a slow cooker with bacon slices. (No bacon? No worries. You can replicate the smoky flavor with 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika rubbed over the surface of the pork. Bacon does make it better, though.)
  2. If desired, make 5 small incisions in the pork roast and tuck the garlic cloves inside.
  3. Season the pork with the sea salt, making sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies.
  4. Place the roast in the slow cooker on top of the bacon, skin-side up.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 16 hours or until the meat is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  6. When the pork’s done, transfer the roast to a separate platter before shredding. Don’t shred the pork directly in the slow cooker; the cooking liquid can render the meat too salty.
  7. Season to taste with some of the remaining cooking liquid before serving.

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Coarse and unrefined, Alaea sea salt gets its deep terra-cotta hue from alae, a purified red volcanic clay that originated on the island of Kauai. The red clay is more mineral-rich than most salts, and imparts a subtle earthiness to dishes. I stock up on Alaea salt whenever I visit Hawaii, but you don’t need to fly to paradise to get your hands on this wondrous ingredient—it’s widely available for purchase online. Even if you don’t have any Alaea salt on hand, don’t fret. There’s nothing quite like the real thing, but in a pinch, any coarse salt will work.

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