I think this is one of my favorite pulled pork recipes, and I know that’s making a bold statement. It’s the simplicity of it all that makes this kalua pulled pork so amazing, especially when it’s served on my homemade Hawaiian sweet rolls. Technically, kalua pork is made by wrapping the meat in a large leaf, like a banana leaf, and then slow-smoking it for several hours. I don’t have the leaves, but I’ll do my best with my slow cooker to achieve something as close to the real thing as I can get.
As for ingredients, there’s really only one specialty item needed, Hawaiian sea salt. It makes a big difference. In a pinch, you could use kosher salt but I strongly encourage you to pick up Hawaiian sea salt. Hawaiian sea salt has a beautiful coral-pink color, or even like pink beach glass…no matter how you describe it, use it! You’ll be so glad you did. A little bit of liquid smoke will also help to give the pork a more slow-cooked barbecue-style flavor profile. The pork will release its own juices along the way to becoming deliciously flavorful, tender meat, but I do like to add a little bit of pineapple juice at the end, after draining some of the liquid, just for a hint of sweetness and a splash of acidity.
Once the pork is shredded, it’s time to assemble the sliders and there’s no need for direction here. I’ve sliced up some green onion for that distinctively cool and peppery-fresh bite and I’ve also got some shredded cheese, again, both totally optional as the meat itself is really the star of the show. I like to serve my kalua pulled pork on smaller buns because it’s so much easier to eat than when served on one big bun. Store-bought Hawaiian sweet bread keeps the process simple, but if you’ve got the time, try making homemade Hawaiian sweet rolls from scratch. Just look at these! Irresistible!
Kalua pulled pork sliders are absolutely adorable. It’s the food vacation we’re looking for, that is until we can head out on our own island vacation once again. The recipe is simple but truly a stunner when it comes to flavor and goodness. Enjoy!
Kalua Pulled Pork Sliders
10m prep time
6h cook time
- 1 4-6lb pork shoulder or pork butt
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- Hawaiian sweet rolls, for serving
- Spray the basin of the slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Pierce the meat with a fork. Rub 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over the pork, followed by 1 tablespoon liquid smoke.
- Rub the pork with Hawaiian sea salt. Place into the slow cooker. Cover with the lid and cook on LOW for 8-12 hours. Check after 8 hours for doneness, adding more cooking time as needed.
- Remove the pork from the basin of the slow cooker to shred. Drain half of the cooking liquid and add pineapple juice.
- Shred the meat and place it back in the slow cooker, stirring to distribute the liquid.
- Serve with Hawaiian sweet rolls and garnish with shredded cheese and green onions.
Recipe adapted from Pineapple and Coconut.