Smoky, salty, juicy, tender pork pressure cooked and shredded to perfection. This Instant Pot kalua pig is so simple, anyone can make it.
There’s a special place in my heart for Hawaiian food and kalua pig is no exception. What used to take hours of cooking in an imu, can now be made in just about 2 hours in the comfort of your own home.
What is an imu?
An imu is an underground oven used to cook foods. It is a large hole dug in the ground. Wood is placed at the bottom of the pit and lit on fire. Stones are then placed on top of the wood. Once the wood completely burns the stones drop to the bottom of the pit and are now hot enough to cook the food. The food was then placed in the imu and covered with banana leaves and buried. This allowed large amounts of food to be cooked low and slow and creates an amazing flavor.
What is kālua pig?
Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu. Pork was often placed in the imu, slow cooked, and then shredded. You bet you can find this at just about any lū’au show today.
Kalua pig is so delicious because it’s
- Smoked flavor
- Tender, shredded meat
What type of meat is used for this recipe?
Pork butt or pork shoulder are great choices.
What goes well with Instant Pot kalua pig?
- Sticky white rice, bet you’d never have guess. Starting to see a trend here? Rice goes well with just about any local dish.
- Good old poi
- Steamed cabbage
- Lomi salmon
- Macaroni salad
Kalua pig also goes well in quesadillas, nachos, tacos, or served in a sandwich.
Don’t have an imu?
Hey neither do I, however I will add that my husband has been bugging me to put one in my backyard. For my baby first lū’au, my parents created an imu in our backyard. We shall see what becomes of this. But you’re in luck because now you can make this recipe in the comfort of your own home.
How to store kalua pig?
The beauty of this dish is you can make a large batch and freeze the extras for another day. Then simply toss in the microwave or on the stove to reheat. This will keep for a few months. You can store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.
What’s in Instant Pot kalua pig?
Literally 3 ingredients.
- Pork butt
- Hawaiian salt
- Liquid smoke. I like to use kiawe (mesquite).
How to make Instant Pot kalua pig?
Follow me on YouTube.
- Place cubed pork but in Instant Pot.
- Add Hawaiian salt and liquid smoke. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup water.
- Close lid and place vent in sealing mode. Cook on manual high pressure for 90 minutes. Allow to natural pressure release, about 20-25 minutes.
- Shred pork with fork. Serve with your favorite side dish and ENJOY!
Instant Pot Kalua Pig
- 2 pounds pork butt cubed
- 1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 cup water
- Optional: cabbage
- Place pork butt in the Instant Pot.
- Add Hawaiian salt and liquid smoke. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup of water.
- Close lid and place vent to sealing mode.
- Cook on manual high pressure for 90 minutes.
- Allow to natural pressure release.
- Once the pin has dropped, open the lid. Using two forks, shred the pork.
- Optional: Roughly chop cabbage and add to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine. Allow residual heat to cook through the cabbage.
© Relle Lum for Keeping It Relle. Please do not copy and paste or screenshot recipes online or on social media. I’d love it if you share a link with a photo instead. Mahalo!
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25 thoughts on “Instant Pot Kalua Pig”
I’m stunned that flavors like this come from a recipe with so few ingredients! I”m dusting off my IP and trying this ASAP! Thanks for the great recipe!
Hi Jenn. Yay awesome. Hawaiian recipes are pretty simple, but give bold flavors. Let me know how it goes. Have a great day!
This recipe was so easy to follow and need minimal ingredients! I can’t believe that it tasted just like it was cooked in an imu! Definitely a favorite for my family, and will be added to our dinner rotation! Thank you!!!
Hi Jenelle. Thank you so much for your kind words. This definitely is a go to at our house too. Have a great day!
If we don’t have an instapot, can it be done it a slow cooker?
Sure can. Low for 8hrs or high for 4hrs. I prefer the low and slow method if using the slow cooker.
I Have a bone in pork butt. do I have to cut the pork up into cubes or can I put the whole piece of pork in the insta pot?
You can opt to cook it with the bone in (the cook time may need to be increased) or you can cut the meat off the bone first prior to cooking. Thanks for stopping by.
My IP vent is either “seal” or “release”….no “steam” mode. There is a “steam” setting on the face. Is that what you mean?
Aloha. My apologies, it should reading seal. The typo has been corrected. Mahalo!
I am NEVER buying premade kalua pig again! Thanks Relle for helping me in the kitchen..
Thank you for all the great recipes on YouTube! I already made your pumpkin butter mochi and it was amazing! I just tried this one today and omg it is so ‘Ono! I had 10lbs pork butt bone-in and it didn’t all fit in the crock pot, so I decided to split it and do both ways. Crock pot’s still cooking and I’m pretty sure instant pot is the way to go, lol. Anyway, I wanted to ask, since I have so much and plan to freeze some, do you recommend mixing in the cabbage now, or toss in fresh when I plan to reheat? Mahalo!
Aloha Desiree. So great to hear. Thanks for sharing. You can freeze it either way, however I would say better to add the cabbage fresh when reheating. Happy Thanksgiving.
Is the Kalua Pig safe to freeze the leftovers after 3 days?
Yes. Just be sure to put it in a air tight container or zip top bag.
Hello, I can’t wait to try this! How would I adjust the cooking temp/time for using a Dutch oven in an oven? Thank you!
Aloha Monica. You can roast at 350F for 3-4hrs or more depending on the size and thickness of the meat or until tender and easily shreds with a fork.
Made your IP Kalua pig recipe tonight for a family potluck, it was Ono. Mahalo!🌺
Yay! So great to hear. Thanks for stopping by.
Mahalo for the simple recipe. I didn’t have to heat up my entire house with the oven and I could set it and forget it, with the instantpot. We didn’t have liquid smoke so we just used salt and water with the pork. Threw in some cabbage and lil bit shoyu. Was ono and so much cheaper than the premade ones.
Aloha Pili. Glad you liked it. Super easy and yummy. If you get a chance grab yourself some kiawe liquid smoke. Game changer!
If I’m doing it in the slow cooker should I still add water?
Aloha Jorden. Yes I would still add water. You don’t want the pork to dry out and the bottom to burn.
How much liquid smoke do I add in? Wanting to make this tonight for dinner. Been craving it 🤤
Aloha. Full recipe is at the bottom of the post in the recipe card. Hope you enjoy.