Instant Pot Kalua Pork – Your Own Hawaiian Luau

Preparation Time: 6 minutesCooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

With this kalua pork recipe, you get Hawaiian-style salty, tender, shredded pork right at home. Normally, it would take 16 hours to slow cook kalua pork, but in the pressure cooker, it's done in less than 2 hours!

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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Has being cooped up inside for most of 2020 made you want to go on vacation even more? Unless you live in Hawaii, it’s pretty unfortunate that we can’t go to a luau or pig roast.  So, why not make some Instant Pot kalua pork?

What is Kalua Pork?

Not to be confused with the coffee-flavored liqueur, Kahlûa. Kalua pork is the kind of pork you are traditionally served at a luau in Hawaii. Unfortunately, there is no liquor involved with this recipe. 

Kalua pork is salty shredded pork you would traditionally serve with some rice and banana leaves. You can also make it into a pork sandwich with some Hawaiian roles, which is what I do.

Fun fact: Kalua means “cooked in an underground oven” because traditional kalua pork is cooked all day that way. I don’t have an underground oven on hand, and I doubt you do either. 

Now, normally kalua pork would take all day. Like, 16 hours all day. Thankfully, there is a wonderful invention called the Instant Pot (known as an electric pressure cooker), which cooks kalua pork in a fraction of the time. 

So, today, I’m going to tell you how you can make Instant Pot kalua pork so you can transport yourself to Hawaii without leaving the dinner table. 

Choosing the Right Meat for Instant Pot Kalua Pork

We’ll use pork shoulder in this pressure cooker kalua pork recipe. It’s a less expensive cut of pork and I love how tender it usually comes out. 

When you’re shopping for pork, look for “butt roast,” “shoulder blade Boston roast,” or blade pork roast when choosing your pork shoulder. It’s all the same thing. 

You can also choose a pork loin or half pork shoulder if looking to cut the calories. 

Whether you prefer bone-in or boneless is up to you. It won’t change the cooking time. I personally prefer boneless pork.

How to Make Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Pressure cooker kalua pork is actually pretty simple. Just make sure you start off by browning your meat. This is going to ensure more flavorful meat. 

To do this, select the sauté function. When it displays “hot” you will add your pork and start browning both sides of the pork (around 3 minutes). Once browned, turn your pressure cooker off and transfer to a platter or bowl. 

Now you can add in the water and liquid smoke to your pot. If need be, scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck-on brown bits (to ensure you don’t get that dreaded “burn” warning). 

Add back in the pork and add the salt, ensuring you’re getting the top of the pork. Cover with banana leaves (optional).

Place your lid over the cooker and lock it in, with your valve set to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 90 minutes. Then, once the timer goes off, wait another 20 minutes before opening (a natural release). Once your valve has dropped you can open the lid. 

Take the pork out from the pot and begin shredding by using two forks. Pro tip: easily shred your pork by using the paddle attachment from your standing mixer or by using a handheld mixer. This is a lifesaver so your wrists don’t hurt, and a time saver with that. 

Pour over the juices from the pot and serve with rice or on a Hawaiian roll. Use the extra juices as a gravy. You can also serve with a macaroni salad. 

How to Make Instant Pot Rice

Instant pot rice is pretty simple to make. I like to make sure my rice is fully prepared before going in the Instant Pot pressure cooker by doing the following:

  • You can use any type of rice you want: brown, white, long-grain, short-grain, jasmine rice, etc. 
  • In a strainer, pour the quantity of rice you want (I usually do about 1-2 cups) and rinse your rice until the water starts running clean. This will ensure the starches come off of your rice, so your end result is fluffier rice. 
  • Sauté your rice in about 2 tbsp of oil (I prefer canola or olive oil) and brown. Once toasted off you can add your water. 
  • I like to do a 1:1 rice to water ratio with my rice. So for 1 cup of rice, I’ll do a cup of water. 
  • Once covered with water, I hit the pressure cook button on high for about 5 minutes. Once the timer goes off I let it do a natural release of about 10-15 minutes before releasing the steam. 

After your rice is done cooking, undo the lid and fluff up the rice with a fork. Serve with your Instant Pot kalua pork.

Looking for a Pressure Cooker?

I used my handy-dandy Instant Pot duo for this recipe. Still undecided? Check out all the pressure cooker reviews and guides available. When you’re ready, check out more recipes from Instant Mealtime!

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