Kalua Pork Instant Pot With Pineapple BBQ Sauce

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Bring the Hawaiian island flavors home with this instant pot kalua pork recipe. What would normally take 16 hours in the slow cooker takes only 90 minutes in the instant pot. 

kalua pork

This kalua pork instant pot recipe will take you straight to Hawaii. And I am day dreaming of a Hawaiian get away right about now! I figured I would bring a Hawaiian luau meal straight to my own kitchen with this Instant Pot Kalua pork. This quick and easy kalua pork recipe brings a little bit of Hawaii to my table and I am loving it! 

No need for cooking a whole pig underground like the traditional method! You don’t even need to wait 16 hours like most slow cooker kalua pork recipes. This one only takes about 90 minutes in the instant pot and becomes perfectly shreddable. 

The meat is smoky, juicy and salty and falls apart perfectly. Traditionally you would eat the pork without a sauce. But I have created a delicious pineapple BBQ sauce that goes perfectly with this shredded meat.

My favorite way to serve this pork is to make rice bowls. I use a delicious coconut rice as my base. Then top the rice with succulent pork and add fresh pineapple chunks, Maui onion chips and a drizzling of pineapple BBQ sauce. It’s divine.

What is Kalua Pork?

Kalua pig is a traditional method of Hawaiian cooking where they cook underground in leaves over hot stones and hardwood. This is called an Imu and is an underground oven.

They traditionally cook a whole pig or turkey in the imu, which is what draws tourists to a Hawaiian luau. The process is amazing to watch and the flavors are divine. The meat is juicy and deliciously tender. But it takes forever!

The best part is we have an instant pot pressure cooker recipe that will take a fraction of the cooking time.

shredded pork in a bowl

What meat to use for Kalua Pork:

I like to use a good quality piece of pork for this recipe. My favorite cut to use for kalua pork is country style ribs. The country style ribs are not actually ribs and do not contain any rib bones. Country style ribs are a cut from the shoulder area. They are full of flavor and cook much quicker in the Instant Pot. Country style ribs are basically just a pork roast cut into smaller pieces.

If you can’t find country style ribs you can also use pork shoulder or pork butt. Just cut the pork shoulder or butt into 2 inch long strips.

Can I Make This As A Freezer Meal?

This is one of my favorite freezer meals! In fact, this is one of the freezer meals we cover in the More Momma Cooking School Freezer Meal Class

I love to make this recipe in bulk.

First cook a big batch of this juicy, succulent pork.

Next, freeze individual family servings in ziplock bags.

Then use it for a variety of different dishes. I like to use it for pulled pork sandwiches, taquitos, burritos, nachos or pork grilled cheese (recipe below).

My favorite thing to serve this pork with are these delicious pani popo coconut rolls. You can freeze the cooked meat in single servings or serving sizes to feed your family to have on hand. 

kalua pork grilled cheese

To make into a freezer meal simply follow the notes in the bottom of the recipe card. 

How To Create The Smoky Flavor:

Because traditional kalua pork is slow cooked with hardwood underground, it becomes infused with a smoky flavor. We are going the easy route with this recipe by using liquid smoke.

It’s a great way to infuse the meat with smoky flavor without having to use a smoker

What To Serve With Hawaiian Kalua Pork:

Traditionally kalua pork is the star and is served with steamed rice. I like to serve this recipe in the bowls listed in the recipe card or with these amazing coconut rolls

Can I Make This Recipe In The Slow Cooker?

If you don’t have an instant pot you can make this recipe in your slow cooker or crockpot. Just cook the meat according to directions but instead of using the Instant Pot, cook for 16 hours on low in a slow cooker or crockpot.

How To Make Kalua Pork In The Instant Pot:

1
Combine pork with salt & liquid smoke. Add ketchup and pineapple juice to a small bag.
2
Add garlic salt and chili powder. Seal and place the small bag into larger bag. Remove air, Freeze.
3
To cook: place the frozen pork in the instant pot with 1/2 cup water. Cook on manual high pressure.
4
When cooked remove the liquid and place the pork back into the insert.
5
Turn the instant pot on sauté mode and shred with two forks.
6
Add the bbq sauce and cook for 5 minutes.
7
Serve over rice with pineapple chunks and Maui onion chips.
8
Or in a grilled cheese with pineapple, Munster cheese and sliced pineapple.
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Kalua Pork Instant Pot Recipe:

kalua pork

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Juicy, smokey, shredded Kalua pork is made in only 90 minutes in the Instant Pot.

Ingredients

Meat:

  • 3 pounds Pork Country Style Ribs
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
  • 2 tablespoons Real Salt
  • ½ cup Water (when cooking)

Pineapple BBQ Sauce:

  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • ½ cup Pineapple Juice
  • ½ teaspoon Chili Powder

Coconut Rice:

  • 3 cups White Jasmine Rice
  • 2 cups canned Coconut Milk
  • 4 cups Water
  • 2 teaspoons Real Salt

Toppings:

  • Pineapple Chunks
  • Maui Onion Chips, Crunched up

Ingredients for Grilled Cheese:

  • Muenster Cheese
  • Grilled Pineapple
  • Caramelized Onion
  • Hawaiian Rolls

Instructions

    1. Place the pork, salt, liquid smoke, and ½ cup water into the Instant Pot. Seal the lid and move the sealing valve to the sealing position. Turn on pressure cooker to manual, high pressure for 90 minutes.
    2. When the pork is done, release the pressure using the quick release method (manually turn the sealing valve to "venting") and remove the lid.
    3. Shred the pork with two forks. Turn on Instant Pot to sauté. Add sauce to pork. Stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Serve over coconut rice or in grilled cheese sandwiches (recipes below).


    Kalua Pork Coconut Rice Bowl:

    1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the rice, coconut milk, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the liquid has absorbed.

    2. Add salt when rice is cooked. Stir to combine.

    3. Add rice to serving bowls and top with shredded pork, pineapple chunks, maui chips and pineapple BBQ sauce.

    Kalua Pork Grilled Cheese:

    1. Horizontally slice desired number of Hawaiian rolls.

    2. Fill with shredded pork, BBQ sauce, Muenster cheese, grilled pineapple, caramelized onion.

Notes

To prepare for a freezer meal:

  • Prepare the meat: Place the pork, salt, and liquid smoke into a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Remove any air and seal closed. Label bag "Kalua Pork". Flash freeze for 2 hours.
  • Prepare the sauce: Place the ketchup, pineapple juice, and chili powder in a separate sandwich-size Ziploc bag. Remove any air and seal closed. Label bag "sauce". Add bag of sauce to bag of frozen pork.
  • Prepare the meal bag: Attach printed directions or write the following directions on the bag and freeze:
  • Place the contents of the large Ziploc bag into the Instant Pot with ½ cup water. Seal the lid and move the sealing valve to the sealing position. Turn on pressure cooker to manual, high pressure for 90 minutes.
  • When the pork is done, release the pressure using the quick release method (manually turn the sealing valve to "venting") and remove the lid.
  • Shred the pork with two forks. Turn on Instant Pot to sauté. Add sauce to pork. Stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Serve over coconut rice or in grilled cheese sandwiches.


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