Slow Cooker Kalua Pork with Cabbage

Kalua Pork with Cabbage is a Hawaiian dish often served at Luaus. This version is made in the slow cooker and tastes just like authentic shredded Kalua Pig.

If you have been to Hawaii or a luau, chances are you have had shredded Kalua Pork with Cabbage. This is one of my VERY favorite Hawaiian dishes because it is just so juicy and flavorful. This recipe tastes so much like the actual, authentic Hawaiian Kalua pork but can be done with MUCH less effort. You literally throw it in the slow cooker and let it do it’s thing all day. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the true “imu” method, but I can’t pass up the ease of the slow cooker when I am just making this for my little family. If you want to wrap it up and smoke it in an underground pit to get the “true” experience I won’t stop you!

Alternative Cooking Methods:

If you want to speed things up, you can actually make this in an Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Just follow the directions as indicated in the recipe but instead of putting it in a slow cooker, put it all (including the cabbage) in the Instant Pot. Set the Instant Pot for high pressure for one hour and allow to slow release pressure on it’s own for about 30 minutes. Once it is done, just shred and serve. SUPER easy.

Serving Options:

My favorite way of serving this Kalua Pork with Cabbage is with a “plate lunch”. A plate lunch usually consists of a protien or two (such as Kalua pork, teriyaki chicken, teriyaki beef, or even spam), rice, and Hawaiian macaroni salad. Getting a bite with each of these things all at one time is seriously roll-your-eyes-back delicious. It is one of those things you want to chew each bite slowly because you just don’t want the goodness to end. People often ask me what my very favorite thing to eat is, and I can honestly say it just might be a Hawaiian plate lunch. It is THAT good.


Of course you can serve this all on it’s own or you can add BBQ sauce and make Kalua Pork Sandwiches or Kalua Pork Tacos. We also love just making simple shredded pork quesadillas and dipping them in teriyaki sauce (my kids’ favorite way). Really, any way you decide to serve this Kalua pork, you won’t be disappointed.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pork with Cabbage

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  • 3-4 pound pork roast
  • 1-2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1/3 c. liquid smoke
  • 1 c. cup water
  • 1/2 head cabbage, coarsely chopped


  • Rub pork generously with salt and pour on liquid smoke.
  • Place in Crock Pot or Slow Cooker.
  • Add water.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • An hour before serving, carefully lift pork out of the slow cooker (do not drain out juices)and place cabbage in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Place pork on top of the cabbage, place lid back on, and cook for another hour.
  • Shred pork and serve.



Having a Luau or just in the mood for more delicious, authentic Hawaiian ? You have got to try these:

  • Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad: This is a true favorite of mine from when I lived in Hawaii. You really can’t get more authentic than this. A MUST for Hawaiian plate lunches and luaus!
  • Hawaiian Beef Teriyaki: This is right up there with Kalua Pork with Cabbage. Thinly sliced, sweet and tender pieces of beef… this stuff is HEAVENLY.
  • Spam Musubi: Wanna get really, really real? I ate this stuff all the time in Hawaii for lunch (and sometimes breakfast). Friends in Hawaii would pack this in their kids’ lunch boxes for school. It is so snack-able and easy to eat on the go. A true Hawaiian favorite!

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