Pulled Kalua Pork Nachos

Aloha foodies! You can probably tell by the title of this post that today I’m sharing another Hawaiian inspired recipe! We moved to Hawaii about 5 months ago and if it wasn’t the food that brought us here, it’s definitely what’s keeping us here! Check out some of my other Hawaiian inspired recipes here!

Traditionally in Hawaii, kalua pork (pig) is cooked by smoking a whole pig in the ground for hours and is usually served at a Hawaiian luau. Seriously, if you go to a luau today, you will take part in a traditional ceremony where the cooked kalua pig is revealed, also known as an imu ceremony. Since most of us don’t have an outdoor pit at our house to slow cook our meat, I decided to throw it in the CrockPot with some smokey flavors to try to replicate the taste of a traditional kalua pig.

Pulled pork

In the recipe, I used smoked paprika since this is what I had on hand, but another popular option is liquid smoke. The smoked paprika gave it a mild smokey flavor so I can imagine using liquid smoke would give it more of an intense smoked flavor. Use either as you see fit!

So you may notice that the pork roast you just purchased is extremely fatty. I try to trim off as much fat as possible  from the edges, then cut the roast into smaller, more workable pieces before seasoning. As the pork cooks, it will lose another 30% of its size as the fat melts, leaving you with extremely moist, tender meat. Be sure to drain the fat that remains! You know the meat is fully cooked when it falls apart very easily when gently poked with a fork. The amount of pulled pork yielded will vary depending on how fatty your roast is. If you find yourself with way more meat that intended, you can always freeze the excess in a ziplock baggy for up to a month!

Pulled Kalua Pork Nachos

Once the pork is cooked, assembling the nachos is a no-brainer. I like to use hint of lime tortilla chips in almost any situation where tortilla chips are involved, so it is highly recommended in this case! What’s also highly recommended is pineapple salsa— don’t fake like you didn’t know this was coming! I have a great pineapple salsa recipe that you can check out! Other toppings that I like to add are sour cream, cilantro, more lime or sliced avocados. Pretty much anything you would put on regular nachos you can put on these! 

I’m sure this isn’t this last time i will have a kalua pork recipe but I’d still love to know your thoughts! have you ever had kalua pig at a Hawaiian luau? Leave me a comment below!

Kalua Pork Nachos
Pulled Kalua Pork Nachos
Pulled Kalua Pork Nachos

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Pulled Kalua Pork Nachos
Slow cooked, Hawaiian inspired kalua pork on top of lime nachos with cheddar cheese and sweet pineapple salsa.
  • 3 - 4 lbs pork butt/shoulder roast
  • 1 - 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika or liquid smoke
  • 10 oz tortilla chips (hint of lime recommended)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 cup pineapple salsa
  • 1/4 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • sour cream, lime, cilantro or avocado for extra garnish (optional)
  • Trim as much fat from outside of roast as possible then cut into four large chunks. Season the meat with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika or liquid smoke.
  • Place meat in slow cooker and cook on Low for 6-9 hours, until meat is very tender and falls apart when poked with a fork. Drain fat from meat and shred with a fork.
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch baking sheet with a generous layer of tortilla chips. Spread pulled pork evenly over chips. Follow with shredded cheese. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes to melt cheese.
  • Remove nachos from oven and top with shredded cabbage and pineapple salsa. Serve with sour cream, lime, cilantro and avocado.
  • Details
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8 servings
    Skill Level: Easy


    • As the pork cooks, it will shrink in size by 30%. Follow the guide below for appropriate yield:

      • 10 lb roast: 6 lbs cooked, 18 servings.

      • 6 lb roast: 3.5 lbs cooked, 10 servings

      • 3 lb roast: 2 lbs cooked, 6 servings

    • Always drain fat after slow cooking pork. Remove pork from heat once fat is drained and shredded to prevent pork from drying out.

    • Use smoked paprika for a milder smokey flavor and liquid smoke for a bolder smokey flavor.