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Kalua Pork

You could make this flavorful Hawaiian-inspired dish in a slow cooker, but my pressure-cooker version will get you a giant pile of smoky, fork-tender pork in a fraction of the time. It’s delicious as is — or you can crisp it up and make carnitas, add it to a frittata, or make tacos with it. 
Michelle Tam's Kalua Pork recipe
  • Makes 8 servings
  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Cook Time About 2 hours


  • 3 bacon slices
  • 1 bone-in, 5-lb. pork shoulder roast
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 tbs. coarse Hawaiian red sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 cup water


Place the bacon in the bottom of the pressure cooker and fry over medium heat. (If using an electric pressure cooker, use the Sauté setting.) Flip the bacon when the first side crisps up. Turn off the heat when the bacon is browned on both sides.
Slice the pork roast into three equal pieces. (Tip: Cut out the piece with the bone first, and then cut the two other pieces to match the first.) Stab a couple of slits in each piece of pork with a knife, and tuck the garlic cloves into the slits.
Sprinkle the salt evenly over the pork, and place the salted pork on top of the bacon in the pressure cooker, keeping the pork pieces in a single layer.
Pour in the water. (Check your pressure cooker’s manual to see what the minimum amount of liquid is for your particular model, and adjust accordingly.)
If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, cook on high heat until high pressure is reached. Then, reduce the heat to low and maintain high pressure for about 75 minutes. If you’re using an electric cooker, simply program it for 90 minutes.
Remove the stovetop cooker from heat or turn off the electric cooker. Let the pressure release; this will take about 15 minutes.
Once the cooker is depressurized, check that the pork is fork-tender. If it is not, you can cook it under pressure for another five to 10 minutes to get it right. Shred with a fork and serve warm.

Photography by: Henry Fong

This recipe has been excerpted from “Nom Nom Paleo” that originally appeared in the January/February 2016 issue of Experience Life.

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Michelle Tam

Michelle Tam is an award-winning food blogger at who also has a Webby Award–winning Nom Nom Paleo cooking app available for iPhone and iPad. Her cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, is a New York Times bestseller.


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