BBQ Kalua Pork Sliders (in the Instant Pot)

(08) Yummy Kalua BBQ Sliders

Aside from the initial water test the makers of the Instant Pot suggest you do before you dive in, the Kahlua Pork is my first Instant Pot creation.  Nom Nom Paleo’s Pressure Cooker Kalua Pig recipe was hands down the most replicated and praised Instant Pot recipe I found. I figured that I couldn’t do wrong with this no-fail recipe.  She added cabbage to pair with her kahula pig, but there was no way my picky husband would approve.

During our last trip to Trader Joe’s I picked up their Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce. We already had Louis Mueller’s Sweet & Tangy Mustard BBQ sauce from our previous attempts to find a yummy mustard-based sauce. And I knew my husband would enjoy a BBQ pulled pork showdown for his dinner.

If you haven’t gotten on the Instant Pot band wagon I highly suggest that you do sooner rather than later. Don’t be like me and admire it from afar. You can order the Instant Pot from Amazon and it’s a Prime item so you’ll get it in 2-days!

I gathered our ingredients of bacon, pork loin, garlic, and Alaea red sea salt.  I was able to find the Alaea red sea salt at our local grocery store but you can also find it on Amazon. Here’s a brand I’ve bought before while I was working in Hawaii: Alaea Hawaiian sea salt.

(01) Ingredients

The first step is to cook your bacon in the Instant Pot. You’ll first place your bacon in the pot and select the “saute” function. You’ll hear the sizzling and know that you need to start flipping.

(02) Saute Bacon

While your bacon is sizzling in the Instant Pot, you’ll slice you pork into 3-4 even pieces. I ended up with 4 slices. CostCo folded the pork loin in half and it just made sense to cut it in half and then half the two halves.

(03) Slight Pork

I found this step really important, especially if you love garlic. Peel your garlic so that you have about 7-10 whole cloves. You’ll pierce the pork  to make several slits deep enough so that you can place a clove into each slit. You can really taste the garlic without it overpowering the pork. With salt as the only other seasoning (if you don’t count the BBQ sauce) the garlic gives it more flavor.

Don’t forget to flip the bacon.

(04) Insert garlic cloves

You’ll really need to measure the salt. Pressure cookers will concentrate the flavors and you don’t want to turn your tender pork loin into a salt pork. Per Nom Nom Paleo’s site she uses Judy Rodger’s rule of thumb of use ¾ teaspoon of medium-coarse salt for every 1 pound of meat. If you are using a fine salt then halve the amount of salt used.

(05) Rub the sea salt

By this time the bacon should be nice and browned. Give it more time to brown before adding the pork. You’ll place the pork in a single layer over the bacon. You’ll then add 1 cup of water. I tried to fill the empty spots with the water so I wouldn’t wash off the salt.

Cover and lock the lid.

Select “Manual” mode and press the “+” button until it reads 90 minutes. Also make sure your top knob is set to “Seal” and not “Vent”. Now you can go about your business like you would a slow cooker but you don’t have to wait 8 to 10 hours.

(06) Add the pork to IP

I left and picked up my daughter from school and the pork loin was done. It was in the “Keep Warm” mode for 20 minutes and was safe for me to open the lid. The smell was amazing and the pork with tender and salty. I could taste hints of bacon and I wanted to eat it all.

You can start shredding the pork with two forks and let it sit in the pot until ready to serve.

(06.5) Shred the pork

My husband was running late from work and you can see that the “Keep Warm” mode had been on for three and a half hours. And you know what? The meat was still tender and moist and absolutely delicious.

To make the sample sliders for my husband, I grabbed two small bowls and added about 1/3 cup of shredded pork into each bowl. I think poured (sorry I didn’t measure) about 2-3 tablespoons of sauce into each bowl. One bowl got the mustard BBQ sauce and the other the Sriracha BBQ sauce.

I grabbed two King’s Hawaiian rolls, sliced them in half,  and added the pork. Don’t they look amazing!?!? These would be great for parties pre-sauced.  I bet you’re wondering which one won the picky husband challenge! My husband loves mustard and the easy bet would have been the Mueller’s sauce but Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ sauce won hands down. It was a combination of sweet and spicy.

(07) Mustard or BBQ Sauce

If you are like me and trying to lose a few (or more pounds in my case) I wrapped the un-sauced shredded pork with romaine lettuce. I still got to eat the pulled pork but without the carbs. Gotta say it was still delicious!

Kalua

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 5 pound boneless pork loin roast
  • 7-10 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1½ tablespoons of Alaea Red Hawaiian Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls or whole Romaine lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. The first step is to cook your bacon in the Instant Pot. You’ll first place your bacon in the pot and select the “saute” function. You’ll hear the sizzling and know that you need to start flipping.
  2. While your bacon is sizzling in the Instant Pot, you’ll slice you pork into 3-4 even pieces.
  3. Peel your garlic so that you have about 7-10 whole cloves. You’ll pierce the pork  to make several slits deep enough so that you can place a clove into each slit.
  4. Flip the bacon!
  5. Salt the pork loin. (Make sure you don’t over salt the pork!!)
  6. By this time the bacon should be nice and browned. Give it more time to brown before adding the pork.
  7. Place the pork in a single layer over the bacon. You’ll then add 1 cup of water. I tried to fill the empty spots with the water so I wouldn’t wash off the salt.
  8. Cover and lock the lid.
  9. Select “Manual” mode and press the “+” button until it reads 90 minutes. Also make sure your top knob is set to “Seal” and not “Vent”. Now you can go about your business like you would a slow cooker but you don’t have to wait 8 to 10 hours.
  10. You can add your choice of BBQ sauce directly to the pot or if you want the pork to have different flavors divide the pork and sauce separately.
  11. For individual sliders, I added about 1/3 cup of sauced pork per roll. I tend to over-fill mine so 1/4 cup make work too. It was about 2-3 tablespoons of sauce per 1/3 cup of shredded pork.
  12. You can start shredding the pork with two forks and let it sit in the pot until ready to serve.
  13. Slice your King’s Hawaiian rolls in half and added the sauced pork.
  14. You can also skip saucing your pulled pork. It’s delicious on its own and even tasty wrapped in a large Romaine leaf.

Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo’s Pressure Cooker Kalua Pig

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5 thoughts on “BBQ Kalua Pork Sliders (in the Instant Pot)

  1. kate says:

    Interesting you used a loin roast. Most Kalua pig recipes I’ve seen use shoulder (pork butt). I wasn’t sure the meat would be too dry or become mealy with a loin which is much more lean. Thanks for sharing, yours looks great!

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