Crew Mess: Kalua Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Oct 10, 2016 by Capt. John Wampler

Early in my maritime career, I served as an engineer in the U.S. Coast Guard. One of my duty stations was aboard a 378-foot cutter based in Honolulu. We would spend three months patrolling the fishing grounds in Alaska from Ketchikan to Kodiak along the Aleutian chain and north in the Bering Sea as far north as St. Lawrence Island. It was a shock to leave the warm, clear waters of Hawaii for the frigid north.

Being homeported in Hawaii certainly had its advantages. Besides the beaches, excellent diving and surfing, I always enjoyed the Hawaiian culture, the music and, oh, the food. I made it a point to attend as many hukilau or luau as I could. This month, I am slow roasting pork tenderloin with island flair.


  • 1 (1 1/4 oz.) dry packet teriyaki marinade
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 3 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1 (6 oz.) can pineapple juice
  • 1 medium onion, chopped big
  • 2 carrots, chopped big
  • 1 package Kings Hawaiian rolls

In small bowl, combine teriyaki mix, paprika and pepper to make a dry rub for the tenderloin. Coat the pork with rub mixture, patting until all rub is used. Set aside.

Kailua Pulled Pork Sandwich. Photo by Capt. John Wampler

Kailua Pulled Pork Sandwich. Photo by Capt. John Wampler

In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili sauce and pineapple juice. Set aside.

Put the chopped onions and carrots in the bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker. Place the pork on top of the vegetables and pour half of the liquid mixture over pork. Reserve the remainder for the Hawaiian sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. When done, the meat will fall apart easily. Discard the liquid in the slow cooker.

Hawaiian Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, chopped

In a medium skillet, bring the oil to a medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining liquid mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.  


Remove the roast from the slow cooker to a cutting board. Using two forks, carefully pull the meat into shreds.

Serve the pork, with grilled pineapple garnish, on rolls. Drizzle the Hawaiian sauce on top or serve on the side for dipping.


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