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Kalua Pork
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 09, 2006
Posts: 158
From: Hula-ifornia
Posted: 2007-02-12 08:43 am   Permalink

...I'll add that I tend to add more liquid smoke, fresh ginger and even a small amount of honey to the more original recipe... then wrap it in banana leaves I get from the Asian market near where I live, slow cook it in the oven... yum!

[ This Message was edited by: Blowfish 2007-02-12 08:43 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 31, 2003
Posts: 474
From: los angeles
Posted: 2007-02-13 2:53 pm   Permalink

All these recipes and variations sound really yummy, you know! I just wanted to say.

Also, I know that definitions of these terms and recipe names vary greatly from region to region and even household to household. Growing up with a lot of Hawaiians in the family, I had the general understanding that "kalua pig" referred to when the whole animal was cooked, traditionally in the imu, and "kalua pork" referred to a smaller version of the recipe with only a section or two, and generally cooked in your kitchen oven.

When I was a kid I was told this was a very high-end dish, "fit for royalty," and a person must be living the good life if they're eating it.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 16, 2006
Posts: 67
From: Baltimore
Posted: 2007-07-11 09:17 am   Permalink


On 2007-02-04 14:10, Cammo wrote:
Salt is salt. Don't sweat the details, V.

I whole heartily disagree with this statement. There are considerable differences in salt flavors, textures, and the various layers they can add to a dish. When I make Pua 'a Kalua, or any other dish for that matter, I take the salt into consideration. I have found that sea salt is perhaps the best choice. Avoid Kosher salt (Yellow of Prussiate is often added) and never use table salt! If you really want to up the ante, you can use Fleur de Sel from France... the best salt in the world as far as taste and mouth feel. There are some Hawaiian salts out there, various hues and textures, but for my money... I just use Trader Joe's Sea Salt. Good, clean, nice texture, and cheap.

I'll see if I can dig up my recipe for Pua 'a Kalua, I'm still unpacking from the move (almost a year now).

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Tiki Kaimuki
Grand Member (4 years)  

Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 832
From: OAKLAND, baby
Posted: 2007-07-11 2:59 pm   Permalink

Okay, I don't know what all that sweet stuff was from the first recipe, but forget it! First thing you need is a nice pork butt-fattier than the shoulder, but a fatty shoulder could do. The fat is important as it bastes the meat and provides juice to let the shredded kalua(the only spelling if you're talking Hawaiian pork)swim in.
Next, Hawaiian salt, kosher salt, etc...I haven't noticed the type of salt making a big difference in all the butts I've roasted, but if you have HI salt then use it. Lastly, liquid smoke(I've always used Wright's Hickory) mixed with a little water.
I've tried the oven bag and had very mixed results. Tightly wrapped foil always works. After shredding, you might want to add some more liquid smoke or salt to taste. Great, now I am starving!


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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 20, 2006
Posts: 11
Posted: 2007-07-13 9:39 pm   Permalink

I found a great recipe that I have used twice, and got great results both times. You can find it at www.melindalee.com go to recipe archives and search for Hawaiian Kalua Pig in the oven. It is a very simple recipe that basically calls for the pork, Hawaiian salt and liquid smoke. The secret it that the pork roast is wrapped in banana or ti leaves (just like at a Luau) it imparts the flavor that most recipes miss. I live in so cal, so banana leaves are very easy to find at Mexican markets - you might also find them at Asian markets or have your florist get you Ti leaves (no pesticides!) The recipes that call for all that sweet stuff are probably yummy, but they are not traditional Kalua pork. Have fun!!

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Joined: Jul 14, 2006
Posts: 3
Posted: 2007-07-19 1:33 pm   Permalink


On 2007-02-04 06:37, Cammo wrote:
You can serve a large party with this stuff.

with the recipe you mention- what is that total for a large party 20-25??

[ This Message was edited by: Capt_Biggins 2007-07-19 13:34 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5322
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-08-16 1:25 pm   Permalink

I just came across this nice step by step methoc for cooking kalua pig. If you have a banana tree you can cut down, it'll make it all a lot easier. Makes me tempted to try.


[ This Message was edited by: swanky 2007-08-17 05:48 ]

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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 3074
From: Columbus, Ohiya
Posted: 2007-08-16 1:31 pm   Permalink

linky no worky

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5322
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2007-08-17 05:49 am   Permalink

Linky fixey

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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 3074
From: Columbus, Ohiya
Posted: 2007-08-17 06:24 am   Permalink

thanky swanky

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2478
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2018-05-31 12:40 pm   Permalink

I spotted another crock pot Kalua Pork recipe posted on Taste.com 10 days ago with some nice photos. I pasted it here with photos. This might not be as good as the previous recipe posted here (no banana leaves, etc.) but for those who might be in the middle of winter and can't get those items, this may work fine in the interim. I'm going to try this at some point soon and will post comments here.


On the Hawaiian island of Kauai, cooking a 300-pound sow involves forklifts, lava stones, and a lot of patience.

Smoke billows from a large dirt patch in Kimo’s backyard, loading the air with a woodsy scent. No fence or trees shelter his plot. This is the hot, dry side of Kauai—near the city of Eleele—and the midday sun blasts the ground. A mound of dirt shelters a pit, its interior stuffed with steaming lava stones that hiss and mesquite logs (kiawe) that sputter.

This underground oven is called an imu, and food that’s cooked in one is called kalua. About 1,500 years ago, Hawaiians used an imu to cook suckling pigs, chickens, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, and taro.

Today, mature hogs are typically cooked in an imu for nightly luaus at the few resorts that dot the island. And even though most Hawaiian residents don’t have an imu pit in their backyard, kalua pig is as natural to Hawaii as rainbows and waterfalls. It’s listed on many restaurant menus and stocked in the grocery store’s frozen section.

Kimo’s catering business is old-school and informal. He doesn’t advertise, and there’s no website or social media. Locals either know him or use the “coconut wireless” to find him (Hawaii’s favorite word-of-mouth method of communication). For nearly 20 years, he’s cooked kalua pig for celebrations such as graduations, weddings, and anniversaries. On this sunny afternoon, he will kalua two 300-pound sows from a local named Val. Her family runs a pig farm on the south shore, and she’s gifting her clients with gallon-size bags of kalua pig.

Kimo’s imu is about 12 feet in diameter, four feet deep, and lined with puka rocks the size of basketballs. “Puka” means hole, and the lava rocks Kimo has collected are naturally full of them, which prevents trapped steam from building pressure and exploding. A fire was built on top of them eight hours earlier, with smaller rocks stacked between the wood.

Whack! A guy splits banana tree trunks with an ax. They’ll be added to the fire for moisture and flavor. Eight men cluster around two metal tables. The freshly slaughtered sows stretch between them. Two men singe hair along the pigs’ bodies, filling the air with a bitter smell. Afterward, they use a sharp chef’s knife to shave the burnt hair from the skin until it’s as bald as a baby’s head. Kimo slices the bellies open, reaches inside and scoops out the guts, then gives the carcasses a thorough rinse.

On a January evening in 1778, Captain James Cook docked along the Waimea River on Kauai. He and his crew were the first Europeans to meet a thriving community of native Hawaiians. The island was divided into six neighborhoods, called moku, and each moku contained subdivisions called ahupua’a (pronounced ah-hoo-poo-ah-AH). Each ahupua’a, 67 in all, began as a point at the top of a mountain, then fanned into a base along the shore. Altars (ahu) made with the head of a pig (pua’a) marked boundaries.

At Kimo’s, the pigs’ heads are not used to divide property lines, but reserved for soup. Legs, sides, and shoulders are scored deep, and joints are cut so they’ll lay flat in huge metal baskets. A thick layer of sea salt, from the town of Hanapepe, just seven miles up the highway, is spread across the ribs and pushed into gashes.

The pigs are moved to the shade, where a young woman stands over them, fanning flies with a single ti leaf. Men line the baskets with tinfoil and banana leaves and put pig parts inside. With large metal tongs, Kimo pulls small, steaming rocks from the pit and puts them into each seasoned body cavity. Guys drape banana leaves across, then tuck the pigs in with a final layer of tinfoil.

Someone tosses two-foot lengths of banana-tree trunks into the pit, which land with a thud and a sizzle.

Kimo climbs into a forklift—before forklifts, an imu was generally reserved for cooking smaller food items, like breadfruit, sweet potatoes, and chicken—and lowers the baskets onto the coals, rocks and steaming banana trunks. Men surround the pit and cover the baskets with a wet canvas tarp, then top that with a thick plastic tarp. Dirt is shoveled around the edges and the plastic tarp inflates with hot air until it resembles a clear dome. The pigs are left like this to cook overnight.

As Kimo and his men unearth the baskets, morning sun crests the Pacific Ocean. Women circle two plastic tables, peeling tinfoil and banana leaves from limp carcasses. Steam carries the scent of roasted meat into the air. The flesh wiggles and jiggles as long strands of ropy meat are separated from fat, bones, and skin. The essence of banana mingles with salt, rendered pork fat, and smoky meat—the signature flavors of kalua pig.

5 pounds pork shoulder
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
½ cup water

Since most Hawaiians don’t have an imu in their backyard, they make kalua pig in a crockpot. To offset the pork’s salty, rich and smoky flavors, locals typically serve it with steamed white rice, boiled green cabbage and poi.

Cover a crockpot insert with a thin layer of cooking spray. Combine the water and liquid smoke and pour into the crockpot. Rinse the pork and place it inside. Rub salt all over. Secure lid and cook on low for 7 hours. Turn the crockpot off and let the pork rest for 1 hour.
Place a cutting board near the crockpot and carefully remove the pork, setting it in the center of the cutting board. Use two forks to shred the meat and remove the fat. Toss the shredded meat into the crockpot with the leftover cooking juices and serve.

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