Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kalua Pork I

Joe and I often pine for some of the tasty Hawaiian foods we loved to eat while we lived on Oahu. One of our favorites is kalua pork but we have yet to find anything here on the mainland that comes even close to being as good as the stuff we could get at any L&L Drive Inn on the island. So I'm attempting to make it myself at home.

Traditional Kalua pork is prepared by slow roasting a whole pig in a pit in the ground filled with hot rocks and coals and then covered with banana and ti leaves and left to cook for hours. Obviously I'm scaling it down to a more crockpot-able size. This recipe is really simple but it takes 12-16 hours in the crock pot so plan ahead.

Kalua Pork
Serves: 4-6

3lb. pork shoulder (also called pork butt, bone-in or boneless both work fine)
1 1/2tsp. hawaiian sea salt
2tsp. liquid smoke

1. Use a fork to pierce the pork shoulder several times all over. Rub the salt then the liquid smoke on the meat. This helps the salt and smoke flavor seep into the piercings in the meat while it cooks, giving it more of an even flavor.
2. Place the pork in the crock pot. Cover, and let it cook on low for 12-16 hours, flipping it once during cook time.
3. An hour or two before serving the pork, use a spoon or fork to shred the meat so that it can simmer in its own fat and juice for awhile. This shouldn't require removing it from the crock pot. In fact, by this point it should be so tender that it just falls apart when you stir it around.

Helpful Tips

The difference between sea salt and regular table salt is that the grains are much courser. You can find sea salt (oh, and by the way, it doesn't have to be Hawaiian) in the spice/baking aisle of any ol' grocery store.

Liquid smoke may not be a familiar ingredient, so I included a picture to give an idea of what to look for. As I recall, it's usually located in the condiment aisle at the grocery store so just look for the bbq sauce and grilling ingredients and you should be able to find it.

Alright, so my kalua pork is crocking away right now but I won't know what level of success we've achieved until tomorrow at dinner time. I'll let you know then!

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