This Hawaiian pulled pork recipe, also called Kalua Pork, comes from our good friend Michelle Pagan, whose father prepared it for her as a child on the Big Island.
A traditional kalua pig is made in an imu pit, which is popular during large home gatherings and at luaus. This recipe is adapted for home use. Michelle often makes this in a crock pot by placing the roast in the cooker on low for about 16 hours.
Serve the pulled pork on a bed of poi topped with diced tomatoes and green onions; inside a Taro roll with coleslaw and barbecue sauce, or inside a cheese quesadilla with a side of pineapple or mango salsa.
Hawaiians also enjoy kalua pig and cabbage, which is made by sauteing the shredded beef with fresh cut cabbage — or even sauerkraut.
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- 3 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt roast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2-4 tablespoons Hawaiian alaea sea salt or kosher salt
- 4-6 banana leaves rinsed
- 2-4 tablespoons Mesquite-flavored liquid smoke
- Preheat oven to 400
- Rinse banana leaves and pat dry.
- Remove netting from pork butt and discard.
- Coat entire roast with about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
- Season the pork with about 2 tablespoons of the Hawaiian sea salt, working it into all the crevices on both sides. You can cut slits into the meat to penetrate more deeply if you prefer.
- Next do the same with the liquid smoke, coating with about 2 tablespoons, or more to your taste.
- Over a cooking flame, soften banana leaves on both sides until they turn shiny and pop slightly. This just makes them more pliable.
- In a large roasting pan, place a nice long strip of aluminum foil (enough to wrap the roast). Place the banana leaves in strips on the bottom and wrap the roast. Place more banana leaves on top, tucking underneath the roast. Wrap very well and securely with the foil and tighten both ends.
- Place in the oven at 400 F until the internal temperature reaches 160 F, about 20-25 minutes per pound of meat.
- When the roast is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest and cool for a few minutes. Be sure to save the pan drippings when you open the foil.
- Pull pork apart with your fingers into a mixing bowl, then pour the pan drippings on top. Taste, and then season to your personal taste with more Hawaiian salt and liquid smoke.
Make this in a crock pot by placing the roast in the slow cooker on low for about 16 hours. You can buy Hawaiian sea salt, Taro root and banana leaves for this kalua pork at Whole Foods Market, or other specialty grocers. Banana leaves are also available at Asian and Latin markets.