KALUA PORK! The word “Kalua”, is a Hawaiian term, which means “to cook in an Imu or underground oven.” Often served as the main attraction for Hawaiian Luaus, Kalua pork is wrapped in banana and Ti leaves, and cooked until the succulent meat starts falling apart. The pork meat is shredded and mixed with it’s juices to flavor the entire dish. Today, with modern advances, we’re able to create that same flavor in our very own kitchen, minus the banana and Ti leaves of course. You could add a sheet of banana leaves to the top of the meat, prior to wrapping it, since most Asian markets have them readily available. Just make sure to wash and scald the leave over a hot flame before doing so.
1 (8 1/2 lb.) Pork or Boston Butt (It’s not really the butt of the pork, lol 😉 )
1 Tbsp. Salt (you will need to adjust after cooking time)
2 tsp. Garlic powder
2 tsp. Onion powder
2 tsp. ground Black pepper
2 tsp. Accent
6 – 8 Tbsp. Liquid smoke (I prefer the Mesquite flavor, but you could also use Hickory)
Start by combining the seasoning in a small bowl; mix well. Set this aside.
Line the inner well of your crock pot or slow cooker with aluminum foil. I usually tear off 4 large pieces and lay 2 pieces crisscrossed in the well, conforming the foil to the bottom and sides of the inner well; then crisscross the other two doing the same thing.
Rinse the pork and dry. Sprinkle GENEROUSLY, the seasoning mix you prepared earlier, covering all sides of the pork.
Place the seasoned pork into the foil lined crock pot, fat side up!
Now, shake the bottle of liquid smoke before opening it, this loosens up the flavorings settled at the bottom. I use this brand because this is what my area grocery stores carry. Use whatever brand of liquid smoke you prefer. I like the “mesquite” with this recipe. Add this to the pork, NOTE: I’ve used the whole bottle several times just because I wanted a “smokier” flavored meat, but that’s up to you.
Now wrap the meat up with the foil. I usually wrap each foil end with this partner as pictured, and continue with the other foil pieces. Make sure to wrap each end TIGHTLY!
Cover with the lid and allow this to cook for 8 – 10 hours on the LOW cycle. I usually cook mine right before I go to bed and then wake up to the most amazing aroma permeating the whole house.
Once the cooking time is up, carefully unravel the foil, being cautious of the steam! Using a the tines of 2 forks, shred the meat, remove the bone and discard. Using a large spoon, allow the meat to combine with the juices in the crock pot. Taste and add more salt, which will probably be needed. If you’d like more smoke flavor, add that too. Stir to combine well in the juices, wrap once again and allow to cook on HIGH for about 1 more. Serve as you would pulled pork, with some BBQ sauce and on hamburger buns OR like we islanders do, with some hot rice and fina’denne’ sauce. The leftovers can also be made into Kalua Pork Cabbage stir fry. You possibilities are endless with this recipe. ENJOY!
NOTE: When using smaller cuts of pork, you will need to scale back on the seasonings and cut the cooking time as well. I used a 7 quart oval crock pot to cook this 8 1/2 pound pork butt.