International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Pua'a Kālua - Kalua Pork

Hawaiian kalua roast pork

(American Hawaiian roast pork)

Image Creative Commons by Gregg Tavares

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Average: 4 (12 votes)

Kalua pork, or pua'a kālua, is a traditional Hawaiian lu'au dish. It is ideally made with a whole pig in a pit, or imu, where it roasts slowly all day, acquiring a deep, smoky flavor. This recipe lets you to make kalua pork easily at home without having to dig a hole in your backyard.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Pork butt -- 4 pounds
  • Kosher, sea or Hawaiian salt -- 2 tablespoons
  • Liquid smoke seasoning -- 2 tablespoons
  • Ti or banana leaves (optional), ribs removed -- 1 or 2

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut slits about 1/2 inch deep all around the pork butt. Rub the salt and liquid smoke all over the pork, making sure to get it inside the slits as well.
  2. Wrap the roast up in ti or banana leaves if you have them. Do this as if you were making a burrito with the roast as the filling and the leaves as the tortilla. Tie with string to hold the leaves tight and then wrap the whole roast again tightly with aluminum foil. If you don't have access to ti or banana leaves just wrap the roast with a couple layers of foil.
  3. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan and place it into the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 275ºF and roast for another 4 to 6 hours.
  4. Remove the roast from the oven and set it aside to rest for at least 15 minutes. Remove the foil and leaves from the roast, taking care not to lose any of the juices. When the roast is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with your fingers. Add back any reserved roasting juices, adjust seasoning and serve.

Kalua Pork Notes

  • Cooking food wrapped in ti leaves is common in Polynesian cuisine. Ti leaves can be obtained from florists (make sure they are pesticide-free) or from your own home if you own a ti houseplant. Otherwise, use banana leaves or just plain foil.

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