Saturday, September 24, 2011

Crockpot Kalua Pig

Kalua (not to be confused with kahlua liqueur) pig is probably one of the most delicious methods of eating pork. Mainly because its flavor is a more pure pork flavor and not masked by barbecue sauces and other flavors commonly used elsewhere. Traditional kalua pig is cooked in an underground oven called an imu. The pit is mostly lined with wood, rocks and banana leaves, the pig rubbed with salt and wrapped in additional vegetation, and covered by sand or dirt and left to cook for 7 hours (or overnight). The pork obtains a smoky flavor and it is extremely tender.

Because of this long, difficult process of cooking traditional kalua pig, and the lack of two strong, handsome Hawaiian men (pictured below) to do the heavy lifting of an entire pig, other methods have been created to mimic the flavor of kalua pig.

One of those methods is using a crockpot. All you need (in addition to a large crockpot) is:

4 lb. pork butt roast
1 Tbsp. Hawaiian sea salt (or 1 ½ Tbsp. other sea salt)
1 Tbsp. liquid smoke flavoring (hickory flavor will work)

Poke holes all over the pork with a carving fork. Rub the salt and then the liquid smoke all over. If possible, also try to get the salt/liquid smoke into the holes made in the pork.

Put the roast (fat side up) in the crockpot on low heat for about 14-16 hours. Turn once or twice during cooking process. (If the pork falls apart while attempting to turn it, it's okay! It's just super tender and moist. Just try not to salivate into the crockpot.)

When done cooking, shred the pork, remove fat, bone, and other unwanted pieces, and serve.

** It may not take the whole 14 hours to cook. Just keep an eye on the pork and when the meat is completely cooked (no pink), you can take it out or put it on the "keep warm" setting.

My husband and I like to eat our kalua pig in different ways. I prefer eating it with other traditional Hawaiian foods like laulau and lomi-lomi. However, living on the mainland, I don't have access to the ingredients to make a luau-style dinner complete. So instead I settle for Kalua Pig & Cabbage with white rice.

My husband, being nervous when it comes to eating his vegetables, prefers eating his kalua pig with Portuguese (or Hawaiian) sweet bread rolls, as sliders.

However you choose to eat your kalua pig, I hope you enjoy it!

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