In the week ahead, I'll be posting recipes that will allow you to re-create your own Hawaiian lu'au experience at home. No, hula dancers and leis are not included, however, you will be able to impress your spouse, your significant other, or your friends by providing them with an authentic (well, almost) Hawaiian feast.
When feasible, the recipes provided will be tailored to serve two people for a romantic evening under the stars, or an afternoon picnic at the beach. Recipes can be increased incrementally to suit the number of people that you are trying to feed, and if you need help, just ask. I hope you enjoy the series.
This particular post is being done in conjunction with Kirk at mmm-yoso!!!. He is a displaced Islander who currently resides in San Diego, California. Read his post, including detailed photos and instructions, here.
Kalua pig is one of the mainstays of a traditional Hawaiian lu'au. Cooking of the pig is traditionally done in an underground pit called an imu. A pig is normally cleaned and gutted, then filled with hot lava rocks before being wrapped with ti leaves (or banana leaves) and lowered into an imu to cook. Since many of us don't have the luxury of cooking a pig for an entire day in a pit dug into our backyards, the following recipe will provide you with a similar flavor.
Kalua pig (makes approximately 6 servings)
3 pound pork butt* (well marbled)
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke*
Hawaiian salt*, to taste
6-8 ti leaves*, ribs removed
- You may also choose another cut of pork if desired. For a healthier version, use tenderloin.
- I use Wright's® Liquid Smoke. Use mesquite for a milder flavor, or hickory for a more smokey flavor.
- If Hawaiian salt is not available, use kosher or rock salt. I normally start with about 2 tablespoons.
- Banana leaves may be substituted if ti leaves are not available.
Preheat oven to 325º F.
Trim visible fat from the pork butt, then score the meat on all sides. Rub with Hawaiian salt, then with one tablespoon liquid smoke. Wrap the pork butt with ti leaves, or banana leaves, then tie with cooking twine to secure.
Place wrapped pork into a roasting pan, then add two cups water. Add some Hawaiian salt and 1/2 tablespoon of liquid smoke to the water, then cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170º F.
Remove the leaves, then shred the pork, allowing it sit in the pan juices for approximately 15 minutes prior to serving.
Use the above instructions if you want to cook the pork using your oven. On this particular occasion, my kalua pig was cooked in a crock pot. To cook using your crock pot use the following instructions: Place the wrapped pork in a crock pot, add about an inch of water and cook on low while you're at work (at least 8 hours). Come home, remove leaves, shred pork and eat. Now isn't that easy?
The left over kalua pig can be used in sandwiches, or stir-fried with cabbage and a little shoyu to create another Island favorite -- kalua pig with cabbage.
To be continued...