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Hawaiian Kalua Pork Recipe
MonarchBreakDown
sbroadway
Over the holidays, I ate at a Lantana, FL restaurant that specialized in seafood. My dad & I sat at the bar overlooking the open kitchen, and ate oysters & conversed with the kitchen staff all evening. Toward the end of the meal, the cook working the sautee station (who was also the proprietor) took out a large pan from the oven, a roast of some type covered in foil. He sliced off a few tasty bits, and gave them to us...it was Hawaiian-style Kalua pig, done with a whole fresh picnic ham. Seasoned only with salt and slow-roasted wrapped in a banana leaf, it was naturally sweet, juicy, and thoroughly infused with the very essence of "pork". I think I tried to make a similar type of recipe at home 2 years back, but I absolutely murdered the thing by braising it with pineapple in a slow cooker. Came out soupy, like a pot roast...gross! The kalua pork I had at that restaurant had a BEAUTIFUL browned exterior, and the meat still had texture.

Duh! Because whole roasted pig isn't braised! It's wrapped in leaves, lowered into the ground, covered with earth, and wet-roasted under a very constant heat. Here's my best guess of how to reproduce the same type of results.

Equipment:
- broiler pan
- cast-iron Dutch oven with lid, or other heavy, oven-worthy pot with fitting lid
- Banana leaves for wrapping (substitute with parchment paper). You can find them in an Asian grocery in the freezer...just thaw & rinse them before you use them.
- heavy-duty foil
- zip-top bag

Ingredients:
- 2.5 lbs Pork shoulder, cut into fist-sized chunks
- Salt (sea salt, esp. red Hawaiian, is preferable, but kosher salt is also ok)
- 1/2 tsp Liquid smoke (hickory is ok; mesquite is probably too weird)

Rub the pork with salt on all sides. Be quite liberal...1/2 tsp per fist-sized chunk? Allow the meat to sit out for 30 minutes so that the salt can denature the proteins on the surface of the meat.

Heat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Add the liquid smoke and pork to a zip-top bag, and shake to coat. It may seem like a small amount, but it will go a long way, and you won't really be able to taste anything overtly "smoky" in the end result.

Lay meat on the "grill" top of a broiler pan (you may want to line the bottom with foil to make cleanup easier). Roast the meat at 500 for 10 minutes. Carefully rotate each pork chunk, and brown again for 10 minutes. Make sure the chunks are browned evenly by the high oven heat before proceeding. You may find the broiler more effective at this, but be warned that the pork fat will melt off and start to burn & smoke.

Lower the oven to 325 degrees F, and remove the pork from the oven.

Wrap the pork in banana leaves or parchment (don't wrap individually; just wrap up all the chunks together). Tightly wrap that bundle in 2 layers of heavy-duty foil so that it is sealed. Place the foil pack into the dutch oven; cover with lid and roast for 2.5-3 hours on 325.

Remove from the oven. Drain meat, and coarsely shred into chunks.

This can be served with rice, macaroni salad, grilled pineapple, etc. However, if it were my restaurant, I'd serve it pulled-pork style on a butter-toasted sweet Hawaiian roll topped with vinegar-based cabbage slaw and a grilled Maui onion slice. But I'm weird like that.
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  • 1
This sounds amazingly easy and incredibly delicious .

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