Kalua Pork

Posted by on March 30, 2010 in Blog, Family Favorites, Pork | 0 comments

 

For the longest time I avoided kalua pork because it didn’t look appetizing.

Never ‘judge a book by it’s cover!’

With some encouragement, I finally took my first bite of  kalua pork while on a trip to Hawaii at a luau.  I was hooked!

After that, I only ate kalua pork when I was in Hawaii.  Then I discovered that it wasn’t half bad, in fact pretty darned good at The Loft and King’s Hawaiian Bakery (Hawaiian restaurants in Torrance).

When I moved to Orange County I would order kalua pork take-out at L & L or Ono Hawaiian BBQ, but it doesn’t come close to my friend “Pepee’s” kalua pork.

Pepee, who is a childhood friend, former college roommate, and former bridesmaid, makes kalua pork that is 100 times better than that which is served in restaurants. Pepee made kalua pork for a potluck birthday gathering last August 2009 and it was so delicious.  Moist, savory, smokey and tender!  It was the talk of the party.

Bebe Dada asked me if I ate some of the kalua pork at the party because it was “REALLY good.”  I told him that I had, and that Pepee made it in the slow cooker.  I told him that I already asked her for the recipe and that I would make it for us at home.

Since then, I’ve made kalua pork at home in my trusted slow cooker numerous times.  It is SO easy to make, and so delicious.

I saved some of the leftovers in the freezer for kalua pork sandwich night.  :)  It keeps well in the freezer, especially if you use a FoodSaver and vacuum-seal it.

My family loved this so much that I am thinking about having a Hawaiian-themed lunch party, just so that I can make this kalua pork again.

Maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to showcase Pepee’s kalua pork in front of an “audience”.  In some ways, it will be a great way for us to celebrate our Hawaiian roots.  Well, neither Bebe Dada nor I are what you call Native Hawaiians, but because my paternal great grandmother was born in Hawaii, and Bebe Dada’s mom was born on the Big Island we (kinda) have an island connection.

Pepee’s Kalua Pork

  • 6 pound pork butt (or shoulder)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, Mesquite flavor
  • 1/4 head of cabbage
  • Water

1. Place pork butt in the slow cooker fat side up.  Cover with Hawaiian rock salt, and drizzle liquid smoke over meat.

2. I pour just enough water into the slow cooker so that it just covers the bottom of the pan, less than a quarter-inch of water.  Make sure you don’t pour the water on the meat, just around it on the sides.

3. Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low setting.

4. Shred pork using 2 forks.

5. Cut cabbage into large square pieces.  Boil for 5-7 minutes until tender.

6. Line serving dish with boiled cabbage and top with shredded kalua pork.

About the Salt: It just so happens that the rock salt that I like to buy is Hawaiian rock salt, purchased from Marukai.  I always use this on edamame or in our salt grinder.  When I first saw Pepee’s recipe I thought, “hey, I keep Hawaiian salt in the pantry!”  If you don’t have any on hand, don’t worry!  Any rock salt will do.

About the Liquid Smoke: The key to Pepee’s awesome kalua pork flavor is Wright’s Mesquite Seasoning Liquid Smoke.  Ok, it doesn’t have to be Wright’s brand, but it MUST be mesquite.  Another girlfriend of ours makes this same kalua pork using Pepee’s recipe, but she doesn’t use mesquite smoke flavor and the pork is just not the same!  So whatever you do, go with mesquite.

About the Pork: I bought two 3-pound pork butt cuts at H-Mart, a local Korean market.  They have the best prices on beef and pork in my neighborhood.

I was confused at first about pork butt.  Haha –  that actually sounds funny when I write it down.  Ok, anyway, pork butt is the equivalent of pork shoulder.  Pork butt is a part of the shoulder cut.  Meat from the shoulder is relatively fatty, which makes for succulent, tender, tasty roasts.

Pepee told me that I could use a 3-pound pork butt for the above ingredient measurements, but I doubled the meat because I like leftovers and keeping it in the freezer is good for a quick meal.

In one experiment I doubled the salt and liquid smoke flavor but it was too salty and smokey for my family’s palate, so I scaled back.

Cooking Tips:

♥ The night before I’m going to serve the kalua pork, I usually throw the meat into the slow cooker right before I go to bed.

♥ The next day, I use two forks to shred the meat. Trust me, forks are the easiest way to shred the meat.

♥ I used to take the meat out of the pot and shred it, but I just do it right in the slow cooker.  It’s less messy and there’s no clean-up.

♥ Let the shredded pork soak in it’s juices as the slow cooker stays in warming mode.

♥ Just before serving, make the cabbage.

Pepee’s kalua pork is ONO good!

Aloha,

Judy | Bebe Mama

Kalua Pork
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
 
Ingredients
  • 6 pound pork butt (or shoulder)
  • 1½ tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, Mesquite flavor
  • ¼ head of cabbage
  • Water
Instructions
  1. Place pork butt in the slow cooker fat side up.  Cover with Hawaiian rock salt, and drizzle liquid smoke over meat.
  2. I pour just enough water into the slow cooker so that it just covers the bottom of the pan, less than a quarter-inch of water.  Make sure you don't pour the water on the meat, just around it on the sides.
  3. Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low setting.
  4. Shred pork using 2 forks.
  5. Cut cabbage into large square pieces.  Boil for 5-7 minutes until tender.
  6. Line serving dish with boiled cabbage and top with shredded kalua pork.

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