Kalua pig is a whole pig that is smoked and traditionally cooked in an underground imu. According to this, the history of Kalua Pig goes back to the 1900's. The ancient Hawaiians would dig a huge pit and prepare it for cooking whatever they wanted - usually pigs, chickens, fish, or vegetables. Kalua pig is notably known at luaus.
Over the years, the process of cooking kalua pig has been modernized. It can now be cooked in the oven or it can be cooked in a crock pot - I have done it both ways. Today I decided to up how I cook it in crock pot and let it cook the entire day. I used some ti leaves to help with the cooking process, if you don't have it, heavy duty tin foil will work just as well. Here's what how I did it =
I have a ti leaf plant from Hawaii growing in a pot in my living room. I cut some of the leaves so I could lay my piece of pork around it. Ti leaves are used often in Hawaiian cooking - it is used in place of tin foil.
To prep the leaves, a paring knife was used to cut out the hard stem in the center.
They were alternated on a piece of tin foil.
This is a two poundish piece of pork, and using my paring knife, I stuck it in the meat and twirled the knife to make a whole.
Several whole garlic cloves were stuffed in each hole.
Next, the whole pork was salt and peppered - top and bottom.
This is the back side.
Some Wright's Liquid Smoke was poured over the surface of the pork, letting it drip underneath.
The top of the pork was covered with more ti leaves, then secured close with the foil.
About a 1/4 cup of water was added to the crock.
Set the pork in . . .
set it to low, put the cover on, and walked away.
It was taken out about 8 hours later.
Meat comes right off with tongs.
The pork was placed in a medium baking dish and shredded with 2 forks, then set it aside.
Cabbage was sliced and put it in a pot.
Shredded pork along with some of the accumulated pan juices was added to a pot, and cooked it until the cabbage was tender.
I enjoyed mine with some cauliflower rice and potato salad that I had made.
Jim doesn't like his with cabbage, so I kept some of the meat aside for him. Dinner was very tasty and enjoyable, and there is enough left for us both to have a great lunch too.
Crock Pot Kalua Pig
Hawaiian style roasted pig cooked in a crock pot. *This could alternatively, be cooked in an oven if no crock pot is handy.
Boneless pork loin or shoulder
Salt/pepper - I use kosher salt
**Up to 2 tablespoons Liquid smoke
Whole garlic cloves
Up to 1/2 cup Water
- Take your pork, and using a paring knife, insert holes throughout the top surface of the pork - can insert holes on the sides too. - Insert 1 garlic clove for each hole made.- Salt and pepper the entire pork - top and bottom, and place on ti leaf or tin foil. - Add up to 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke - this depends on the size of your pork. Liquid smoke can be over powering, so you don't want to use a lot. - Wrap up the pork, place up to 1/2 cup of water in the your crock, insert pork and turn crock pot on low. - Let this cook for about 8 hours. - After cooking, place pork back in the crock or roasting pan, and shred with 2 forks.
- If cooking with cabbage, place sliced cabbage in a pot with pan juices and add shredded pork. Taste for seasoning and add more water if necessary - you don't want the dish to be dry, you want some juices to pour over your rice.
*If crock pot is not handy, place pork in a shallow roasting pan and place in a preheated 375 degree oven for 3 - 4 hours.
**Two tablespoons is about right for a 5 pound piece of pork.
I always welcome friendly critiques and comments or questions. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please feel free to leave a message here or email if you prefer. If you leave a message here, please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!