This Easy Hawaiian Kalua Pig takes the guesswork, and pit, out of the traditional Hawaiian smoked pig so you can make it at home in a couple of easy steps!
Dish Count :: 1 Dutch Oven
Everyone has re-entry issues after a nice vacation, right? I’m going back to work today and after 10 days off work, I’m sure today is going to be a rough one. It’s just a good thing I remembered to write down all the passwords to my computer at work and hide them so that when I got in at 6, with only one cup of coffee to my name I will have some way to remember them! Hawaii, even three days later, seems to far away. Ben started back up at work yesterday, and he fell asleep on the couch last night.
The struggle is real. Ben didn’t want to come home from Hawaii at all anyway, so I figured I would try to keep Hawaii alive a little longer with this Kalua Pork. My sister’s new mother in law filled us in on her secret of homemade Kalua pork while we were in Hawaii, for those of us who couldn’t dig a pit in our non-existent backyards to make it the traditional way. This way worked like a charm! And it will be perfect for your Superbowl Sunday festivities.
Unlike Ben who was not ready to come home from Hawaii, I kind of was ready to come home. As much as I love vacation, and not being at work – hello, endless days in my yoga pants – I was ready to be in my own home, in my own bed, and with my dog again. There isn’t anything quite like being home.
It really is my favorite place. *awww, sentimental barf.*
Anyway, pork. Yes, meat on a plate. Important, less sentimental matters await. We live in an apartment and there is no way we can go dig up the play yard for a pork pit, not to mention the lack of banana leaves in Seattle pose a bit of a predicament for a traditional Kalua pig pit – so while we were in Hawaii, my sister’s new mother in law gave me her secret. The secret may make your house smell like a delicious smoke shack – but it is so worth it in the end you won’t even care.
Start with a boneless pork shoulder, or pork “butt” as it’s commonly referred. I just like saying “butt”. #Mature. Mine was 3 and a half pounds. You can do a bone-in shoulder, I just didn’t want to fuss with it. MIL said to season the pork with Hawaiian salt, or course sea salt if that is what you have on hand.
Add a couple of tablespoons of oil to the bottom of a dutch oven and heat until shimmering. Sear each side of the pork until golden brown, making sure that the pork releases naturally from the bottom of the pan before turning it to the next side. I can’t tell you enough – do not rip the pork off the bottom of the pan! This will undo all the seasoning you just did. The pork will know when it’s time to release. Just let it do it’s business.
Then, add in the secret ingredients – 3 Tablespoons of liquid smoke, and one can of guava juice. Cover and place in a 300 degree oven for 6 hours. Boom. Done. Easy. As. That.
Check this photo above. The photo on the left is after Hour 3. The photo on the right is Hour 6. The caramelization is total perfection. I uncovered the pork every hour to baste the pork with the juices and develop that ultra crispy skin that you see there.
You can make this in a slow cooker if you want, but the environment will a little wetter than the dutch oven.
Take two forks, and shred the living daylights out of this bad boy. And serve it up! Oh my gosh, it’s like the Hawaiian islands just came back and slapped me in the face. Now, it’s your turn.
Now, as you can see this process looks like it will totally destroy the daylights out of your enameled dutch oven. Don’t fret!! Tomorrow, for How-To Tuesday I’m going to show you to scrub up your enamelware to remove any stains in a jiffy. It can be done, and I’ll show you how.
In the mean time – kalua pork, friends.
Easy Hawaiian Kalua Pig
3 1/2 pound Boneless Pork Shoulder or "Butt"
2-3 Tbsp Hawaiian or Course Sea Salt
1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
3 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
12 ounce can Guava Juice
1/2 cup Water
Remove pork shoulder from the fridge, one hour prior to cooking to allow it to take the chill off and promote even cooking. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.
Preaheat oven to 300 degrees.
With dutch oven over burner over medium heat, add vegetable oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Sear all sides of the pork until golden brown on all sides, ensuring to not switch sides until the pork naturally releases from the pan before switching to a new side to sear.
Sprinkle with liquid smoke, water and guava juice. Cover pork, and place in the oven. Uncover every hour to baste pork.
Remove from the oven between 5-6 hours, when the pork easily shreds with two forks. Let rest for 20 minutes after removing from the oven before completing shredding. Serve while hot.