Kalua Pig

Kalua pig is perfect for a party, as it takes just minutes of hands-on preparation and is absolutely delicious. Many recipes call for removal of all fat before cooking the pork but this is not a good idea. Fat is essential—it both lubricates and flavors the meat. Most of it is released during cooking and what remains can easily be removed.

Wine recommendations: With its rich, voluptuous smokiness, this Kalua Pig recipe needs a beverage with lively acid that won’t turn flabby on the palate; moderate bubbles keep the palate refreshed. For a still wine, try Viu Manent 2009 Colchagua Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Muralhas de Mancoa Vinho Verde, with its low alcohol and hint of effervescence, is also a good choice. If you prefer red, Copeland Creek 2005 Pinot Noir from Sonoma has a light, delicate, ethereal quality that engages beautifully with the pork. Maui Brewing Company’s Bikini Blonde Lager highlights the smoky quality of the meat. 

  • Large (about 6 pounds) pork butt (Boston butt) or pork shoulder
  • Liquid smoke
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Hawaiian alaea salt
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges, optional

Preheat the oven to 275˚F. (If you have a clay roaster, soak it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.) Set the pork roast on a clean work surface and score the fat layer with deep diagonal cuts about one inch apart; make another row of cuts at right angles to the first cuts. Use a pastry brush to paint the pork with a layer of liquid smoke, making sure to brush into the cuts. Rub salt into the pork, including into the cuts, and be sure to use all of it. Set the pork in a clay roaster or deep roasting pan. Pour about 1⁄4 inch of water into the pan. Cover with the lid or seal tightly with foil. Set in the oven and cook for 5 hours, or until the pork falls apart when pressed. Transfer the pork in its pot to a work surface, leave covered and let rest 15 to 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the pork from the pot to a large serving platter. Use two forks to shred the pork. Sprinkle very lightly with Hawaiian salt, garnish with lime wedges, if using, and serve.

Published on July 19, 2010