Monday, January 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

Aloha!  We are well in winter's grasp.  The cold bores on the soul, even as the days began to slowly lengthening again.  To combat the winter blues, Ross and I hosted a luau for several friends and co-workers.  The center piece to most Luaus is a succulent pig, wrapped in ti leaf, buried in an underground oven and roasted for several hours.  The ground is far to frozen for us to make our own imu, and ti leaf is hard to come by in Minneapolis, but I was pleased to find both slow cooker and oven roasted versions of this Hawaiian treat.

Adapted from various sources

The Ingredients:
6 lb pork shoulder roast (butt roast)
1  to 1 1/2 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 1/2 Tbsp Hawaiian black (lava) or red (alaea) sea salt

The Process:
Pierce the roast all over with a sharp knife tip.  Rub with salt.  Place in a 6 qt slow cooker and drizzle with liquid smoke.  Cover and cook for 16 to 20 hours, turning once.

To prepare for serving, remove the roast from the slow cooker to a large serving bowl.  Using two forks, shred the meat.  Add enough of the cooking liquid to moisten the meat.

The Review:
For several hours, my entire house smelled like Hilshire Farms L'tle Smokies.  Over time the smell diminished to a meaty aura that permeated the kitchen walls.

Of all of the dishes served at the Luau, this smokey, tender pork was the star.  After 12 hours the meat was already falling apart at the slightest touch.  At 16 it was succulent beyond belief.  The liquid smoke did an amazing job at simulating the smokey flavor of the traditional ipa...though nothing can truly replace that earth smoked taste.

No additional seasoning was needed, though a squirt of sriracha found its way onto a few plates.  Six pounds went a long way...feeding nearly fourteen people in all with a good bit for leftovers.  When the ground thaws we may consider digging a pit in the backyard and hosting a traditional luau.  But in the meantime, this was a wonderful substitute.

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