Monday, December 1, 2008


This Thanksgiving, instead of turkey, we had Kalua Pork. The inspiration came from a recent trip to Maui. My husband really isn't crazy about turkey, so I thought I'd just make something else this year. Last year I make turkey leg osso bucco, and that was really good, and a nice change-up also. 

My recipe for the Kalua Pig comes from a native Hawaiian. Not everyone has a big pit in their yard to throw a whole pig into, obviously, but you really don't have to have one to get a nice replica of the real deal. It's extremely simple, and each ingredient is very important. You must have the banana and ti leaves. Simply wrapping the pork in foil alone will not do. The leaves lend a particular aroma that is key to get the right flavor. And since you won't be cooking this with real coals, you need to use the liquid smoke. And the cut. You need pork butt. It is the fattiest. The pork ends up basically being almost poached in it's own fat. How bad could that be?!

I start by laying out 2 very large pieces of heavy duty foil, one vertical, one horizontal, with enough overlap to wrap over the pork later. Then, few pieces of string in the pan, 2 pieces each way also -- then lay down a bed of overlapping ti leaves (wash them before use). 

Lay your pork butt inside, and cut slits into the meat.

Season with liberally with salt, and pour the liquid smoke over the pork, then rub in the salt and smoke flavoring well into the pork and into the grooves and slices on top. Finally, lay the whole bananas on top of the meat (I didn't get a picture of that). 

Cover the pork with more ti leaves, and then gently fold them to cover pork. The strings you laid out in the beginning - tie them snugly over the top of the ti leaves. Lastly, wrap the pretty package in the foil, adding additional foil to the top if necessary. Try to avoid holes in the foil. You want the juices to stay inside.  

Into the oven, 325-350, 45 minutes per pound.  When done, remove from the leaves, discard bananas, and shred pork. 


4-5 pound pork butt
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
4-6 ti leaves (easy to find at most Asian groceries)
2 whole, unpeeled bananas (as green as you can find).