Kalua Pig is a Hawaiian staple that is traditionally cooked in an Imu. An Imu is by far the superior way to enjoy Kalua Pig but its not practical for most to dig an in ground oven especially if you live in an apartment. Over the years we’ve been perfecting our method of cooking Kalua Pig in the Crock-Pot. Its extremely easy and very rewarding. Some people would refer to this as Hawaiian Pulled Pork or Salted Pork.
This recipe is extremely simple and very forgiving if its your first time. We use Ti-Leaf which you can sometimes get at an Asian Market or specialty produce store. We grow this in our garden specifically for cooking and steaming. If you can’t get Ti-Leaf you can replace it with Banana leaves which is probably easier to find. Either type of leaf will add a nice subtle flavor to the meat. Banana leaves and stalks are traditionally used in an Imu.
The picture above is a 6-8 shoulder from our homegrown feral boars. This meat is much more moist and a nice layer of fat compared to most commercially raised pork. Depending on how you like your pork you can trim the fat or leave it. We usually leave it since it taste so good in the end. The fat content is also very good for frying.
– Ti Leaf Spiral
RECIPE: 10-15 Servings
- Prep Time: 20 min. // Shredding at the end 10-15 min.
- 10-12 Ti Leaves or a few banana leaves if you can’t get Ti. In the lower 48 florists are probably the easiest place to get these.
- 6-8 lb Pork Butt/Shoulder hatch sliced in all directions
- Mesquite Liquid Smoke (Real smoke is preferred but this makes it easy) // Enough to wipe down the whole piece of pork
- Hawaiian Salt or your favorite sea salt // Enough to cover the whole piece of pork // If you’re nervous about adding to much salt now you can use less and add more later when its done cooking to taste.
Line your Crock-Pot in a spiral with the Ti Leaves. Hatch slice your pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over the pork and then rub it in with your hands. Then rub enough salt into all of the cracks around the whole thing. Its now ready to put in to the Crock-Pot. Because the leaves are in a spiral its very easy to fold them back over the pork completely covering it in the leaves from top to bottom. Use a small skewer or toothpicks to hold the leaves down. Cover and set the heat on low.
COOK TIME: 1 hour per pound or 6-8 Hours on low. No need to stir or move around. Once you think its ready you can lift a leaf up and check with a fork. If it starts to very easily come apart down to the center, its ready. Taste a piece and add a bit more liquid smoke or salt as needed.
~ Sliced with a cross hatch. Only cut in about 1/2 inch deep.
~ Ti Leaf folded over and wrapping pork completely. Small metal skewer or toothpicks to hold them in place.
There are a lot of ways to serve Kalua Pig, one of my favorite ways is to make sliders with it. Traditionally it would be served with a side of fresh Poi which is very delicious and an acquired taste if you’re not from Hawaii. Serving it with your favorite brown or white rice also works really well. Sometimes we’ll take the pork and fry it for breakfast along with a fried egg or two.
Enjoy and let us know how you liked it by commenting below.