Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kalua Pork

kalua pork preparations
In a few days, I'm flying to Boston to cater a party for my brother's family. Part of the celebrations are for his 10th wedding anniversary. My brother and his wife were married in Hawaii; therefore, we've adopted a Hawaiian inspired theme. Part of the menu includes kalua pork, a dish traditionally made by wrapping pig in banana leaves, stuffing it with hot lava rocks and cooking it in a wood fired pit, nearly buried. No, it's not kahlua, that's something else. The result is smokey and tender. Here is my method for accomplishing very similar results. I bought Niman Ranch pork shoulder, a tad over seven pounds. In this first picture, I've got it on my grill with a hard wood fire. The pork is not directly over the coals. I shut the lid and smoked the beast for a few hours, until the fire was out and the winter evening chilled it enough to bring in.

Below is pictured an essential ingredient, Hawaiian pink salt. Yum. This is a great finishing salt. On the second day, I seasoned the pork shoulder liberally with this salt. The next step is to wrap the pork in banana leaves, a necessity that took me down to our Chinatown. Back home with the banana leaves.

Here's the pork wrapped in the fragrant leaves and secured with twine. Next comes the slow cooking.
So, to finish the kalua pork, I've put it in an enamelled, cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid, French cookware, Coussance, great stuff. I added some smokey pork jus that I had in the freezer (left over, expressed from other versions of smoked, pulled pork). It's in a 300 degree oven, and will stay there for more than three hours, until it becomes falling-off-the-bone tender. I'll shred this, reseason it and voila! When I get it to Boston, this will become tiny sandwiches on mini, soft buns.