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Kalua Pork - Oven Roasted

Updated on September 6, 2014
Oven Roasted Pork
Oven Roasted Pork | Source

Oven Roasted Kalua Pork is Simple to Prepare

One of the first local dishes I tried when I moved to Hawaii in the late 1970's was kalua pork. I loved it from the time the very first morsel crossed my lips. It's traditionally served here in the islands as the featured dish at any luau.

However, you don't have to live in Hawaii to host a summertime luau or to enjoy the taste of mouthwatering kalua pork. You won't have to dress a pig or dig a big hole in your backyard either.

It's actually very simple to make kalua pork in the oven that is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Note: Wearing a Hawaiian shirt while eating kalua pork freshly roasted from the oven is optional, but it will definitely add to the ambiance.

In addition to the ingredients listed:

sharp knife

shallow roasting pan

heavy-duty aluminum foil

* Note: Aluminum foil can be substituted if the banana leaf or ti leaves are not available.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 45 min

Total Time: 4 3/4 hrs

Serves: This recipe makes 8 to 10 servings and freezes well.


  • 4 - 4.5 lbs pork butt
  • 4 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 2 Tbsp Hawaiian salt (rock salt or sea salt)
  • 1 banana leaf cleaned*
  • 4 - 6 large clean ti leaves with ribs removed*


  1. There are 4 steps necessary to prepare this dish. All four are listed below.
5 stars from 1 rating of To Prepare This Dish You'll Need...
Preparing Pork Butt for Kalua Pork
Preparing Pork Butt for Kalua Pork | Source

Step 1 - Prepare the Meat.

To prepare this dish for the oven, preheat oven to 550 degrees (not a typo). With a sharp knife, make 1/4" deep slits in the pork slashing diagonally. Make slits 1" apart on all sides of the pork butt.

Rub Hawaiian salt into the slits. Follow this by rubbing all sides of the roast with the 4 Tbsp of liquid smoke.

Pork Wrapped in Banana and Ti Leaves
Pork Wrapped in Banana and Ti Leaves | Source

Step 2

Wrap the pork.

If you have the leaves available, wrap the pork meat in the freshly washed banana leaf. Next wrap the roast with ti leaves. Tie with string to secure leaves or insert a few toothpicks at an angle.

(It is perfectly fine to prepare the pork butt without the leaves. I've actually made it both ways.)

Wright's Liquid Smoke 3 oz - 6 Unit Pack
Wright's Liquid Smoke 3 oz - 6 Unit Pack

Liquid smoke truly enhances this recipe!


Pause for a Poll

Enjoy a Hawaiian Luau
Enjoy a Hawaiian Luau | Source

What is your favorite part of a real Hawaiian luau?

See results
At a Hawaiian Luau circa 1980
At a Hawaiian Luau circa 1980

My Very First Luau circa 1980

My husband took this picture of me waiting outside the hotel in Waikiki where we would be attending my first luau. It was on this occasion I first tasted the traditional luau foods.

Note: The picture in the poll above is of our daughter at a luau in 2012. How time has flown!

Photo credit: Eric Irie

Step 3 - Oven Roasted Goodness


Before placing the dish in the oven, wrap the meat well with aluminum foil. It is very important that you seal the foil completely! (Do this regardless of whether you also used leaves.)

Set the prepared main dish in a small graniteware roasting pan or a shallow baking pan is fine too. Let the meat remain at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before placing the roasting pan on the middle oven rack.

Roast at 550 degrees for 45 minutes.

Reduce heat to 400 degrees for another 3 1/4 hours.

Oven Roasted Kalua Pork
Oven Roasted Kalua Pork | Source

Final Step - Unwrap and Eat!

Remove roasted pork from the oven. Using tongs, remove the aluminum foil, banana and ti leaves. Set aside a few of the cooked ti leaves to line a platter or large bowl with.

Place pork on top of ti leaves and shred with a fork. Let meat sit in some of the drippings. Add a few more drops of liquid smoke before serving. Dig in!

Prepworks by Progressive Stainless Steel Locking Tongs - 12 Inch
Prepworks by Progressive Stainless Steel Locking Tongs - 12 Inch

Tongs are helpful to remove the hot and steamy ti leaves from the roast.


Have you prepared kalua pork in the oven?

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    • Pam Irie profile imageAUTHOR

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      @David Stone1: Thanks Dave. haha Now I feel bad eating pork, but honestly, we don't have it that much these days. In fact I can honestly say we specifically have at least two meatless dinners a week now and feel a lot better healthwise for it. :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 

      4 years ago from New York City

      As a vegetarian, I've missed that opportunity, but I appreciate your artful lens and the cute pictures of you and your daughter.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Yummy. This Kalua Pork sounds wonderful. We have been to Hawaii only once and all the food was so delicious.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 

      5 years ago from New York

      Yum! I've been looking for a way to replicate the yummy Ti leaf roasted pork we had when we visited Hawaii. I'm so glad I found your recipe! We are definitely going to make this.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      oh yum... pinning this

    • anaisfraiche profile image


      6 years ago

      No but I love to try!

    • piedromolinero profile image


      6 years ago

      I never had Kalua Pork, but it sounds very yummy. I shall try this recipe.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yum! Love Kalua Pork... glad I don't have to dig a hole in the yard to make it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Never tried before, but sounds like a treat!

    • CCGAL profile image


      6 years ago

      I don't know where my head was, but I expected this dish to be braised in Kahlua ... totally missed the missing H. Sounds yummy - I don't know if we have those leaves available here, but I gotta say it would be really cool to find them and do this dish up right. And I have just the Hawaiian Muu Muu to wear while eating it!

    • retta719 profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      I've never had this dish, but it sounds delicious!

    • retta719 profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      I've never had this dish, but it sounds delicious!


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