Kalua Pork - Oven Roasted
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:
shallow roasting pan
heavy-duty aluminum foil
* Note: Aluminum foil can be substituted if the banana leaf or ti leaves are not available.
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*
- There are 4 steps necessary to prepare this dish. All four are listed below.
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.
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.)
Liquid smoke truly enhances this recipe!
Pause for a Poll
What is your favorite part of a real Hawaiian luau?
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.
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!
Tongs are helpful to remove the hot and steamy ti leaves from the roast.