Monday, November 24, 2014

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

This Slow Cooker Kalua Pig recipe has been passed on to my husband from his friend's Hawaiian family. The pork in this dish is absolutely divine, smoky in flavor, tender and juicy, while the crunchy cabbage adds a nice texture. Even better, it only takes five ingredients and a slow cooker to make at home.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

The first time my husband said he was making me Kalua Pig, I cringed. I've never been much of a pork fan, and using the word "pig" in the name of my entree totally grossed me out. However, we were still newly dating and my man was cooking me dinner, you better believe I was going to eat it.

What I didn't expect was to LOVE it. This dish is frequently made in our house. One, because it's easy; the slow cooker does most of the work, and two, because it is ridiculously delicious.

Kalua Pig is considered a Hawaiian dish. The original recipe for this Kalua Pig was passed down to my husband from a friend, whose family happens to be Hawaiian. We only recently started adding shredded cabbage to our version of the recipe when we got a taste of the crunchy goodness while honeymooning in Hawaii. Kalua Pig + dining with an ocean view = heaven. If you ever go, hunt down this dish at a local restaurant.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

So let's break down this recipe. It's only five, yes 5, ingredients: pork roast, liquid smoke, sea salt and cabbage, plus rice for serving. Boom! That's it. I promise everyone in your family will fall in love with this seriously simple, ridiculously easy, absolutely delicious recipe.

The liquid smoke is what gives the pork roast all the flavor. After 12 hours of cooking on low in the slow cooker, your roast will literally fall apart. As we all know, pork and salt go hand in hand. A tiny bit of sea salt goes a long way, add some cabbage, heat and dinner is served.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig
Because of the 12 hour cooking time, and the need to chill this recipe to separate the fat, meat and liquids, make sure you plan this meal ahead. We always cook our roast the night before we want to eat it.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

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Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 13 hours
Yield: 10 servings

3 lb. pork roast* (we use whatever is on sale; butt roast and pork tenderloins work well)
3 tablespoons of liquid smoke*
1/2 - 3/4 tablespoon of sea salt*
2-3 cups shredded Napa cabbage (add as much or as little as you prefer)
6 cups of steamed white rice

Step 1: Place roast into the base of a crockpot, and pour the liquid smoke over the roast. Cover with lid, and cook on low for 12 hours. (Again, we cook ours overnight.) After 12 hours of cooking, carefully pour the juices into a glass bowl, cover and store in fridge. Place the ceramic crockpot bowl and the roast in the fridge to chill. Make sure to place a trivet beneath the crockpot on your refrigerator shelf.

Step 2: After the roast has completely chilled, about 6-8 hours, remove the crockpot and bowl of juices. Skim the fat off the top of the juices, and discard the fat. Using your hands, or two forks, shred the roast, discarding any large pieces of fat. This step is easy, but messy. Keep paper towels and a trash bag nearby to limit the mess.  

Step 3: Once all the meat is shredded, place it back into the crockpot, cover with the reserved juices, add the sea salt and heat on high for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, shred your cabbage. After 30 minutes of cooking, add the shredded cabbage to the crockpot, stir to combine, and heat another 30 minutes. While the Kalua Pig is cooking, prepare your steamed rice. Once the meat is heated through, serve hot on top of fresh rice.

*If you buy a larger roast, note that the ratio of liquid smoke is 1 tablespoon to 1 pound of meat.

*We typically add just under 3/4 tablespoon sea salt, and add more to taste if desired. You never want to over-salt your meat, best to play it safe and add more if you feel that it needs the flavor.

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Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

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