Monday, May 24, 2010

Oven Kalua Pork


This dish is so simple to make and the oven does all the work. In Hawaii pork butt is as easy to find as ground beef. In Eugene I buy a pack of pork that my butcher labels for carnitas which looks like small well trimmed pork roast. I’m not sure if they even sell pork butt in Eugene, but they sell shoulder for sure (which the butt comes from, but I have never seen it labeled that way). From what I understand, the butt is the top of the shoulder which has the least amount of bone and the most meat. If you use a pork butt trim most of the fat off the top leaving only a thin layer for flavor.

This dish makes for several great leftover meals because the seasonings are so basic. Kalua Pork Stir Fried with cabbage and onions with a drizzle of soy sauce, or pulled pork sandwiches. It also subs wonderfully for a quick chile verde if you can find a can of Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada Sauce.

3 pounds boneless pork butt / shoulder
2 cups warm tap water
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. white pepper

Place the pork butt fat side up in a roasting pan or heavy casserole. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix well to dissolve salt. Pour liquid over pork and cover with a tight fitting lid or foil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 2 ½ hours. Remove cover and shred meat into the liquid in the pan.


  1. Susan cant wait to try this! I was wondering if liquid smoke is a MUST and can I make this in a crock pot?

    1. Hi Brandi, In my opinion liquid smoke is a MUST, because it will give the pork a hint of smokiness that it otherwise would not have. As for the crock pot... yes,it can be done, however - the dry heat of the oven will give this simple dish a lot more flavor.I can't wait for you to try this - its delicious!!!
      Aloha, Susan

    2. Can you recommend what brand to use for liquid smoke? I've never used it before. Thank you!

    3. I'm not sure where you are cooking from... but I have always had available to me on the west-coast Wright's Hickory Seasoning liquid smoke. It comes in a small 3.5 oz. bottle and makes a big impression :) It is usually found by the spices in my grocery store. However, a little goes a long way, so, even though you buy the whole bottle (which is not that big)only use a little (according to the recipe). I assure you that it will be worth adding. Onolicious!!!

  2. LOL.....Susan....had a hit of homesickness today and craving Kalua pig and cabbage.....was going to call my sister for a recipe but with the time difference..... she'd kill me..laughing. But lucky for me I found your blog and am cooking my "butt" as we speak. Can't wait for it to be done. Mahalo for this simple receipe. Let will let you know the outcome.

    1. This will surely become a new "secret family recipe" for you to pass on for generations! Don't forget to cook rice :)