Hawaiian Kalua pig

Kalua pig is the pig in a pit that the serve (with a dance and much pomp) at the Lu’au in Hawaii. I don’t have a smoker, nor access to large blocks of good smoking wood, so here is the way I do it.

Kalua pig at a Lu'au in Hawaii

Kalua pig at a Lu’au in Hawaii


1. I used pork leg on the bone, but I’m sure any other part would work.

2. Rubbed salt all over it. Most kalua pig recipes call for Hawaiian salt, I didn’t have any so I just used normal salt.

3. The original Kalua pig recipe uses ‘Ti leaves”, the leaves of a native Hawaiian plant. Some recipes indicate that banana leaves can be substitued for Ti leaves. One recipe said that in the absence of banana leaves, bananas can be wrapped in foil around the meat. Not having access to banana leaves (and not wanting to steal them from the neighbour’s banana tree), I tried the banana option. I don’t think it made much of a difference.

4. Wrap banana leaves and foil around the meat. I ran out of aluminium foil last time and attempted to use baking paper instead. This was a mistake, the baking paper burnt and stuck to the meat.

5. I cook this on a Weber BBQ on low heat, adding smoke chips on a regular basis.  This is a whole day affair, started in morning and didn’t finish until 9pm at night, just checking on it on a regular basis to make sure there is still smoke and the BBQ is still going. It’s hard on low heat as it sometimes dies out.

6. Take it out, unwrap foil. It should smell delicious. Shred or slice

7. Hawaiians serve it with poi (mashed taro paste).

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