kruizing with kikukat

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kalua Pig in a Crock Pot from Allrecipes

Happy Presidents Day!  I love a 3-day weekend.  Actually, this was a 5-day weekend for me because I fell ill for a few days last week.  From the office mongers gossip, I missed some action at the work place.  Actually, I'm glad I missed the action, but I wasn't having a picnic either.  What began as the "cold nose syndrome" morphed into sore throat/runny nose/stuffy nose.  Yuck.  Thanks to Nyquil, I slept right through Valentines Day. 

Well, now that's not entirely true.  Mr. Dependable texted on Valentines Day, asking if I already owned a Garmin.  I texted back that I already owned one so he didn't need to get one for me but thanks anyway.  He responded with, "no, I wasn't gonna get you one.  I want to borrow yours."  This convo proves I didn't sleep through Valentines Day.  Kalamai.  Mea culpa.  Sumimasen.

Right now is the dead of winter where I am.  Yes, I am in Hawaii, but what many people don't realize is that parts of Hawaii get cold during the winter.  The high altitude areas can get down into the 30s during the winter (at night or early morning).  This is hardly BBQ weather!

Traditional Hawaiian-style barbecue entails digging an imu (pit) in the yard for the long, slow and smoky cooking of foods.  This is our version of the famed barbecue pits in the southern parts of the United States.

Practically any meat or starch can be cooked in an imu, but while beef brisket may be king in Texas (go ask the dudes at the Salt Lick), pork reigns supreme in Hawaii.  Meats cooked in an imu are normally referred to as "kalua".

Kalua pig is standard fare at any luau.  Once the meat comes out of the imu, it is shredded (pulled. . .to you mainlanders) and salted.  No self-respecting luau is complete without kalua pig.  Kalua pig can be served with rice or poi.  In an effort to be cost-conscious or health-conscious, it can be sauteed with cabbage chunks (known locally as kalua pig and cabbage).  I have also used it to stuff steamed buns (scroll way below to see a picture).  Its great as an enchilada filling too.  Some local families will cook a turkey in the imu for Thanksgiving.  Kalua turkey is used the same way as kalua pig.

Most people don't have the time nor gumption to go digging a hole in the backyard.  And some people don't have a backyard either.  I get that.  For usual smoking, I use a charcoal kamado, but its a lot of work to get the charcoal going and maintain the temperature all day, which is how long it would take to cook a chunk of pig.  I'll do it for special occasions, but not for a weeknight meal.  And if I'm going to put in that much effort, I would make sure I cooked a massive amount for freezing or giving away.

For normal home consumption, the best way to replicate the taste of kalua pig, even in the dead of winter, is with a crock pot (it could be made in the oven, but my thinking is that a crock pot uses less electricity than an oven).  Back in the beginning of the new millennium, I posted a recipe on  I didn't realize what a hit it would become.  It even found its way into the cookbook (no, I didn't buy the cookbook).   When I last checked the allrecipes site, there were over 30 pictures of this dish.  Click here for a link to the recipe on the site.

The picture to the left is one way that I like to serve kalua pig:  a handful of it on steamed bread with a barbecue sauce smear.  The recipes for steamed bread and my favorite bbq sauce will be upcoming features on this blog, so please check back soon.  Right now I need to look for my Garmin to hand off to Mr. Dependable.

In an attempt to join the ranks of the living/walking, I ventured out of the house this past weekend to get the talons sharpened.  While I was with Tiffany, The Help was up to no good.  By the time I was done, he had a burning desire to go to Costco to acquire a new camera body for his collection.  He insisted he HAD to own it, giving excuses about how its meant for action shots, how he might need it for taking sports actions photos soon, etc.  Appealing to the pake, he spoke of what a great deal he'd be getting by buying the Costco kit.  Deciding to indulge him (he also dangled a sushi dinner in front of me), I agreed to accompany him on the 2 hour drive.  I came back with a box of daytime/nighttime cold medicine and this picture.  I snapped it in a parking lot.  It left me speechless.

If any of you are contemplating a manual-transmission vehicle (but perhaps may not be a confident stick shift operator), you may want to consider a recent model year BMW.  They are equipped with a hill assist function, which would eliminate the rear end advertising.

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