Me? No, I wish. My taste buds are off to Hawaii with kalua pork and cabbage.
I love Hawaii. It’s paradise. Commercialized paradise but nonetheless, awesome. Clear blue skies, sand, and sun, you really can’t go wrong. I’ve been to Hawaii twice — once when I was 15 and another time when I was 20 for a friend’s wedding. It’s always a great place to escape to.
Besides the perfect environment, I also really enjoy Hawaiian food. I’m not just talking about pineapple everything and spam musubi — I’m talking about mahi mahi fish, poi, lomilomi salmon, and my personal favourite, kalua pork and cabbage.
The first and most memorable time I had kalua pork was at the Polynesian Cultural Centre during their nightly luau. Kalua pork is traditionally prepared in the ground. A large hole is dug out of the ground and a whole pig is roasted and smoked in the ground itself for a slow, low fire and simply seasoned with red Hawaiian sea salt. And the end result? Smokey pulled pork accompanied by braised cabbage, mashed taro root, and, of course, two large scoops of white rice. Hawaiian comfort food at its best.
But, alas! We encounter a problem. Digging a hole is out of the question, especially in this weather. And a whole pig? I’m cooking for two here!!! But then I remembered what I got for Christmas: crock pot.
So before leaving for a long day at work (12 hours, yay), I took my pork shoulder butt, seasoned it with some kosher salt (no Hawaiian salt available, wah), added some liquid smoke and let the crock pot do all the cooking. Done. I love you crock pot.
And the results? Wonderfully smokey and fucking delicious. The end.
Kalua pork with cabbage
What you’ll need:
– 1 4lb pork shoulder butt
– Kosher salt (Hawaiian smoked red salt if you have any)
– Liquid smoke
– 1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced
What you’ll need to do:
1. Pat your pork shoulder butt dry.
2. Place your pork in the crock pot and season liberally on all sides with kosher salt and douse it with liquid smoke.
3. Turn the crock pot onto low and let it cook for 8 hours or until fork tender and can be pulled easily, checking back every hour.
4. Once cooked, remove the pork and pull apart.
5. Add the cabbage to the crock pot with all the juices and return the pulled pork back into the pot.
6. Turn off the heat and let the residual heat cook the cabbage until very tender, about 1 hour.
7. Serve with two scoops of hot white rice. Makes 6 servings.