Archive for November, 2007

Traditional Kalua Pig Cooking in Hawaii

One of the traditional Hawaiian dishes that you may come across in Hawaii is Kalua pork (or Kalua pig). The word “kalua” is a Hawaiian word that refers to cooking in an underground oven or Hawaiian “imu”.

Typically, a large pit is dug in the ground, and lava rocks are heated over an open flame until they are extremely hot. The rocks are placed in the pit, which is lined with greenery such as banana leaves or ti leaves (they insulate, aid the steaming process, and add flavor). A cleaned whole pig (seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt) is placed inside the hot pit and then covered with more greenery for insulation and flavor – it is then covered with a protective covering, more soil, and left to cook through the day (about 8 hours).

Kalua pork (cooked in the traditional method) is typically served at Hawaiian Luaus, or family gatherings or parties. One can also find kalua pig in restaurants (typically smoked in a traditional smoker or oven). It is typically served with steamed white rice and/or poi (a taro root paste).

The pork meat falls off the bone, and is typically very tender and moist, with a slightly salty, smoky flavor that is just delicious.

If you have an opportunity, give kalua pork a try in Hawaii!

Here’s a really nice video showcasing the finished pig coming out of the underground imu/oven:

Are you hungry yet???