This is my version of Kālua Pork made in the oven. Traditionally, Kālua is made in an imu, which is an underground pit oven with hot rocks (usually lava rocks) which steams the pig whole. Since we don’t have the capabilities of digging our own imu here in Alaska in the middle of winter, we are cooking it up in our oven at home. Many people have their own version of making Kālua, this is just the way I like to make, especially with the garlic cloves that essentially dissolve during the slow cooking process. The longer you bake it in the oven, the better it absorbs flavor. Here in this video I cooked it for 5 hours at 300 degrees, but if I had more time then I would have liked to cook it at a lower temperature for longer such as 250 degrees for 8 -12 hours.
Recipe for Jen’s Garlicky Kālua Pork:
8-10 lb Pork Shoulder/Butt
2 Garlic Bulbs
1/4 cup Hawaiian Salt or Sea Salt
1 1/2 bottles of Liquid Smoke
6 cups of water
Preheat oven [250 if cooking for 8-12 hours] or [300 if cooking for 5-6 hours].
Peel your garlic bulbs. Cut slits in pork and stuff with garlic cloves. Rub pork with Hawaiian salt, use more or less depending on the size of the pork. Remember – you can always add, but you cannot take away so if you think it’s too much salt, then add only what you feel is right and adjust the flavor at the end of cooking. Mix your liquid smoke with water and pour over pork. Cover well with a lid or with foil. Set in oven for [250 if cooking for 8-12 hours] or [300 if cooking for 5-6 hours]. Kālua when done will fall off the bone. Enjoy with rice!
*Optional: add chopped cabbage to the end of the cooking process, let sit in the pan with the Kālua in the oven for about 10 minutes before serving.