La Caja China – Gracie’s Kalua Pig
Okay, so after having such a great time in Hawaii on our babymoon, we decided that for Gracie’s first birthday, we would follow the Island tradition and have a luau.
My brand-new La Caja China was just sitting here, begging to be fired up, and whispering “Kalua Pig…Kalua Pig…” in my ear…
So…I picked up four pork shoulders, dug out Sam Choy’s Sampler Cookbook (which I picked up in Maui) to put together the ultimate luau…and away we went!
BTW, Sam Choy is THE chef of the Islands…and I strongly recommend his cookbooks, they are among the best in my library. His Veal Osso Buco is amazing!
Here’s my recipe… (For each shoulder)
Gracie’s Sweet Kalua Pig
5-6lb pork shoulder (I prefer the “Boston-butt” cut)
1 quart Perk’s Mojo (see below)
½ cup sea-salt
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs red pepper flakes
15 oz canned sliced peaches in heavy syrup
16 oz apricot & pineapple preserves
12 oz peach preserves
1 can pineapple rings, in juice
4 oz macadamia nuts, crushed
Inject the pork with mojo and marinate overnight. Then, allow pork to come to room temp just before roasting.
Brush pork liberally with liquid smoke, then rub all over with sea-salt, garlic, and 1 Tbs of red pepper flakes.
Place shoulder(s) in La Caja China (fat down in roasting pan) and roast to an internal temp of 190d.
Remove pan from La Caja China, and allow pork to cool/rest 30 minutes. Then chop (or pull) pork, discarding bones, and return to pan. Brush heavily with glaze, sprinkle with macadamia nuts, and return to La Caja China. Check every five minutes until browned to your liking. Then decorate the top with pineapple rings and peach slices in a “sunburst” pattern. (Dang – I wish I’d gotten pictures!)
Serve with Hawaiian rice, Choy’s Traditional Lomi Lomi salad, and/or a tropical fruit salad.
Combine liquid smoke, canned peaches (with syrup), apricot/pineapple preserves, peach preserves, and remaining red pepper flakes. Simmer one hour over medium-low heat. Cool to room temp.
½ cup minced garlic (the wet stuff.)
¼ cup fine sea salt
1/8 cup black pepper, fine ground
2 Tbs dried Oregano
2 quarts orange juice
1 quart lemon juice
1 quart pineapple juice
Mix all. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer.
Set aside 4 cups of mojo for later use.
Inject pig immediately, and refrigerate 24 hours.
Add 1 cup of Stubb’s mesquite liquid smoke to reserved mojo and use to baste pig before lighting the coals, just before turning, and again after turning.
Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying my baby-girl’s first birthday party, that I forgot to take any pictures of the finished product…which is a shame, ‘cause it was a beautiful spread.
I chopped the pork and returned it to the pans, then slathered the top of each with a peach-pineapple glaze (see below), sprinkled that with crushed macadamia nuts, and then returned the pans to the Caja China for another 10 minutes to brown the glaze…
Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.
Still, if a pic is worth a thousand words…here’s my baby enjoying her first luau…
PS – If you don’t have a roaster, and this seems like too much work, see Bon Appétit’s article, “Sam Choy’s Oven-Roasted Kalua Pig.” But I would strongly recommend adding the glaze recipe above!