Hawaiian-Style Smoked Pork (Kalua Pork)
Wrapping a suckling pig in banana leaves and roasting it in a hole in the ground was a non-starter. But to replicate the flavors of this luau dish, we tried just about everything else
Why This Recipe Works
This Hawaiian-style barbecued pork is typically made by slow cooking a suckling pig in a pit made out of hot rocks, banana leaves, and kiawe wood, the Hawaiian version of mesquite. The resulting pork has a silky, tender texture and an intense, earthy smokiness. To make this delicious pork without the Hawaiian rig, we rubbed a boneless pork butt roast, our barbecue cut of choice, with a green tea salt mixture. We then loosely enclosed the pork in perforated aluminum foil and smoked it over an indirect fire before finishing it in a low oven. The green tea seasoned the meat with a vegetal quality similar to that of banana leaves, and our unique grill method emulated the gentle heat of the Hawaiian pit.