Hawaiian Kalua Pulled Pork
Updated: Jan 21, 2021
One of my goals in cooking is to bring memories to food or help recreate memories by cooking food whose taste or smell brings you back to a place in time. One of my favorites cooks takes me back to a family vacation to Hawaii when I was a kid. I remember going to a luau and watching a cook of an entire pig, the smells, the fire, the pig in the pit, and of course, the hula dancers. I don’t remember much else of that trip, but that is very much engrained in my mind.
Every time I smell Hawaiian Kalua Pork, I’m transferred back to that trip, on that island, on that night, surrounded by my family. That is what I am trying to recreate with this cook and what I hope my recipes due to you as well. It’s magical when it happens.
Cut: Pork Shoulder
Weight: 10 pounds
Heat Source: Wood pellets
Wood Type: Traeger Signature Blend
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Estimated Cook Time: 12 Hours
Actual Cook Time: 12 ½ Hours
Total Time: 14 Hours
Estimated Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees
Actual Cooking Temperature: 225 degrees for 10 hours, 275 degrees for 2 hours
Cook Date: September 12, 2020
8-10 pound bone in pork shoulder
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar with mother
Thermometer - These are critical tools to have there are two main types. First, instant read thermometer like this one or this one. The Thermapen is worth its weight in gold and one I use almost every day. I know the price tag seems excessive but it's the best in the business for a reason. If you're looking for a dual temperature thermometer for both grill temperature and meat, this is the way to go. I use my Smoke for longer more specific cooks such as this.
Step 1: Bring your pork shoulder to room temperature, about 1-2 hours prior to cook time, up to overnight. Make crosshatch slices in the fat cap.
Step 2: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees.
Step 3: In a spray bottle, combine the pineapple juice and apple cider vinegar, shake to mix.
Step 4: Place the pork shoulder, fat side up, in the baking pan and give it a couple spritzes of the pineapple/apple cider mix and season generously with the rub.
Step 5: Cut the pineapple in thick slices and pin the slices suing toothpicks to the top of the pork shoulder.
Step 6: Insert your thermometer in the thickest portion of the pork shoulder and cook until internal temperature is 200-205 degrees.
Step 7: Once temperature is reached, remove the pork butt and wrap tightly in foil. You can also use butcher paper if that is preferred. Allow it to rest 1 hour.
Step 8: After it has rested, using your meat claws, pull apart and shred. Serve immediately.
Enjoy the memories!
Lessons Learned (Note: I will update this section to include your lessons learned from the comment section)