Earlier this week I asked for your help on Facebook. I wanted to know what kind of recipes you wanted to see on the blog.
One answer that came across more than once was quick and easy recipes, especially for those crazy nights when the kids all have something going on. Crock pot recipes was another request.
Today’s recipe fits those two requests perfectly. In fact, it is a recipe that I can’t believe I have never shared before. I guess it’s because it is one of those recipes that you think everybody already has. In fact with only a few ingredients I am not even sure this qualifies as a recipe. It is that easy!!!
After I made in twice in the last month and my daughter made it for her college dinner group I figured I ought to share it here on the blog.
Kalua Pork is a traditional Hawaiian dish that is usually cooked underground and often served at a luau but it can easily become Pork Carnitas too if you need it to be. Last week, Tessa came home from school about 4 p.m. and informed me that she and her friend Rachel needed to cook a Mexican meal that night for their Spanish 4 class (yes, it had to be that night).
Well, fortunately for them I had a big pot of Kalua Pork/Pork Carnitas already made. They made some homemade flour tortillas, salsa, Mexican rice and some unfried fried ice cream and we had a pretty amazing Mexican meal in about an hour and a half!
It really doesn’t get any easier than Kalua Pork – really! I buy the most inexpensive cut of pork I can find, usually the pork carnitas from Winco. The only other things you need are a little salt, water and some liquid smoke.
All of that goes into a big heavy pot or your crock pot and then you let it cook away! My only word of caution is, don’t leave your hot pot holder in the oven when you put the pot in the oven.
A few weeks ago I was making a big pot of kalua pork for the cast party for Hairspray. I popped it in the oven in the morning and then headed out to run errands for the day. Fortunately for me, my mother in law stayed behind and she got thirsty. When she headed into the kitchen to get a drink of water she noticed that the inside of my oven was on fire! Being the smart, level headed woman she is (she’s a nurse and knows how to stay calm in crisis situations) she put the fire out and removed the hot pot holder!! Thank heavens. Way to impress the mother in law!!
Fortunately for me kalua pork has a nice smoky flavor from that liquid smoke so the added real smoke didn’t hurt anything!!
After your pork is cooked you just shred it up with a fork and serve it over rice. I also bought a bottle of Hawaiian style teriyaki sauce for those who wanted to a little extra flavor but the pork is totally flavorful enough all on its own.
Any left over pork would be great in a quesadilla, burrito, taco or on a salad.
Kalua Pork can be cooked in the oven or in the crockpot. I cooked mine in the oven (next time I think I better try the crockpot to avoid any more fires) at 350 for about 5-6 hours. A crockpot on high cooks at about 300 degrees so 6-7 hours in the crockpot on high should be about the same. If you want to stretch out the cooking time you could cook it on low (equiv. to 200 degrees) for about 16 hours but I have seen some recipes that call for 16-20 hours on low. When the meat is tender and easily shredded with a fork it is ready.
This can easily be cooked ahead of time also and then just reheated for dinner.
- 6 lbs. pork carnitas, shoulder or butt roast (you want a cut of meat that has fat on it)
- 1 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke (near the BBQ sauce)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 C water (do not need if using a crockpot)
- Place meat in crockpot or pan and sprinkle with salt, patting it into the meat.
- Pour liquid smoke over pork and then add the water around the pork.
- If cooking in the oven cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.
- In the oven at 350, cook for about 5-6 hours.
- In a crock pot on high cook for about 6-7 hours and in a crockpot on low cook for 12-16 hours. Shred with a fork when tender and falling apart. Serve over rice.