Last week, Ralphs had a 4-day sale that included pork shoulder for just $0.99 per pound. I prefer to buy the Simple Truth brand at Ralphs or from the meat counter at Whole Foods, but I just couldn't pass up the price! I bought two roasts that were around four pounds each, and turned them into Kalua Pork freezer meals. (This Kalua Pork was one of the very first recipes published here at CFO, way back in 2005!)
Traditionally in Hawaii, Kalua Pork comes from a whole pig roasted in a pit on the beach. My version is a lot easier for the home cook, and extremely versatile.
Once the pork is cooked, you can shred it and mix in some Mexican seasonings to make carnitas. I like to cool and dice leftovers, and make a hash with it, riffing off this recipe.
Kalua Pork is salty, and I use Ono brand Hawaiian seasoned salt (pictured below), which is available at Amazon. You can substitute kosher salt, but use 2 tablespoons since the grains are smaller, and add a teaspoon each of granulated garlic and onion for some extra flavor. Also, you can add liquid smoke for that authentic smokiness, but I avoid it since it's carcinogenic and the pork comes out delicious without it.
Slower Cooker Freezer-Friendly Kalua Pork
4lb pork shoulder (butt) roast
3 tablespoons seasoned Hawaiian salt
non-stick cooking spray
1. Pour the salt into a ziptop freezer bag.
2. Score the top and bottom of the roast in a one-inch criss-cross pattern to allow the salt to absorb better. (Helpful picture here.)
3. Add the roast to the ziptop bag and rotate it, massaging the salt into the roast for a few seconds. Label and date the bag and freeze.
To cook the roast:
1. Defrost the roast overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock with non-stick cooking spray (for easier clean up) and set to low.
3. Transfer the roast to the crock, fat side down. If a lot of the salt is left behind in the bag, pour it onto the roast. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
If you want a semi-traditional Hawaiian meal, shred the pork and serve it over steamed rice, preferably with macaroni salad. Easy and delicious! I like to sautee some thinly sliced cabbage in butter, toss it with the shredded pork, and serve it over rice, like so:
Remember, leftovers freeze well too!