Kalua Pua'a (Roast Pig)

Kalua pua’a, or roast pork, is traditionally prepared in a Hawaiian imu, or underground pit, which serves as a steam oven where the pork cooks for hours. Usually seasoned with sea salt and wrapped in ti leaves, roasted pig is a staple at luaus. This straightforward recipe offers traditional flavors without the fuss of building your own backyard BBQ pit.

serving: 4
Cook Time: 3 Hr 0 Min

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  • 3 lbs pork butt
  • 3 tbsp Hawaiian or sea salt
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 10 banana or ti leaves, wet
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)


Soak banana leaves in water for 2-3 hours or overnight, if you wish.
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Rinse pork with cold water and place in medium roasting pan.
Rub salt on center and liquid smoke, if desired. Add water. Cover pork with banana leaves and cover roasting pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 2-3 hours, or until meat is soft.
Remove foil and banana leaves. Debone and shred pork; add more salt, if needed.

Additional Tips

Add the juices from the pan to the shredded pork to help keep it moist. Serve with guava jam.

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