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Friday, October 30, 2009

Recipe for Kalua Pig with Cabbage

Updated 30 October 2009
Originally posted 13 June 2007

This recipe for Hawaiian Kalua Pig with Cabbage calls for simply roasting a pork shoulder in an oven bag. No heavy lifting involved!

Kalua Pig with Cabbage

Kalua Pig with Cabbage

When Annie and I got married in Hawaii, one of my groomsmen made kalua pig for the big banquet after the wedding. Real kalua pig, cooked in an imu in his backyard the night before the wedding. Instead of coming to my bachelor party, the guy stayed up late to tend to the pig. That was a special wedding meal!

We don't have a pit in our backyard in San Jose but we still like to enjoy Hawaiian-style kalua pig and cabbage every now and then. For our Ultimate Hawaiian Backyard Lu’au, we made our kalua pig the night before. We shredded the pork and reserved the juices from the bag too cook the cabbage on the day of the lu’au.

Recipe for Kalua Pig with Cabbage


1, 5lb pork shoulder
2 Tbsp Hawaiian sea salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 slices ginger
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 heads cabbage (or more), chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 325*F.
2. Place the pork shoulder in an oven roasting bag.
3. Add all the ingredients to the bag and massage it in to the shoulder.

Seasoning Kalua Pig

4. Seal the bag and place it in a roasting pan. Cut a few holes in the top of the roasting bag to allow steam to escape.
5. Pour some water into the pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the pan.
6. Insert a remote probe thermometer through one of the holes in the bag and into the center of the pork shoulder. Set the target temperature for 195*F.
7. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the shoulder reaches the target temperature.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the pork to cool.
9. Remove the pork from the oven bag, but reserve the juices from the bag in a stock pot. Refrigerate the stock.

Kalua Pig jus

10. Shred the pork shoulder using a couple of forks. The pork should shred fairly easily, but you can also chop up some of the tougher chunks.

Shredding Kalua Pig

11. The next day, you will find that the fat from the pork juices has risen to the top of the juices and congealed. You can now easily remove all the fat.

Kalua Pig fat

12. Bring about half of the reserved juices to a simmer in a large pot or saucepan. Add half the chopped cabbage and cook the cabbage down until softened, then add half the shredded pork.

Cooking Kalua Pig with Cabbage

13. Mix well until the pork has been heated through. Empty the kalua pig and cabbage into a serving tray and cook the remaining stock, cabbage and pork.

Tray of Kalua Pig and Cabbage


Aloha, Nate

Hungry for more Hawaiian food? Click below:

Lomi Lomi Salmon Recipe

Ahi Limu Poke Recipe

Huli Chicken Recipe

Chocolate Haupia Pie Recipe

Mochi Ice Cream from Bubbies (Honolulu)


J said...

Step #11 is only for those with iron clad self control. With the intoxicating aromas filling the house, there's no way we'd be able to wait until the *next day* to eat this! Was this part of the revision, or did I just ignore the original instructions?? =)

I've tried Nate & Annie's recipe several times with great results. I appreciate this recipe because it is far less salty than versions found in restaurants/markets, while still maintaining good flavor. Mm-mm good!

Ram said...

Your Kalua Pig with Cabbage looks so delicious! I'm sorry, I'm not so familiar with pork shoulder is the 5 lbs. bone-in or without? Thanks.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@J - You can cook the cabbage right away in the juices. The refrigeration step is to make it easier to remove the fat.

@Ram - We use bone-in shoulder.

Carolyn Jung said...

That has got to be the world's best groomsman. Man,cooking you suckling pork and staying up all night to do it. That's friendship! ;)

Mrs. L said...

Approximately how long does the pork take to get to 195 degree temp?

Astra Libris said...

Hello, Foodbuzz friends! :-) I'm so happy to finally visit your beautiful blog! I am SO excited to try this recipe - thank you for explaining it so perfectly with all the awesome photos!

French Cooking for Dummies said...

Sounds and looks amazing!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Carolyn - yes, he was and is a good friend.

@Mrs L - 3-4 hours. But times vary from roast to roast so that's why I recommend a probe thermometer.

@Astra - thank you! Be sure and let us know the results!

@FCfD - thanks!

Blessed Homemaker said...

This looks delicious but I haven't got a baking bag nor oven thermometer... Will just have to indulge virtually.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Blessed Homemaker - I suppose you could just wrap the pork in foil, then plastic wrap, then more foil, to keep the moisture in.

For those without a probe thermometer, the cooking time should be around 3.5 hrs.