The Road to Kalua Pork

The Road to Kalua Pork comes with a story.  Isn’t that what makes life cool.  This summer Tator, the tot Izzy, and I (for the record Colton did not want to go and no amount of Mama guilt could change his mind) invited Tator’s siblings and families to join of for a vacation of a lifetime in Maui.  They accepted.  So oldest sister Karen, brother Matt and girlfriend Irene, and baby sister Cindi, husband Perry, and adult kids Alex and Amanda joined us.  We rented a log cabin in Makawao on the Sacred Garden Retreat.  There was 10 of us for those of you who didn’t count up as I listed! 😀 Cindi and family and Karen arrived on Thursday and the rest of us arrived Friday.

Saturday morning we embarked on the Road to Hana.  For those who have never been to Maui, oh may what a treat for your eyes.  It is a feast.  Every turn (and there are a LOT of hairpin turns) is a scene that takes your breath away.  It is an all day adventure.  The waterfalls were absolutely breathtaking.  Below you can see my niece Amanda jumping off a water fall and Izzy showing off one. Izzy also conquered her fear and jumped off a waterfall on this trip.

After hours of our eyes feasting on the true beauty of the Road to Hana, our bellies were starting to grumble.  We had made it to the town of Hana when the snacks were cutting it and we were ready for real grub.  After some “googling” we found the place to go.  Top reviews and killer views.  So we set off to find Huli Huli Chicken.  Yep folks it looked just like that.  A tent with tables.  But check out the view.  It was set up at a beach.

So we walked up read the chalkboard menu and ordered.  I ordered Kalua Pork and Mark ordered Hungry Man’s Huli Huli Chicken to share with Izzy.  A feast was about to go down!!! I am here to tell you that was a bite of heaven on a plate.  You can see everyone chowing down.  There was a little hut with a sand floor that we ate our delish lunch.  While we ate Huli Huli Chicken packed up for the day loading their truck and left.  What a great set up.  The kids run around a play while they serve delish grub they have amazing views and then they pack up and go home.

Maui was an amazing vacation and time with family.  Coming home means no breathtaking scenery everywhere you look and no amazing Kalua Pork. So I started googling and researching.  Trying to narrow down the recipe I was going to use and tweak.  Then Tator gave me an Instant Pot for Christmas.  I was so SURPRISED!  It had a recipe for Kalua Pork.  Say what, I can use my new fangled pressure cooker and whip up a feast! Yeah buddy!!

Now to the cooking part of this post!! Are you still with me?????

So pork butts/shoulders are on sale right now! Score!  So I picked up one the other day ready to take on Kalua Pork.  I say that like it is a hard recipe; when you see it in action you will roll your eyes and go sure thing Elizabeth “take it on”.

So the first the instructions to turn your Instant Pot on to Saute and add 3-5 pieces of bacon and cook them.  Next is says to remove the bone and cut into 3 pieces.  Um, I stopped counting after like 10 pieces.  Let’s say it is safe to say I will never be hired as a butcher. I did try and remove as much visible fat as I could.  That was one pot of pork when I was done. I liberally salted it as I added it with Kosher salt.  It calls for Red Himalayan salt, which I was fresh out of.  I will share that one of the notes I read about this recipe said to ease up on the salt because pressure cookers tend to intensify the seasonings.

Next it offers an optional add of garlic cloves.  So I whipped out my garlic peeler and peeled up 5-6 cloves.  Which reminds me; do you know how to tell a male and female clove of garlic apart????  It’s easy.  When you place your garlic in the tube to peel it.  Push down and roll back a couple of times and when you slide out the clove, if it has lost its skin(clothes) and comes out naked it’s a MALE if it still has the skin on it its a FEMALE.  It needs a little sweet talk.  It’s ok baby you can get naked!  I’ll turn out the lights!  Ok…enough of that.

Add the garlic to the pot and every recipe I read suggested adding water.  I added a cup.  I think next time I will cut that back o 1/2 cup. Put the top on and manually set that Instant Pot for 90 minutes.  Then go read a book, yell at your kids, let the dog out, or check my blog to see if I added a new post!  I  made our side dish.  Crashed potatoes.

After 90 minutes I tried to let it “naturally release” I waited very patiently for 20 minutes.  Let me tell you the residents at the Ponderosa were really getting vocal about being hungry.  So after 20 minutes I quick released where I did get a small bath of piping hot pork liquid.  (hence the cutting down the amount of water.  Untwisted the top and OH MY WORDS folks…I don’t think I have words for what I saw.  I scooped it out and then I added a cut up cabbage into the pot with all that delish pot liquor!!! Top back on and 7 minutes to cook cabbage.  I shredded the pork and set the table.  Then we feasted.


Now it was not a true Hawaiian plate cause there was no sticky rice or macaroni salad.  But that Kalua Pork and Cabbage was spot on.  I just needed a beach view and I would have been back to a very happy place.

So there you have it a Moment of Yumminess at the Ponderosa. I hope you will try it!

From the Ponderosa Kitchen to you!

~love, Elizabeth

Queen of the Ponderosa Kitchen



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