Going Hawaiian Style: Kalua Pork and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad…..

My most favorite part of a Luau is the Kalua Pig. Kalua Pig is a whole pig that has been slow roasted in an a pit in the ground (called an imu) stuffed with very hot rocks, wrapped in Ti and banana leaves, then covered with wet burlap, buried in the sand and left to cook for several hours. It’s to die for and you will never find pork like that outside of Hawaii. It’s the wood they use, it’s the Ti leaves, and it’s the atmosphere it’s cooked in that makes it simply wonderful.

While I would love to attempt to cook a pig in a traditional imu, I’m pretty sure it’s against some type of homeowner’s association rules not to mention digging a large hole in my rocky, sticky, clay soil is just about impossible without heavy equipment.

Besides I’m throwing a big party, but not big enough for the whole hog. So I’m simplifying things and doing a bone in pork butt (which is actually a shoulder) that I’m cooking it in my smoker with mesquite wood and you are not going to believe how easy this is….

Hawaiian Kalua Pork


1 Large Bone In Pork Butt (shoulder) 7-9 pounds

4-6 Banana Leaves, thoroughly washed*

1/4 Cup Alea (Hawaiian Red) Sea Salt **


Let the pork come up to room temperature while you get the smoker going.

Get your smoker going (according to your manufactures directions) with mesquite charcoal and chunks of mesquite wood.

To smoke something big start early in the morning… I was up at 4am

Thoroughly dry the pork, poke a few holes all over with a sharp knife then generously rub in the red Hawaiian sea salt.

*I had my grocery store produce manager order the Banana leaves for me, they were about $1 per pound.

Wrap the pork up in the banana leaves and tie it up like a little package to secure the leaves.

I used some of the banana fibers to tie this package up…. I couldn’t find my kitchen twine…

Then wrap the package up tightly with foil.

With a knife poke a few holes in the top of the package (only on the top) then place the pork on the smoker and let it cook at a temperature between 200-225. Smoke the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees (about 8-10 hours I said it was going to be easy but I didn’t say it would be fast). Once the internal temperature is reached remove the pork from the smoker to a large deep pan cover with more foil and allow it to rest for 30 minutes -1 hour.



Then shred it up and serve with Hawaiian BBQ sauce and a big scoop of Macaroni Salad.


* I purchased my Alea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt from World Market.

** If you don’t have a smoker this can also be done in an oven heated to 325 using liquid smoke to replace the smoker cook until the bone falls out tender. This can also be done in a crockpot set to low for 18-20 hours until extremely fork tender. (I’ve never been good with a crockpot though.)

While you are waiting for the pork to cook let’s make the Hawaiian Macaroni Salad….

Macaroni Salad is to Hawaii what Potato Salad is to the South. In Hawaii, the macaroni salad is always served on a Hawaiian Plate lunch right next to the steamed rice. What I love about this salad is the longer it sits the better it gets and anything I can make the day before a party is a winner in my book!


Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

adapted from Hawaii Magazine


1 pound Elbow Macaroni

½ A Medium Sized Sweet Vidalia Onion (or Maui Onion if you can find one), Grated

¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1½ + ¾ Cups Hellman’s Mayonnaise

1 + ¼ Cup Whole Milk

1 Teaspoon Sugar

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Large Carrot, Grated (about ¾ cup)

1 Large Rib of Celery, minced

2 Green Onions, Minced

Salt & Pepper (to taste)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, pour in the pasta and cook 1 minute past the recommended time for “al dente” it’s the Hawaiian way, about 9 minutes.

Meanwhile grate the sweet Vidalia Onion on a box grater onto a small plate or bowl.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and return the hot pasta to the pot. Stir in the grated onion and all the juices along with the ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar. Set to the side and allow the hot pasta to absorb the flavors (If the pasta looks a little dry add just a splash more vinegar, and occasionally stir) while mixing up the dressing.

In a medium-sized bowl whisk together:

1 ½ Cups Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

1 Cup Whole Milk

1 Teaspoon Sugar

1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Pour the dressing over the pasta and stir to combine, then cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. This is going to give the pasta time to absorb all the dressing.

While the salad chills and absorbs the dressing whisk together the remaining ingredients:

¾ Cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

¼ Cup Whole Milk

1 Large Carrot, grated (about ¾ cup)

1 Large Rib of Celery, minced

Pour over the chilled salad, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hour but overnight is best.

Posted by

My name is Melody and I am the cook and blogger behind Meals With Mel. I have a love for traveling, I share a joy for gardening, and I have a passion for cooking. Although I do some baking, I don't consider myself a baker as I can't stand having to measure. When it comes to cooking my philosophy is add a bit of this, a dash of that, a splash of something doesn't hurt, never forget some type of pepper and always add at least one clove of garlic. Thanks for stopping by my Spicy Texas Kitchen and I hope to see you again!!! Melody

10 thoughts on “Going Hawaiian Style: Kalua Pork and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad…..

    1. Thanks Stefan!! I’m thought 190 was really high too… I’ve never smoked or cooked pork shoulder by internal temperature before I just cooked it until the bone was falling out. But since this was all wrapped up I couldn’t see the bone and had to go by temp, and everything said 190 to 200. I guess the were right because the pork was so tender it melted like butter 🙂


      1. I’d be worried the pork would become dry at such a high temperature, but if the meat is nicely marbled the fat will compensate for that. I cook pork shoulder sous-vide for 48 hours at 135 degrees. It does become tender that way, but more like medium pork tenderloin and not flaky or falling off the bone. Very tasty!

        Liked by 1 person

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