Gracie’s Kalua Pork Recipe

marinated pork shoulders

Four, seasoned pork shoulders ready to roast!

Pork Shoulders in La Caja China

Coal on La Caja China

Roasting pork shoulders

La Caja China working its magic

Cooked Kalua pork shoulders

Cooked Kalua Pork Shoulders

Babys first Luau

Even the toughest of critics agree of the great taste!

Hawaiian-style pig cooked con La Caja China

This recipe is for pork shoulders and it is inspired by Sam Choy. He is an influential chef of the Islands, we strongly recommend his cookbooks. This recipe brings a Hawaiian spin to a Cuban tradition.

For Gracie’s Sweet Kalua Pig

  • 5-6lb pork shoulder (I prefer the “Boston-butt” cut)
  • 1 quart Perk’s Mojo (see below)
  • ½ cup Stubbs Mesquite Liquid Smoke
  • ½ cup sea-salt
  • 2 Tbs garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs red pepper flakes
  • 15 oz canned sliced peaches in heavy syrup
  • 16 oz apricot & pineapple preserves
  • 12 oz peach preserves
  • 1 can pineapple rings, in juice
  • 4 oz macadamia nuts, crushed

Inject the pork with mojo and marinate overnight. Then, allow pork to come to room temp just before roasting. Brush pork liberally with liquid smoke, then rub all over with sea-salt, garlic, and 1 Tbs of red pepper flakes. Place shoulder(s) in La Caja China (fat down in roasting pan) and roast to an internal temp of 190d.

Remove pan from La Caja China, and allow pork to cool/rest 30 minutes. Then chop (or pull) pork, discarding bones, and return to pan. Brush heavily with glaze, sprinkle with macadamia nuts, and return to La Caja China. Check every five minutes until browned to your liking. Then decorate the top with pineapple rings and peach slices in a “sunburst” pattern. (Dang – I wish I’d gotten pictures!)

Serve with Hawaiian rice, Choy’s Traditional Lomi Lomi salad, and/or a tropical fruit salad.


Combine liquid smoke, canned peaches (with syrup), apricot/pineapple preserves, peach preserves, and remaining red pepper flakes. Simmer one hour over medium-low heat. Cool to room temp.

Perk’s Mojo

  • ½ cup minced garlic (the wet stuff.)
  • ¼ cup fine sea salt
  • 1/8 cup black pepper, fine ground
  • 2 Tbs dried Oregano
  • 2 quarts orange juice
  • 1 quart lemon juice
  • 1 quart pineapple juice

Mix all. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Set aside 4 cups of mojo for later use. Inject pig immediately, and refrigerate 24 hours. Add 1 cup of Stubb’s mesquite liquid smoke to reserved mojo and use to baste pig before lighting the coals, just before turning, and again after turning.

Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying my baby-girl’s first birthday party, that I forgot to take any pictures of the finished product…which is a shame, ‘cause it was a beautiful spread.

I chopped the pork and returned it to the pans, then slathered the top of each with a peach-pineapple glaze (see below), sprinkled that with crushed macadamia nuts, and then returned the pans to the Caja China for another 10 minutes to brown the glaze…

Yeah, it was as good as it sounds. Still, if a pic is worth a thousand words, look at the baby enjoying her first luau.

This excerpt was contributed by Perry Perkins. Check out more of his barbecue ideas on his blog.