Kalua Pig

When I was first diagnosed, the nurse practitioner recommended that I go to a class on lymphedema.  I had one of my friends come with me.  I’m finding that not only do I need to have people help me, but that they want to.  It helps them feel a part of this and it makes them feel good.  So I have been asking various people to come with me on my appointments, so it isn’t a burden for any one person.  In the process it is helping me get closer to my friends.

Anyway, in this class we learn all about lymphedema which is a condition you can get when the lymph nodes have a blockage. It causes swelling that is not reversible.  With the breast surgery they will do a lymph node removal and this will cause an imbalance in the lymphatic system.  The body is a great system and will usually rebalance things with out any issues.  However, this imbalance can cause the lymphedema to appear and I will always be susceptible for the condition going forward.  To help manage my risk I need to be careful about things that cause swelling.  Which are things like travel, extreme heat, extreme cold, tourniquets.  So how this translates to practical life:  I should avoid hot tubs, no blood can be drawn from my left arm, or blood pressure taken, and when I travel I have to wear a compression sleeve.  It’s again a bit scary and seems that I will be managing this beyond just the normal surgery issues.  Not so happy, so let’s move on to food.

Kalua pig is a traditional Hawaiian dish.  It is traditionally a whole pig that is cooked in an imu or an underground oven.  An oven is dug up and then wood and lava rock are placed inside.  The pig is wrapped in taro leaves, placed in the oven and covered with more lava rocks where it is cooked for 8-10 hours.  Once removed, the pig is shredded and served.

Well there are a few problems for a home cook to make this dish.  One I am making this for a dinner party of 12, so don’t need a whole pig.  I also live in an apartment so I can’t dig up the ground and cook this.  I settle for an easier version of the dish.  It isn’t traditional, but tastes just as good.

In a roasting pan I add tin foil long enough to wrap around the pork.  Then layer the bottom with spinach leaves (I couldn’t find ti leaves).  The leaves don’t matter much because you don’t really eat them.  It is more for wrapping to keep the moisture in as the meat cooks.  Then place the pork on the spinach leaves and pour the marinade of salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ginger garlic, and liquid smoke on the pork.



Then wrap with leaves to cover the pork.



After wrap the meat in tin foil.  As soon as it has marinated overnight I pop it in the oven and let it cook for 4 hours.


Then shred the meat and it is delicious!  Smoky, silky, tender pork.



Kalua Pig
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 inch slice ginger, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
  • 4 lbs pork butt
  • Large green leafs (ti, spinach, swish chard, etc)
  1. Mix together salt, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ginger garlic, and liquid smoke.
  2. Cover roasting pan with tin foil.  Tin foil should fold over and be longer as it will be used to cover pork.
  3. Layer bottom of the tin foil with leaves.
  4. Place pork in pan and pour in the marinade.
  5. Cover pork with leaves until totally covered.
  6. Cover pork with tin foil and marinate over night.
  7. Bake in oven at 325º for 4-5 hours.
  8. Unwrap and shred pork.




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