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Kalua Cow 
7th-Aug-2006 10:03 pm
Food: Spam musubi
[Whoops; I meant to post this to what_a_crock; that’s why it’s so detailed and didn’t name the other people mentioned until I edited it. But hey, maybe some of you care, so I’ll leave it mostly as-is.]

Some time ago I stumbled across this recipe for crockpot Kalua Pig. Kalua Pig is a Hawai‘ian dish which was traditionally made by salting a pig (with sea salt made by evaporation), wrapping it in leaves, and burying it in an imu or fire pit and cooking it for a stunningly long time.

The crock-pot version of Kalua Pig is dead easy: Prick a pork roast all over, rub kosher salt and liquid smoke seasoning into it, and cook it in the crockpot on low for 20 hours, turning it once. (“Turning” the pork after ten hours in the crockpot ends up being more like “stirring” it. And since my crockpot has a timer that only goes up to ten hours, I restart the crockpot when I turn the meat.) You don’t add any additional liquid; the juices melt out so that after ten hours, or even fifteen, it’s clearly meat in liquid, but by the end of 18 or 20 hours, all the liquid has gotten reabsorbed and the meat is really, really soft, juicy, and tender — and of course smoky and salty, so it has the flavour of ham. (cathijosephine and I typically serve it over bread with some minced roasted garlic and/or a little butter on it; the salty juices soak into the bread and make it yummy.)

Well, I decided to try making “Kalua Cow”. (Maybe Kalua Kow?) Exact same procedure, but start with a beef roast rather than a pork roast. I used a shoulder roast.

It came out really well. It didn’t end up as soft (almost mushy) as the pork does, but it sure was yummy! The Kalua Pig you could easily eat without putting your dentures in; the Kalua Cow you actually have to chew a little bit, but it does get very tender. It doesn’t seem to need as much salt as the pork does, but then I usually put in more salt than the recipe linked above calls for. docorion put lots of pepper on his, and I think the next time I make it (if I’m making it for people who like pepper) I’ll add lots of pepper at the beginning, in with the salt, and see how that goes. Might also try adding a little bit of vinegar to make the beef even softer.

And both Kalua Pig and “Kalua Cow” are really good for making big batches and dividing into lots of lunch-sized portions.
8th-Aug-2006 01:18 pm (UTC)
I am amused that the recepie for pig specifies Kosher salt. :-)
8th-Aug-2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
Indeed! I think the original recipe I saw said “Hawai‘ian salt, and if you can’t find it you can use kosher salt”. Reminds me of a thought I had on Sunday night. darxus and cathijosephine and I had had a huge breakfast of yummy bacon and then collapsed for a nap. I was thinking later about the fact that that much yummy bacon would be enough to cause an invading army to doze off, contentedly patting their bellies. Then the idea very briefly popped into my head that perhaps thick-sliced maple-flavoured bacon would be the solution to the fighting in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Israel.

Um, no. Massive airlifts of bacon in that area likely to exacerbate tensions rather than calm them.

Oh, well, it was a thought...
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