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.