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Apr 28, 2006 06:06 PM

Calling Will Owen!

  • n

Hi Will,
Your oven-baked pork shoulder recipe that features liquid smoke has been getting raves recently. Could you please re-post this recipe with the oven temp, brand of liquid smoke you used, time per pound (or total time for the size you used), and is it baked wrapped in foil?

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  1. Below is the link to the recipe posted last year.

    To save the trouble of clicking the link, I've copied his message here. The "I" in the following is Will Owen, not me (JT)

    "I've tried a lot of slow-cooked pork recipes, but I think my alltime favorite is the Kalua Pig recipe from "The Food of Paradise," by Rachel Laudan. Hers goes like this:

    4 pounds pork butt
    2 Tbs salt
    2 Tbs liquid smoke
    1 banana leaf
    4-6 ti leaves

    "Score the roast on all sides and rub with the salt and liquid smoke. Wrap in the banana leaf. remove the ribs from the ti leaves and wrap them over the banana leaf, tie securely. Wrap the whole parcel in foil and refrigerate overnight. Next day roast at 350 degrees for 4 hours in a pan with water in the bottom, Remove fat from the pan and open the package. Shred the pork with your fingers..."

    You can get ti leaves from most florists - banana leaf from Latino or Asian markets. When I made this in Nashville I had no ti leaves - I just wrapped the banana leaf around and tied it with twine. I also used the smaller size of roasting bag. I set it on a rack over the water in the pan, and cut slits in the bottom. I also cooked it at 300 for five hours, and it might have done even better at 275 for six.

    Don't use leg meat, either hind leg or arm - the muscles are too lean and stringy. Shoulder butt is what you want, preferably bone-in. I like to get mine in the big double-bag Family Packs at Food 4 Less...hey, it freezes very well! And use coarse Kosher salt (now, isn't THAT ironic?), unless you can find the Hawaiian salt"


    5 Replies
    1. re: Joel Teller

      Thanks so much!
      I do have some questions for you and Will. Does the brand of liquid smoke matter? A "roasting bag" is mentioned in the second paragraph. Does this refer to the aluminum bag/leaf package, or is there one of those clear film roasting bags they sell in the supermarket involved? If so, does the whole aluminum foil plus the leaves go into it? The recipe is called "Kalua" Pork. Is Kahlua liquer involved? Ti leaves, I've never seen them - never even heard of them. Does the banana leaf and ti leaves actually add flavor, like an herb? I've never noticed any real flavor from the banana leaves I've had wrapped around some tamales. If ti leaves add flavor and you couldn't find them is there any substitute that would give a similar flavor?
      Joel, can you add any insights from your own experience?

      1. re: Niki Rothman

        Ti plant is sometimes (though I haven't seen it in recent years) sold stateside as a tropical ornamental (house) plant. Strap-like dark green arching leaves off a central crown. Have you tried Hawaiian or Asian markets near you? They may be able to special order you from their Asian food distributors.

        1. re: toodie jane

          I have never cooked anything like this pork.

          I simply used the CH search feature via Google because I am a geek.

        2. re: Niki Rothman

          Kalua is a town in Hawaii. Kalua pork or Kalua pig is a traditional recipe though Will's is an untraditional method. Ti leaves can be found in the SF Bay Area, and like banana leaves, they do impart an herbal flavor.

          1. re: Niki Rothman

            hello, just my $.02, there's an old fashioned brand, colgin, of hickory liquid smoke, made in Dallas, ingredients are water, natural hichory smoke flavor, vinegar, flavoring, and brown sugar, tht might meet the ingenious kentuckian's (maestro owen, I think he's based in So.Cal.?) approval. Not sure where to buy it around here.
            You may have seen ti leaves without knowing what they were, if you've gone for dim sum in the city--a sticky rice w.sausage and shitake mixture gets stuffed inside a bundled leaf and steamed (similar idea to the tamale), sometimes it has a pyramidial appearance. That filling actually became converted to Chinese-american turkey stuffing at Thanksgiving. The Chinese shops in the city that sell prepared foods to go, roast poultry and pork and such, sometimes sell this dish, so you should be able to find the leaves in chinatown or out in the Richmond; a 'hound with Chinese home cooking expertise(like Yimster sensei) will be able to point the way. cheers

        3. I thought this recipe was called for you to wrap in aluminum foil?

          Is it cooked for an hour a pound?

          I am dying to try this, but don't want it done wrong.

          Does Will Owen still post here? Thx.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mcel

            Hi I found this thread looking for pull pork recipes. I have a great Kalua Pork recipe that has gotten a lot of compliments.

            5-6 lb pork butt
            2 Tbs of Liquid Smoke (Hickory)
            2 Tbs of Hawaiian Sea Salt (Course Sea Salt if you can't find Hawaiian)
            Banana Leaves

            Score the pork and rub the sea salt on all sides. add liquid smoke to the pork and wrap with banana leaves. Throw the pork wrapped in banana leaves in a crock pot and cook for 20 hours. The crock pot recreates the cooking method of cooking w/hot stone! I have made this recipes for parties and it always disappears.

          2. I'm not Will Owen, nor have I made pork butt. But I found a link (below) on a similar discussion which might answer some of these questions.

            Is there a beef version of pulled pork? Most of the people I live with don't eat pork, and was wondering whether there was a beef equivalent...


            12 Replies
            1. re: Gooseberry

              From a barbeque perspective, beef brisket offers the high fat, high-connective tissue, that is found in pork shoulder. But the muscle grains are longer, which is why bbq beef is served as "chopped" rather than "pulled". I do both pretty much the same way - dry rubbed and smoked for 12 or more hours at 225 in my smoker. The brisket can be cooked until it is falling apart and chopped, or cooked somewhat less, then sliced. I prefer the point cut because it is fattier and doesn't dry out as much. If I buy a whole brisket, I will cut it in half and use the flat side as a "Jewish" style brisket (braised) and the point for barbecue. The flat can also be brined, coated with a rub (different from a straight bbq rub), then smoked for 6-8 hours (not until it falls apart), at which point I will seal it and put in the fridge for a week or longer. When ready to eat, I braise this for 2-3 hours - it is some of the best pastrami in the world.

              1. re: applehome

                The closest equivalent for pulled pork in the beef world is chuck roast or chuck roll. Chuck roll is a HUGE piece of meat (sometimes almost 15 pounds). Essentially it is a massive piece of chuck shoulder roast. If you are cooking for a very, very large crowd, it's a great way to go. If you are cooking for a smaller crowd, go with a chuck roast.

                chuck roll (or chuck roast) is very similar to pork butts because both have a similar fatty composition. When you cook a chuck roast, assume a longer cooking time than you would for pork. When I smoke a chuck roast, it takes me almost 3 hours per pound (at around 225-240 degrees in the smoker). I also find it to be a little greasier, so go to a higher internal temperature than you would with pork butt (pork butt is most commonly cooked to 195. I take chuck roast to 200 or 205 so it will render a little more fat). Also, I cook it in foil for the last 25 degrees. If you do decide to do that, I poke some holes at the bottom to let the fat drip out.

                It tastes wonderful.

                As applehome said, you can also use a brisket point, but depending on the part of the country you find yourself, you may find trouble finding a brisket point. I happen to prefer chuck roast for "pulled" or chopped beef. But either works.

                - Adam

                1. re: adamclyde
                  Bac kyardChef

                  Absolutely agree with this. We usually cryovac a couple of bags of pulled or chopped chuck when we fire up the smoker-- great in chili and other applications.

                  1. re: adamclyde
                    Niki Rothman

                    Thanks, Adam! A chuck roast is a great idea. But I don't have a smoker or BBQ grill (no yard/no deck). What got me started on this pulled meat idea was that Will Owen's recipe is done with liquid smoke in the oven, and Mochi-Mochi's uses a slow cooker (which I do have). Got any ideas regarding a chuck roast of brisket with those methods and liquid smoke?

                    1. re: Niki Rothman

                      rub w/ your spices, a little liquid smoke or adobo sauce from chipotles (or both, but not too much) to add a smokey tang, cover and into a low oven (250 or so) for about 1hr/lb overnight is easy peasy. Use the ole fork twist test. Pick a flat that has a fair amount of fat throughout or a well-marbled chuck roast. If you want it to fall apart faster, add a little broth or dark beer to help it steam up/braise.

                      1. re: BackyardChef
                        Niki Rothman

                        Thanks! This sounds right. Flat end of brisket or chuck roast - I guess I would brown them stovetop first, quickly. rub with liquid smoke, salt, garlic powder. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil. But, about the timing at 250 - you say 1hr/lb. overnight. That would work for like an 8 pound roast - 8 hours, right? Let's say I had a 4 pound roast - just trying to be difficult here. But chuckroasts I tend to see probably are going to weigh about that. How long would you estimate then?

                        1. re: Niki Rothman

                          The chuck actually might take a bit longer than the brisket-- but 1-1.5 hours/lb is a good rule of thumb. I'd go by the feel more than anything else. Once a thermometer goes in w/ little resistance or a fork can go in and twist easily, you're there. I'd guess at 6 hours for the 4lb chuck, but that's just a guess...every cut from every animal behaves a little differently.

                  2. re: applehome

                    I had a question about your smoking technique. I am trying to make pastrami. I brined it for 4 days, dry rubbed it but I don;t have a smoker. so I put some wood chips in a pan, put a pan with holes on the bottom on top of it and put the meat in there. I covered it with foil and put it in the oven for 3 hours at 200F. But i'm not getting the smoke I want. Any suggestions.

                  3. re: Gooseberry

                    I don't eat much pork either. I slow roasted some turkey thighs the other day that came out very tender and moist - the way I think the pulled pork would be. But turkey has a distinct Thanksgiving-y flavor and wouldn't be right for a lot of things pork would be right for making. I wholeheartedly second your question, as I said I'm not much of a pork eater, if there was a cut of beef that would work in this type of preparation - where the strategy would be you'd freeze the cooked meat in packages for later use in, say, mexican dishes, I would really like to know what it is.

                    1. re: Niki Rothman

                      Yes, I saw the turkey thigh link. I start mine off on top of the stove, then transfer to the oven. Very smokey, almost gamey taste. Great in soft tortilla rolls. Mmmm...

                      It's rare that two meats are totally interchangeable. From what I can tell from my extremely limited knowledge of pork and pulled pork, what makes it yummy is:
                      the way it is cooked
                      the long filaments of meat, which prob result from cuts along the grain with a high fat content, suited to slow, hot, moist cooking

                      So many a brisket cut IS the answer... My main concern is that I've got such a tin can grill that it won't maintain fierce heat for long periods of time.

                      1. re: gooseberry
                        Niki Rothman

                        I have no place to grill at all. What appeals to me about this Will Owen recipe is that it's smokey - but from the oven, or Mochi-Mochi's slow cooker method. But you're saying you think a brisket would work with a similar W.O. method? And also, I didn't see any thread about smokey turkey. Can you help me out with that? Maybe you mean the recipe I posted recently about turkey thighs baked on top of stuffing? Did not taste either smokey or gamey to me me - more like Thanksgiving. I wonder if I slow baked turkey thighs with liquid smoke would it stop tasting like Thanksgiving to me, because turkey thighs do have the texture and luscious moistness that you get from pork.
                        Can you please tell me what you did with your turkey thighs to get them smokey tasting?

                        1. re: Niki Rothman

                          I'm trying to think back...

                          I think the answer might involve spanish smoked paprika, and smoked salt. Both wonderful ingredients. Those might have helped, but I'm sure i'm missing something else... could my cast iron skillet have flavoured it differently? Mmmm...

                          Now this is bothering me... might have to get a turkey thigh over the weekend and experiment.

                  4. a link to previous thread....


                    1. I just made Slow Cooker Kalua Pork the other day.
                      Score pork butt (4.0 lbs worth) and sprinkle about 2tbl. kosher salt and 2 tbl. liquid smoke(whatever you have handy) add 2-3 cups water. Cook on high for about 6 hours. The last 2 hours add spinach leaves. I just buy the bag of clean leaves from Costco. Put as much as I can in there. Family likes spinach. I pour off extra liquid.Tastes like a fake Lau Lau without the butterfish. I shred the meat right in the pot and place on the table with cooked rice and some Asian condiments like kim chee, gobo etc. What an easy meal.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mochi-mochi
                        Niki Rothman

                        Sounds great! What do you do with the gobo? It's Japanese burdock root, right?

                        1. re: Niki Rothman

                          Wow, never saw this until today. Sorry Niki. I make kimpira gobo. Spicy, shoyu, sesame oil side dish. If you are still interested I will post the recipe. I usually make it for New Year's, but my family likes it so it's a year round side.