Snow Crab Leg Clusters in Garlic Butter

Snow Crab. While not as meaty as our favorite, the King Crab, Snow Crab is sweeter and less expensive. I adore the added garlic-butter flavor that seeps into the meat during the warming process. Unless you live in a coastal town, or get your crab from a large fish tank, all crabs are cooked when they’re caught then quickly flash frozen for transport. You’re basically just heating them up, whether that be with steam, on a grill or in a large pan with lots of butter. Once killed, crab has a very short shelf life and can be dangerous to consume. It’s how you choose to warm the crab that makes a difference in flavor.

I prefer getting my crab from bags of the frozen variety. I’d rather not feel responsible for “killing” a fresh crab in a tank or having someone else end the life of a crab simply because I’ve requested it. Besides, the flash-frozen clusters are much easier to cook up. It’s just a matter of thawing in the refrigerator for several days before implementing the cooking method of choice.

This recipe is intended to feed four adults. Served with a nice Baked Potato and Seared Asparagus and you’ve got the makings for a perfect meal. Be sure to provide the necessary tools needed to crack open the legs and extract the meat as well as a large platter in the center of the table to hold the empty shells. If using, place warm Clarified or Drawn Lemon Butter into individual tins or small ramekins for serving.

What is the difference between Clarified Butter and Drawn Butter? Both have undergone the removal of milk solids and water. However; Clarified Butter is pure butterfat, while drawn butter is not nearly as pure. The milk solids of drawn butter have been skimmed off the top, while clarified butter has been strained. The water of drawn butter has been allowed to separate from the butterfat and is drained off while the water of clarified butter has been cooked to the point of evaporation. Drawn butter requires less cooking time, and retains at least some of the milk solids, giving it that butter flavor we all know. Clarified Butter, pure butterfat, while still possessing butter flavor, lacks some of that “creamy” sensation we associate with butter.

Drawn Lemon Butter
1 lb Unsalted butter
2 Lemons, Zested

Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler over just-barely simmering water, 5 to 7 minutes.

Set the melted butter aside to cool slightly, then skim off and discard the foam that has collected at the top.

Select a heat-proof bowl large enough to hold the remaining melted butter. Zest of two lemons into the bottom of the bowl. Pour melted butter over the zest.

Allow the butter to solidify overnight. Drain off any liquid that collects at the bottom.

Melt the solidified butter in a microwave-safe glass or ceramic bowl, and pour into individual tins or small ramekins before serving.

Clarified Butter
1 1/2 lbs Unsalted Butter

Cut the butter into 1″ pieces. Place the butter in a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium heat. Once the butter has liquefied, decrease the heat to lowest setting then gradually adjust upward as needed to maintain a low boil.

Cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the butter reaches 260 degrees, is clear, and the foam on top is slightly browned. (The browning will add depth to the finished butterfat). The long cooking process will ensure that the water content of the butter has evaporated, leaving only the milk solids (browning at the top) and pure butter oil (below) to contend with.

While many recipes for Clarified Butter tell you to use a ladle to skim the milk solids from the butterfat, this takes time and more patients that most of us possess. An easier technique is to strain the remains of the saucepan through four layers of cheesecloth set over a hand strainer above a heat-proof vessel.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Place Clarified Butter into the refrigerator until ready to use.

Over low heat, melt desired amount of Clarified Butter and pour into individual tins or small ramekins for serving.

Snow Crab Leg Clusters in Garlic Butter
4 pound Snow Crab clusters, thawed
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
4 teaspoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 Cup Unsalted Butter, divided (4 sticks)
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh-Ground Black Pepper to taste
Clarified Butter or Drawn Lemon Butter for dipping, if desired (above)

With a sharp, thin knife cut a slit in each crab leg. Set aside.

Mince garlic cloves, keeping each clove separate to use in batches.

Chop parsley, keeping each teaspoon separate to use in batches

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one stick of butter. Once melted, add half of the garlic (two clove) to the butter until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Sprinkle garlic butter with 1 teaspoon parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Continue to heat seasoned butter mixture until foamy and bubbling, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Add half of crab leg clusters to pan; toss to coat in garlic butter. Allow cluster to simmer until heated through, about 5 or 6 minutes.

Place cluster on a large serving platter; drizzle well with pan liquids. Place platter into a warm oven to hold.

Repeat with remaining butter, garlic, parsley, leg cluster and seasonings.

Add to serving platter, drizzle with garlic-butter.

Serve and enjoy.

Classic Ragù Bolognese with Beef, Veal and Pancetta

So you’ve decided to have a few friends over for a mid-week Italian supper. Great! Pick out a nice bottle of wine, some bread from your favorite bakery and toss a simple salad. All easy stuff. However; a true Ragù Bolognese takes time. Do you leave work early? Not necessarily. This Ragù Bolognese can be cooked up on a Sunday, to be served up on a Wednesday without diluting the rich flavor. If anything, a delay between cooking and eating only increases the elevation of savory goodness.

Some of you might recall my Fettuccine Bolognese (That’s Inexpensive and Easy to Make). Unlike the classic Bolognese, a quick and inexpensive Bolognese relies on jarred spaghetti sauce, pork sausage and bacon. The Classic Bolognese is made with veal and pancetta – two expensive types of meat when compared to pork sausage and bacon. The sauce is made with a beef stock, red wine and tomato paste. I adore both renditions. One is for family, the other for special guests or when I am in the mood to strut my stuff.

To speed up the chopping process, a food processor will make quick work of this. I like to quickly chop the onions, celery and carrots into chunks and toss them together into my food processor fitted with a blade. A few quick pulses and my vegetables are ready to go.

Classic Beef-Veal Ragù Bolognese
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
6 oz. ground beef (85% lean)
6 oz. ground veal
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups (about) beef stock, divided
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 lb. Tagliatelle or other flat wide pasta (preferably fresh egg)
Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Saute until soft, 8-10 minutes.

Add beef, veal, and pancetta; saute, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Note: If too much fat is gathering in the pan, strain off the excess before continuing.

Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. Add 2 1/2 cups stock and tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by 1/4-cupfuls to thin if needed.

DO AHEAD: Ragù can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Transfer ragù to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pasta and toss to coat. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water by tablespoonfuls if sauce seems dry. Draw pasta well through the ragù . Transfer to a nice serving platter and enjoy!

Oklahoma Onion Burger

Onions and burgers go hand in hand. Take Patty Melts with Grilled Onions on Sourdough, the onions are caramelized, and placed on top of a rectangular patty between two slices of grilled bread – a diner staple. At backyard barbecues, plates of lettuce, tomatoes and sliced onions are offered up to accompany all those juicy burgers fresh off the grill. Onions are worked into the raw meat for added flavor before the patties are grilled. No double about it – onions and burgers are a marriage made in heaven. Yum – perfect for a Saturday Burger Night.

img57016735Way back in November of 1926, a major pathway for those migrating west from Illinois to California was U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road. Route 66 was one of the original highways within the Continental United States. It stretched from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California. Route 66 took travelers a total of 2,448 miles. Diners sprung up all along the route to feed all those hungry motorists. In the beginning, people doing business along the route became prosperous. Oh but hard times and the Dust Bowl lay ahead.

Back during the depression, meat of any kind was expensive – even the ground scraps of meat for hamburgers commanded a hefty price. A man named Ross Davis owned a hamburger joint aptly named “The Hamburger Inn”. His place was along route 66 in El Reno, Oklahoma. Mr. Davis needed to cut overhead without necessarily cutting the size of his burgers. He decided if he “smashed” a handful of onion slivers into the ground beef, the amount of meat per burger used could be reduced while the burger’s size appeared unchanged. So it was that the Oklahoma Onion Burger was born.

Today we can create these wonderful burgers without skimping on the meat. I use about a pound and a half of lean ground beef to create four decent sized patties. Most of the recipes for Oklahoma Onion Burgers have you place the patties on the griddle, top with onions and press down on the onions with the back of a spatula to infuse the onions to the burgers.  You can do it that way.  But be warned, you must work quickly since you don’t want to press on the burgers once the juices begin to move about inside the meat or you’ll end up with dry burgers.  I pile the onions on a rimmed baking sheet, form the patties over the onions, then press down to seal the meat with the onions before the burgers ever hit the grill.  The burgers are then cooked onion side down first to allow the onions to caramelize into the meat before flipping over to grill the other side. One thing’s for sure – pass plenty of napkins because these are some of the juiciest burgers around. And the onion flavor is out of this world.

Oklahoma Onion Burger
1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
Seasoning Salt
Garlic Powder to taste
Pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 teaspoon bacon drippings
4 slices of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
4 hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
4 Slices Beef Steak Tomatoes
4 Lettuce Leaves

Peel onion and cut in half to create two “domes”. Lay onion, cut side down, and cut all the way around to create thin slivers. Repeat with second half of onion. Combine onion and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and toss to combine, transfer to a colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cut several layers of cheesecloth, large enough to hold onions in a bundle. Using tongs, transfer onion to cheesecloth, gather edges and squeeze onion dry.

Divide onion mixture into 4 separate mounds on a rimmed baking sheet. Form beef into 4 lightly packed balls and season with seasonings as desired. Place beef balls on top of onion mounds and flatten beef firmly so that the onion adheres and patties measure 4 inches in diameter.

Melt bacon drippings on a griddle over medium heat. Using spatula, transfer patties to griddle, onion side down, and cook until onion is deep golden brown and beginning to crisp around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Flip burgers, increase their heat to medium-high and cook until well browned on the 2nd side, about 2 minutes. Place 1 slice of cheese over each burger, allow to melt.

Spread favorite condiments on buns such as mayonnaise, ketchup and/or mustard. Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom of each bun. Top with onion burger and a slice of tomato. Place top bun into place. If desired, cut burgers in half to make it easier to handle when eating. Serve with plenty of napkins.

Super Easy Chorizo Tacos – The Perfect Food

Who doesn’t like tacos? Just about everyone, right? Tacos are the perfect food. Think about it – all the major food groups are found in a taco. Fruit (tomatoes and avocados), vegetable (lettuce), grain (taco shell – okay, that might be a stretch, but work with me here), dairy (cheese and sour cream) and protein (filling) – yep – it’s all there. There are chicken tacos, beef tacos, fish tacos, shrimp tacos – even bean tacos. Just about anything folded into a warm corn shell can be called “taco”.  (Hey, I’ve even seen Ice Cream Tacos – like a drumstick, only the “stick” is shaped like a taco shell). One of my all time favorites are Chorizo Tacos.

Some people add chorizo to ground beef for a little added “zip” to their tacos. I know I do. But there are times when I skip the ground beef and go straight for the chorizo. When I’m feel particularly ambitions and have the time to invest in the “fermenting” process, I’ll even make my Chorizo from scratch. Yum! When you are hungry for Chorizo Tacos but don’t have time to make the filling from scratch, good Chorizo isn’t hard to find, if you know what you are looking for.

Don't buy.

home-made-chorizo-11There are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to buying chorizo. Do buy bulk whenever possible. Don’t buy chorizo typically found in American markets that is packaged in long plastic tubes. The typical chorizo (usually labeled “Beef” or “Pork”) found in most grocery stores is more fat than meat, and will yield a skillet that is almost entirely hot, orange grease. True chorizo is made with ground pork, so don’t let the beef variety fool you.

Good chorizo will cook up like ground beef, perfect for tacos. Most people drain their ground meat BEFORE adding things such as taco seasoning. I’ll admit, it is the healthier method. While good chorizo (like good quality ground beef) won’t be a skillet of melted fat, there will be some grease in the skillet. I like to add my taco seasoning BEFORE draining the skillet. Why? Because in the grease, there is flavor. By adding the taco seasonings before draining, the season will absorb some of the grease, and thereby retain some of the additional flavor. Let it sit for a few minutes, the drain. It rendered a more flavorful taco filling.

One thing my father taught me was to NEVEREVER drain a skillet into the sink unless you want to eventually clog your pipes with grease build up. Pouring off the grease into a coffee can isn’t always practical or easy. Here’s an easy trick: put a metal colander inside a large metal bowl. Dump the ground meats into the colander and let it drain. You could even press down on the meat with your spatula to drain well. Then dump the meat back into the skillet to keep warm or add other ingredients, and pour the grease collected in the bowl into your coffee can to dispose of later.

Chorizo tacos serve up nicely with all the usual trimmings such as lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and cheese. Unlike ground beef tacos, chorizo tacos also go well with lime wedges and chopped cilantro.

Chorizo Tacos
Ingredients – Taco Filling
2 Lb Bulk Chorizo Meat (the good stuff)
2-3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Chipotle Seasoning
2 tablespoons water
1 Teaspoon Tomato Paste

In a large cast iron skillet, crumble the chorizo meat. Over medium-high heat, brown the meat, breaking it into small pieces as it browns. DO NOT DRAIN right away. Add seasonings to absorb some of the fat (it’s packed with flavor).

Transfer meat to a colander that is inside a large bowl to catch the grease. Using a metal spatula, press down on the meat to squeeze out the excess grease. Once meat has completely drained, return to the skillet. If there are any large pieces remaining, break them into small pieces. Add water and tomato paste, stirring to combine completely. Cover and keep warm until ready to use.

Ingredients – Soft Shell
12 Corn Tortillas
Cooking Spray

Heat a flat griddle over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Lightly spray both sides of corn tortilla and quick fry to soften shell. Stack in a shallow dish or tortilla dish and repeat until all the tortillas are soft-fried.

Ingredients – Taco Garnish
½ Lettuce head, shredded
½ Cup Cilantro, chopped (optional)
¼ – ½ Cup Roasted Jalapeño Peppers, finely chopped
3-4 Tomatoes, chopped
½ lb Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded
½ Cup Sour Cream
Taco Sauce and/or Salsa
Avocado or Guacamole
2-3 Limes, cut into wedges

Chop tomatoes, avocados or whatever else your want as a garnish. Sour cream, grated cheese – it’s all good.

To shred lettuce, stack leafs, roll tight (like a cigar) and slice thin. Perfect every time!

Here’s a great bonus – leftover taco meat is great in scrambled eggs, or used as an omelette filling.


Tropical Cocktails by the Pitcher

Have you ever noticed that nearly all “tropical” cocktails have a common ingredient – rum. Be it Coconut Rum, or Light Rum or Dark Rum – there’s a bottle of rum in there somewhere. It makes sense since rum is made from molasses (a byproduct of sugarcane harvests) that is mixed with cane juice and allowed to ferment.

Up until some very wise person came up with a distilled use for the molasses sometime around 1360, molasses was considered a waste byproduct of converting sugarcane into sugar. The thick goo was simply dumped into the ocean. In the case of Boston many centuries later, the molasses became key in their famous Baked Beans.

One of the simplest “tropical” drinks involves only two ingredients – a shot of Coconut Rum and a glass of pineapple juice. That’s it.  Turns out, if you add champagne you’ve got a Hawaiian Mimosa on your hands.

To get that real tropical feel, don’t forget the fresh pineapples and Maraschino Cherries for garnish – and those fun little paper parasols are always a nice touch.

Note: To mix up these pitcher recipes by the glass instead, simple change cups to ounces.

Wishing everyone a very tropical summer!

Blue Hawaii


Blue Hawaii 
1 Cup Coconut Rum
1 Cup blue curacao
3 Cups Pineapple Juice
1/2 cup sweet and sour
Cocktail Skewers
Fresh Pineapple cubes
Maraschino Cherries

Mix together all the liquid ingredients in a pitcher. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Fill glasses with ice. Pour cocktail mixture into glasses.

String pineapple chunks and cherries on cocktail skewers. Place over rim of glass and serve.

Hawaiian Mimosa

Hawaiian Mimosa

Hawaiian Mimosa 
1 cup Coconut Rum
2 cups Pineapple Juice, cold
1 bottle Champagne
Pineapple, sliced for garnish
Maraschino Cherries, for garnish

In a large pitcher, add 1 cup coconut rum, 2 cups pineapple juice. Gently stir and chill for 1 hour.

When ready to serve, pour an entire bottle of champagne into the pitcher.

To garnish, place pineapple slices and/or cherries to the pitcher or glasses.

Mai Tai


Mai Tai
2 cups dark rum
1 cup light rum
1 cup triple sec
3 1/2 cups no-pulp orange juice
3 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups sweet n’ sour mix
1/2 cup grenadine
Crushed Ice
Maraschino Cherries
Fresh Pineapple Wedges

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or cooler. Stir to mix. Chill for 1 hour.

Fill glasses with crushed ice. Pour Mai Tai mixture over ice.

Garnish with cherries and pineapple.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with Spam

Whenever I tell people I’m making a Hawaiian Macaroni Salad with spaghetti and spam, I always see that same puzzled expression on their faces, usually followed by a very slow, unsure “okay.” I will admit, it is a little different and yet it is usually a big hit. You will always have those hold outs who refuse to see cold spaghetti noodles as anything else except cold spaghetti noodles, not very appealing. The Spam isn’t so much a part of the dish itself as it is a decorative garnish.

Spam is a stable in Hawaiian cooking– served in and with just about anything. The love affair of the Pacific Islands and Spam goes back to World War II. GIs were given Spam as part of their rations. It required no refrigeration, has a long shelf-life and fit nicely into a GI’s pack. During World War II, fifteen million cans of Spam were shipped out to the troops every week. That’s a lot of Spam! Eventually, the salty pressed chopped Ham found its way into the daily diets of the American territories – Guam, Hawaii, the Philippines. Hawaii consumes more Spam than any state in our union. We are talking upward of seven million cans a year. Spam is so popular throughout Hawaii that it’s been nicknamed the “Hawaiian steak” and is even found on the islands’ McDonald’s and Burger King menus. Only in Hawaii can you find the Spam Jam – a celebration of all things Spam held the last week in April. While the Spam in this dish is an optional ingredient it is key to the Salad’s connection to Hawaii.

Have I mentioned that in a prior life, I managed commercial property, and that one of those properties was a food court? Be it because of my love of all things food related or fascination with the restaurant equipment (wooden spoons that could be used to paddle a boat – floor standing mixers that look like home mixers on steroids), I liked hanging out in the commercial kitchens. As a result, many of the owner/chefs eventually became “friends”. Some of my recipes actually came from these hard-working people. My recipe for Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is a great example. It took a while to reduce the recipe to a home version of a salad recipe intended to serve large crowds.

I like to serve this salad alongside my Slow Roasted Kahlua Pig. Both recipes came from the same establishment and were designed to serve together. If you were to do an internet search for Hawaiian Macaroni salad, most of them are similar – using elbow or Macaroni pasta. This recipe uses Spaghetti, setting it somewhat apart from the crowd. I like that. Since I shared my Kahlua Pig with you today, I thought a side in addition to the rice would be nice.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
1 lb Spaghetti Noodles, cooked according to package directions
½ Cup Onion, diced (See note)
1 Bunch Green Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, grated
2 Celery Stocks, diced.
4-5 Hard-Boiled eggs
½ Cup Best Foods Mayonnaise (more if needed)
1 Dollop of Red or Orange Caviar (optional)
1 Can of Spam, cut into strips (Optional)

Note: If desired, reserve the bottom portion of three green onions, white to just below green part. Trim root end while leaving onion intact. Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the white portion, leaving attached to the bulb. Carefully open to create little onion “blooms” for additional garnish to the salad.

Break spaghetti noodles in half and cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse well under cold running water. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine onions, green onions, carrots and celery. Add spaghetti noodles to vegetables and toss to blend.

Chop all but 1 egg, add to salad. With final egg, cut V lines to create a flower. Reserve one half of flower, chop other half and add to salad. Add mayonnaise and fold to coat all the ingredients.

Transfer macaroni salad to serving bowl, smooth out top for a flat finish. Place egg tulip in center of dish, pressing down lightly to keep tulip in place. If desired, for a little added color, place a dollop of caviar in the center of the tulip. Top the finished salad with spam in a spoke-wheel patter from egg. (Note: The Spam and caviar are purely optional but a nice touch). Cover and refrigerate for several hours or until well-chilled.

Slow Roasted Kahlua Pig without the Pit

downloadYears ago, some friends opened a restaurant called “The Teriyaki Hut”. My friends were from Hawaii. Naturally their menu included some island favorites such as Kahlua Pig. I loved the stuff – it was about as close as you can get to the pit-roasted pig without roasted an entire pig beneath a bed of banana leaves and hot coals. I first fell in love with Kahlua Pig at a luau in Maui and then again in Moorea. Traditionally, a pig is roasted for as much as twelve hours in an underground oven called a imu. A fire made from mesquite wood is build in the pit. Rocks are placed in the pit to retain the heat long after the flames of wood has burned down. Once the rocks are heated, the pit is lined in banana leaves, just as the meat is wrapped in the same leaves. Wet burlap buries everything in the ground, allowing the smoke to circulate while the leaves help keep everything moist. While this dish is a tourist favorite at luaus throughout Hawaii and the South Pacific, it is no less delicious and well worth a taste.

Needless to say, I had to have their recipe. (And just as a side note, their venture into the restaurant business failed miserably. While the brothers were skilled in the kitchen, turning out authentic Hawaiian dishes that were fabulous, they lacked any sort of business sense. To succeed in any business, one must have at least some business sense or money enough to surround oneself with people who do.) Anyway, my friends were more than willing to share their recipe for Kahlua Pig. It was unbelievably easy – the pork is slow roasted in the oven with chicken broth, liquid smoke and Alaea Hawaiian Clay Salt. Since the pork is cooked in a 300 degree oven for 4-6 hours, it wasn’t something I made in the summer, as the kitchen got far too warm. The only change I made to their recipe is the use of banana peels. While we don’t have access to banana leaves where I live, I find the use of banana peels aids in the slow roasting process, imparting a sweet tropical flavor while aiding in the whole smokey steam thing. Don’t worry that the banana peel will eventually turn black. During the final cooking, simply toss the peel as it won’t be a part of the final presentation.

One day while surfing the net, I came across a recipe for Slow Cooker Kahlua Pork at Her recipe was similar to mine. The biggest differences were that she used a pork butt cooked in a crock pot and the recipe did not include chicken broth. Mine was a pork tenderloin, slow roasted in the oven with chicken broth to keep the meat moist right from the start. We both use liquid smoke and Alaea Hawaiian Clay Salt.

She poked holes in the meat, rubbed it with salt, then the liquid smoke. The pork butt was then placed in a crock pot set on low and cooked for 10-12 hours, turning mid-way through and basted with the juices in the pot. My tenderloin was scored, rubbed with salt, then sprinkled with liquid smoke. It was then placed in a clay roasting pan with enough chicken broth to come half way up the roast. After about 2 hours, mine was broken up, spread out and continued to cook, pulling out every 30 minutes or so to break up the meat and spread out until it was fully shredded.

The more I thought about it, the more I was sure that I could make my Kahlua Pig in the crock pot, skipping the turning mid-way, skipping the basting, and totally foregoing the periodic shredding. It was an experiment that turned out to be a huge success. There are subtle differences in flavors. I do find the flavor of the slow roasted pork to be closer to the real deal buried in a pit, but the slow-cooker method is a very close second. I’ve decided to share both recipes and let you decide.

Alea Hawaiian Clay Salt

I cannot stress this enough – DO NOT reach into your spices and pull out table salt, regular sea salt or kosher salt. You cannot substitute the Alaea Hawaiian Clay Salt with anything else. While sea salt is normally a silver-white crystal, Alaea Hawaiian Clay Salt is a glorious reddish-brown. Alaea Hawaiian Clay Salt is naturally processed by hand, and mixed with the traditional volcanic rich clay of Hawaii. The clay is a big part of the salt, making it rich in iron and about 80 other minerals the human body needs to function properly. It comes from the salt farms of Molokai, the tiniest and least developed of the Hawaiian islands. Both the ocean where the unrefined sea salt is collected and the alaea clay are pure, devoid of industrial pollutants. Imagine, a salt that is good for you! You can buy the salt in small bags at World Market, or order it on-line. Personally, I think Alaea Clay Salt plays a huge role in the flavor of the pork. Be it the oven method or the crock pot method, this salt is a must.

Method One: Crock Pot

Kahlua Pig in a Crock Pot
1 (4 lb) Pork Tenderloin
2-3 Tablespoons Alaea Hawaiian Clay Salt
3-4 Tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
1 Can Chicken Broth
Sticky Rice for serving
1 Head Green Leaf Lettuce, for serving (optional)

Score pork with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern.

Rub salt over and into the pork.

Wash your hands well. Place your index finger over the opening of the liquid smoke bottle. Lightly sprinkle the pork with the liquid smoke. Rub over and into the meat. Turn pork over, score, then repeat with the salt and smoke.

Place roast in a slow cooker.

Pour in enough chicken broth to come about half way up roast.

Cover, and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours.

Shred meat using a large carving fork. As it shreds, the pork will absorb most of the liquid, making it both flavorful and moist. If all the juices are absorbed, add a little more chicken broth. You’ll want some liquid when serving. Allow pork to continue to simmer in the wonderful juices while the rice is cooking.

Method Two: Clay Pot Roasting

Slow Roasted Kahlua Pig in Clay Roaster
2 lbs Pork Loin
2 Can Chicken Broth
Liquid Smoke to taste (about 1-2 tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon Alaea Salt or to taste
4 Banana Leaves or 1 Banana Peel (optional)
Sticky Rice for serving
1 Head Green Leaf Lettuce, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.

Score pork on both sides. Rub about a handful of Alaea Salt over entire pork loin. Take care not to over-salt, seasoning can always be adjusted during final cooking process. Sprinkle pork with liquid smoke – simply place your finger over the bottle opening and gently shake over entire pork loin.

Place seasoned pork in a clay pot with a lid. Drape banana leaves or banana peel over top of pork. Add chicken broth to pot, cover and place in the oven to “roast”.

Cook undisturbed for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Discard banana leaves/peel and break pork apart using a fork.

Reduce oven to 300-degrees. Continue to cook covered, checking periodically and flaking meat with a fork.

Add additional chicken broth if necessary to keep pork moist. Cook until meat falls apart easily, about 1 ½ to 2 hours longer. When the pork is nearly finished, taste and adjust seasonings (adding small amounts of salt and/or liquid smoke as needed). Be gentle when adding more salt or smoke – you can always add more, but you can’t take back too much.

Remove from oven, pull apart using large fork. Cover and let rest in pot to soak up remaining liquid, about 10 minutes. Serve with rice.

A nice presentation would be to line a serving platter or individual plates with lettuce leaves. Top leaves with sticky rice, and serve pig over rice. Drizzle with a little juice and garnish with a pretty tropical flower. If you are unsure of the flower, use an artificial one. Just be sure to wash well first.

kalua-pig- 3