Luau Kalua Mock Buried Pork

Luau Kalua mock buried pork

This recipe is a great way to pull off that tender Kalua pork without the whole digging a giant hole, creating a fire pit and burying your pork parts. This method does require an 8- to 10-quart cast-iron Dutch oven with a cast-iron lid; a charcoal chimney; and a charcoal grill with a lid large enough to fit your Dutch oven into.

Total: 10 hr 45 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 10 to 12 servings



  • One 10-pound bone-in pork shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 16-ounce package frozen banana leaves, thawed (or fresh if you’ve got em)


  • 16 ounces shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 Fresno chiles, seeded and sliced
  • 2 medium mangos, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium bunches scallions, white and light green parts chopped
  • 1 pineapple, finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • Two 12-count packages Hawaiian sweet rolls or potato dinner rolls, split


  1. Season the pork shoulder generously with salt and pepper. Lay the pork in the middle of a banana leaf and wrap the leaf around it. Rotate the pork a quarter turn and wrap with another leaf. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Wrap with heavy-duty foil twice to make sure it is completely encased. Line the bottom of an 8- to 10-quart cast-iron Dutch oven with a cast-iron lid with a damp paper towel. Put the pork on the paper towel and cover with the lid. Set aside.
  2. Fill a charcoal chimney completely full with charcoal and light it. Once it is lit and starting to ash over, carefully move the chimney to a heatproof surface. Remove the top grilling rack of a kettle-style charcoal grill (you will not need it for grilling). Put the Dutch oven in the middle of the bottom grate of the grill. Put unlit charcoal pieces all around the Dutch oven and then empty the chimney on top of it. Using metal tongs, spread out the hot coals so they are on top of the Dutch oven as well as all around the sides (depending on the size of your grill you may need to add another chimney full of charcoal). Keep the grill uncovered and fully vented for 10 to 15 minutes to get the unlit coals started. Then put the lid on and close the bottom and top vents about 90% of the way. Cook the pork, checking every so often to make sure the grill is still hot and the temperature is hovering around 250 degrees F (add more lit charcoal as needed to maintain temperature), until completely tender, about 10 hours. 
  1. For the coleslaw: Meanwhile, combine the coleslaw mix with the rice vinegar, chiles, mango, scallions, pineapple and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate while the pork cooks, at least 2 hours. You can also prepare the slaw the day before.
  2. Carefully remove the Dutch oven from the ashes. Remove the lid and use scissors to cut an X through the top of the foil and banana leaves, all the way to the meat. Shred the meat with 2 forks, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine the meat with the juices. 


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