Sunday, April 12, 2015

Indoor Barbecue: Kalua-Style Pork (Pressure Cooker Style) with a Pineapple-Mango Salsa


Hello friends!  I'm back from my self-imposed little vacation from my blog. To my world of invisible internet friends, one might think that every meal I make is blog worthy. I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but that's just not true.

Every once in a while, I simply lose my cooking mojo, and I resort to making a quick and simple pasta, soup, or some kind of quick skillet dinner.  My camera remains shut off, as I try to get something on the table in 30 minutes or less.  My husband never complains, knowing that I'll be back to trying out new recipes, photographing them, editing and writing and sharing them with all of you-- after he's eaten them, and given me his honest feedback.

I'm always delighted  when my readers write to tell me that they have finally taken the plunge into using a pressure cooker.   Pressure cooking has an undeserved level of fear that it really doesn't deserve.  If more people, who swear that their slow cooker is one of their most beloved cooking method, would try pressure cooking--they would quickly change their minds!  (However, if you want to make this recipe, you could do it in a slow cooker. Just increase the cooking time from one hour to 8 hours.)  See what I mean? Pressure cooking is a real time saver, and my slow cooker gets a little lonely-- though I still use it on occasion.

I have shared several recipes from America's Test Kitchen's cookbook, "Pressure Cooking Perfection".  When I downloaded the book into my kindle, I wasn't sure if I'd make a lot of their recipes. 

I was so wrong!  This will be the seventh recipes I've made, and enjoyed, from this book (you can find my recipe index here.)

If you've ever had genuine Hawaiian barbecued pork, this traditionally involves roasting a suckling pig in a pit with hot rocks, banana leaves and kiawe wood (the Hawaiian version of mesquite).  I don't know about most of you, but this is a lot more work than I'm willing to invest!  In the tradition of America's Test Kitchen, they figured out a way to adapt this recipe so that you can make it at home.
Using a boneless pork butt and a pressure cooker is a perfect solution to achieve really tender meat.  From start to finish, this dinner was ready with about 15 minutes of prep work, and 60 minutes of letting the pressure cooker do the rest of the work.  On a work night, this is a blessing!

To mimic the flavor of wrapping the pork in banana leaves, green tea is mixed with salt & pepper.

 My butcher tied my pork butt roast, which was rubbed with the rub mixture. 

To mimic the smoky flavor, I bought a bottle of liquid smoke.

To 2 cups water, I added 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke. Then I set the pork into the pressure cooker, locked the lid and set it to HIGH for 60 minutes.   That's it! (Note: the pressure cooker said to cook for 90 minutes, but I gambled and reduced the time to 60 minutes.)

While the pressure cooker was doing the work, I decided to make a quick fresh pineapple-mango salsa, with my own tried-and-true recipe.  

Once the pressure cooker beeped, I did a natural pressure release, and carefully opened the lid.  I let the pork roast rest, loosely covered in foil, for 15 minutes.  I was relieved to see that my gamble paid off. Sixty minutes of pressure cooking was sufficient. Whew!

I served the pork over sticky rice with the pineapple-mango salsa.  As you can see, the pork is fork tender. Yay!

TASTING NOTES:  You can't truly compare this recipe to genuine Hawaiian Kalua pork.  There is nothing eating dinner on a warm Hawaiian evening, hearing the sound of the tradewinds rustling through palm trees, Hawaiian slack key music and the beautiful ocean in the background (which we have been blessed to experience).  However, this recipe stands on its own for a few reasons.  For one, it's about as unfussy to make as you could want.  The pork is super tender, and the flavors are reminiscent of Hawaii.  

I did see that America's Test Kitchen's sister website "Cook's Country" has this recipe developed for grill.  Since I subscribe to all of their magazines (Cook's Illustrated, included), I will try this version during our summer months.  On a rainy, cold day-- this is just a little piece of the Hawaiian Islands at your fingertips.

A printable recipe cards is at the very end of this post.


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Velva said...

Life happens. There are times when we need to step away from our blogs and remind ourselves that we own our blogs, our blogs don't own us. I have been missing your great recipes! This pulled pork pressure cooker style looks scrumptious.

Happy spring.


Sue/the view from great island said...

This meal is right up my alley - I really need to get a pressure cooker one of these days!

bellini said...

I can understand the feeing that you have list your cooking mojo. I went on an impromptu picnic this past weekend to rejuvenate my wanderlust soul. More time in the kitchen making delectable dishes like this may have been helpful but feeling a warm breeze by the lake under the boughs does the trick also.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I know what you mean about losing your mojo. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to cook or take photos. Your pork roast looks so delicious, Debby. And I know your salsa would be delicious on a nice piece of grilled halibut. The thought of it makes my mouth water.

Владимир Левченко said...


про чай интересно

Kim said...

I lose my cooking mojo from time to time, but mostly it's the darn picture taking. I get so wore out trying to set the stage, find the right lighting, timing my dish for good lighting...yada yada. It's taxing! Either way, I'm glad you found your mojo again:) ATK has fabulous recipes. I always love to read their recipes and all their tips, tricks and know how for why they do what they do.

My mom recently bought a pressure cooker and we are experimenting with recipes. I will pin this one and think of you while we dine on Hawaiian pork in Kentucky. It'll be a luau party. LOL!

So glad to hear you love Jacques Pepin's recipes. I'm so excited to cook with him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another great one, Debby. Can a recipe get any easier? I will likely make this next weekend. -Craig (The other one)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Count me as one who still hasn't tried pressure cooking. I love what you've done with this pork though. I need to put a pressure cooker on my 'want' list.