Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pork & Pork For The Blogger Party # 4 - News Article Link Fixed

Our fourth blogger party took place on May 26, and we had good weather, a good turnout, and of course, plenty of good food.  I’d asked Meakin Hoffer to be the event photographer and Sam Hoffer (My CarolinaKitchen) to do the official post for it, so mine will just be about the food I provided and the cocktails we served (later post).  These are all Meakin's photos which is why they look better than my normal ones.  Check out Sam's blog for her post.

Chris (Nibble Me This) served as the menu coordinator for the event and suggested I smoke an appetizer of pork ribs using the recipe from Chris Lily of Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ and TV BBQ show fame.  I began with his recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Ribs posted on line at, then amended  the marinade based upon new information in his cookbook as follows:

1½ cups pineapple juice
1 T. dry rub
1½ t. balsamic vinegar
1½ t. minced garlic

Finishing Glaze – I used Tennessee River Cranberry Delight BBQ Sauce without changes for my glaze. 

Even though they were a little over-cooked by competition standards, the falling-off-the-bone-tender ribs (which most people prefer) were a hit and I’d use this recipe again.

Kalua Pork

Per Wikipedia - "Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, a type of underground oven. The word kālua, which literally means "to cook in an underground oven", may also be used to describe the food cooked in this manner, such as kālua pig or kālua turkey, which are commonly served at luau feasts."  Interestingly, the vast majority of on-line recipes I saw were for a crock pot.

We discussed cooking a whole pig, but even in a smoker, it was way more work than I wanted to do plus being three times the cost of pork butt.  After lots of online looking, I discovered that Kalua Pork was pretty much just salt for seasoning and cooked with banana leaves and Koa wood.  This is what I did:

1. Remove nearly all surface fat, score ¼“ deep in a diamond pattern and rub about 1½ T. of sea salt over the roast (closest I could get to Hawaiian salt). 

2.  From a trial run using pork loin, I found that the fresh banana leaves were too crisp to easily wrap the meat without splitting so I cut them that morning and let them lay around the house all day to soften up.

I wrapped the butts with banana leaves, leaving gaps for the smoke to get in, and secured them with kitchen twine.
3. They cooked for about 10 hours in my Stumps smoker using Stubb’s charcoal and banana tree wood (it’s not exactly wood though) for smoke.  When they got to an internal temperature of 175*, I wrapped them in foil and cooked to around 203*, then pulled and put them in a cooler until meal time (about 3 hours).

4. To serve, I removed the foil, the leaves, and placed the whole butts on a pan lined with a fresh banana leaf for folks to pull off a hunk to eat.  It helps to have a banana tree (hardy variety - no fruit) when you're throwing a luau.

The pork butt was tender, moist, and very tasty, but it was basically just roast pork with a little bit of a unique flavor – very different from my normal BBQ but I enjoyed it and we have plenty of leftovers for other dishes (I cooked three butts and we only ate one and one half).

Want to see something really cool, check out this article about Chris and our blogger parties in the May 26 addition of the Knoxville paper.

Photos best if enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


5/26/2013 meal date


  1. Great party as usual Larry. Thank you and Chris for another fabulous get-together. Everyone had such a good time and the food was to die for. For me your pineapple ribs were my favorite. Falling off of the bone tender is the way I like them.

    I'm a little late with my post as we're traveling, but I've got lots of pictures of the party and the breakfast the next morning. I should be finished soon. Thank you and Beverly for being the gracious host and hostess you always are. Y'all are the best!

  2. Oh my gosh those ribs and pork butt look amazing!! We had pork cooked kalua style in Hawaii.. it was absolutely amazing and some of the best pork I have ever had!! Once again, I'm quite sorry I missed yet another blogging party!!

  3. Everything sounds delicious! I take it you like pork :-). I can't wait to read about the party. Have a great day, Larry. Blessings...Mary

  4. We had such a great time Larry. I am still dreaming about your pineapple pork ribs. The whole meal was outstanding! Thanks to you and Chris for putting together such a great feast and thanks to you and Beverly for being such gracious hosts. Staying in your elegant RV was such a treat. Looking forward to seeing you in June.

  5. I sure wish I could have joined you guys. The ribs look tasty and that pork looks so juicy and flavorful - totally mouth watering!

  6. Larry, This was a great party! Both the ribs and banana leaf roasted pork butt were really good... Best yet, no one fell off the dock into the lake! Thanks and Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  7. That's one big ass banana leaf. I always purchased them frozen and when thawed, they are pliable. Looks like a fabulous selection of food. Heading over to read the article.

  8. Woo hoo, Hawaii---this brings back great memories of a luau we went to there with pork. It was the best pork I've ever eaten and I bet yours is just as delicious. It looks great! And it sounds like ya'll had a blast!

  9. Fantastic food, Larry. I thought of all of you and knew you were having a great time. I bet that pork in banana leaves was delicious.

  10. Oh my goodness, I missed some good food!! But I had to squeeze two photo sessions in that weekend!

  11. That is one seriously big leaf. The food is impressive, but the leaf is amazing. Glad you all had such fun!

  12. Looked like a wonderful party.. One of these years, we'll surprise you and make it... We just seem to stay so darn busy.... The food must have been awesome...

    Your 'butts' looked awesome...

  13. I'll be sure to watch for Sam's post, Larry! What a wonderful event and the food looks amazing.

  14. Sounds like a great time! The ribs and the butt look awesome and those banana leaves are huge! Will be looking forward to Sam's party post.

  15. I am pretty sure Sam has made her blog post! What a fun day with a great group of blogger friends. One day I amy have to make that trip.


  16. Wow! Those ribs look absolutely perfect. Just perfect. The pork looks just like what we enjoyed in Hawaii. I wish California wasn't so far away.... sigh.

  17. Hard to believe that was only a week ago! Time has been flying by this summer. Thanks again for everything, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And yes, next year I'll take it easy on the cooking during the party, lol.

  18. From seeing the photos on Sam's blog and now these, I know that your group had to have had a terrific time together. Lots of laughs, great food and good drinks makes for a perfect party.


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