Aloha! Join me looking at a distant shot of the lovely Tedeski Winery Tasting Room at Ulupalakua Ranch. Many of you may not have seen how Kalua pork is made, but for this special occasionâ€”a weddingâ€”many family and friends got together to celebrate. In Hawaii, cooking the pig in an Imu is the traditional way to make the main dish in a luau.
Michael and Steven had to get a ton of good Kiawe firewood from the shoreline many days prior to the event; Also needed are the round stones, which are placed above the hot fire of Kiawe wood. A large pig (the one used here is under 300 lbs.) is picked up nearby, and made ready for the Imu. The groom scores the pig with a large hunting knife while his Washington buddies from college observed. The bride is from the Big Island, but her connection to the ranch goes far back. Her mom used to live there when she was a kid.
Michael put Hawaiian salt in the deep scores. The pig, then ready for the hot rocks, was spread open and each red hot rock was drenched in a bucket of water to cool, and quickly set into the cavity of the animal. The pig was transferred to a metal cage lined with banana leaves, and the work crew closed up the pig and wired it shut. Steven and his friends stoked the remaining rocks prior to putting a ton of banana stumps on the hot fire pit. After this, the pig was lifted onto the bed of banana stumps, and covered over with the long banana leaves to form a natural oven. The burlap sacks were then drenched in water to retain moisture, and layered across the steaming leaves.
A big canvas tarp covered the burlap sacks, and then an even larger utility tarp was placed on this. The workers picked up shovels, and covered all the edges so there was a seal around the tarp. We finished all this around 6:30pm, and then feasted on lau lau, poi, and drank a lot of beer. The next day we made it back by 7:30am to pull out the pig, and proceeded to dress out the meat.
The pig was lifted into a large pan, all the bones were removed, and all the meat was then shredded and salted. We bagged it all into plastic bags ready to transport the delicious fare to the wedding reception. Quickly, we went back to get dressed, and made it to the church where the bride and groom exchanged their wedding vows. The bridesmaids, â€œwhen hemmo da slippas,â€ and I sat down with Dad for a cold beer. The food was â€œbroke da mouthâ€ as we say!