I might have mentioned that I love to go to Maui, a lot. Usually, my vacation routine is: wake-up, favorite tropical granola for breakfast (and Portuguese sausage), plop on beach, fruit plate or chips & salsa by pool for lunch, nap, fantastic dinner at amazing local restaurant, go to bed and hit repeat. I’ve been doing it that way for nearly 20 years and it works. Occasionally, I will throw in a horseback ride or snorkeling. Once, I even went to Haleakala for sunrise. But I try to stay true to my routine.

This year my trip was not with my husband or family, but with my great friend Mariana. We decided to make this trip more adventurous than my usual. The highlight of this adventure was our almost trip to Hana.

Our Road to Hana was abbreviated, gladly. We started out on the same road as everyone does. The road was a simple two-way black top. The air was perfumed with flowers like pikae and plumeria, but it hung heavy with the humidity. The aroma of the water, flowers and highway mixed was inviting us to keep driving. We saw lots of fruit and smoothie stands, we saw the Painted Eucalyptus, which was very cool, and we got lots of bug bites. The highlight of our drive was meeting Chuy at Ka Haku Smokeshack. Let me say that by shack, I mean a lean-to in the middle of a rainforest. Oh sure there were grates for a BBQ and a corrugated tin roof to protect from the rain. There were two picnic tables fashioned out of trees and Chuy had set up a cooler with water and some cups. But that was the extent of our lunch restaurant.

The menu consisted of one $20 plate. “Plates” are big in Hawaii. The meal was marinated BBQ chicken and pork belly served with Fern Pohole Salad, white sticky rice and grilled bananas sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon with a generous dollop of whipped cream. You could buy a beer or bottle of water. If there were coconuts available, there was guy that would open them up, with his machete, for you to drink. We got really lucky and a crazy lady picked up the machete herself and started hacking away at a coconut. She said this was okay because they “do it at Whole Foods”. YIKES! But I digress.

Chuy had a marinade that he used on everything and even sprayed on the salad and rice right before serving. I can’t say for sure what was in the marinade but I know there was soy sauce, ginger and a little sugar in it. It created such a nice caramelized, crispy skin on the chicken and pork belly. It was exactly the right acid and sweetness to cut the fat too. Chuy promises to share his recipe when he finishes moving but I found a recipe for pork belly and another for the salad that I think come close, minus the rainforest.

Kalua Pork Belly
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10 servings
Servings
8-10 servings
Kalua Pork Belly
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10 servings
Servings
8-10 servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, over a medium heat, combine the first 9 ingredients ending with liquid smoke
  2. Bring to a simmer and then cook for 3-5 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and stir into chilled chicken stock. This is your marinade.
  4. Place the pork belly into a deep roasting dish and pour marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  5. Remove pork belly from fridge one hour before cooking. You want it to come back to room temperature.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°.
  7. Cover roasting dish with foil and braise, in oven, until pork belly is tender, about 4-5 hours.
  8. Remove from oven, but DO NOT turn oven of.
  9. Transfer pork belly to a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet and st aside.
  10. Strain your marinade through a fine mesh sieve, into a saucepan and skim the fat.
  11. Over a medium his heat, cook the marinade liquid ad reduce until you have about 3 cups of a thick glaze. Watch it but this should take about 25 minutes.
  12. Brush the glaze, generously, all over the pork belly and return to oven for another 25-30 minutes.
  13. When it comes out of the oven, let pork rest for a few minutes then slice into desired sized pieces. I like to cut in strips , but bit-sized is great too.
  14. Serve over rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Don't forget about the Pohole salad.
Recipe Notes
  • The marinade and pork belly can both be made a day ahead of time. Just bring back to room temperature, glaze the pork belly and heat through at 350° for 25 minutes.
  • If you can't find a dark chicken stock, try making it yourself or you can use beef stock. Just make sure the store bought ones are rich.
  • You can also do the last part of cooking on a BBQ instead of finishing in oven, just watch it.
  • The marinade can be used for chicken too.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Pohole Fern Salad
Print Recipe
Pohole Fern Salad
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Wash the hairs off the fiddlehead fern. Start breaking pieces off. Use only the ones that break off easy.
  2. Blanch the Pohole pieces in boiling water, until color pops (about 3 minutes).
  3. Plunge into cold iced water to stop cooking
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients together.
  5. Toss salad ingredients into dressing. Season with salt & pepper.
  6. Serve chilled.
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Leave a Reply