Finally sharing one of my absolute favorite recipes with you all today. Smoked Kalua Pork Sliders with Guava Spiced Rum BBQ Sauce.
Kalua pork is a staple in our house and we make it either in the slow cooker or in our smoker. We always made it in the slow cooker with liquid smoke and Hawaiian sea salt until we got our smoker and now we make it more often in the smoker. Correction. My husband makes it in HIS smoker. If you don’t have a smoker you can still make the pork in the slow cooker, just omit the foil. I still make it in the slow cooker, but he is the master of the smoker and after the first time he made it in the smoker I knew I wanted to add the recipe to my blog. And in the form of Kalua Pork sliders.
The pork gets the authentic smoky flavor from the smoker and it is wrapped in banana leaves to retain moisture. It is good served over sticky rice but in slider form with Hawaiian rolls and a spiced rum guava bbq sauce? Amazing.
When we were in Maui last year I had a Kalua Pork burger with Guava BBQ sauce. I added the sauce to my list or recipes to make or try to recreate. I wanted to make it more guavaey than tomatoey because guava is such a delicate flavor and could easily be over-powered by other flavors such as tomato.
I made this sauce a few times before I got it tasting exactly how I wanted, and after I photographed the Kalua pork sliders and we had them for dinner a few nights in a row I realized I only had a little bit left for a photograph!! I am a backwards blogger, we eat first then photograph. Not photograph first and make everyone wait to eat.
The secret to this sauce (besides the spiced rum) is letting it reduce then chilling at least 4 hours up to over night. The longer the better for the flavors to meld and for the sauce to thicken up. I based this Guava BBQ Sauce off my Pina Colada BBQ Sauce and as you can see I have an affinity for tropical ( and boozy) BBQ sauces.
The other best part about these Kalua pork sliders is the Hawaiian rolls in place of traditional slider buns. I found these Hawaiian rolls at Whole Foods made by the Alpine Valley Bread Company, a brand of organic bread that we love, and these rolls are excellent. Lightly toasted they are perfect for sliders.
We make these Kalua pork sliders often. Once the pork is cooked it is so easy to reheat for a quick meal on a busy weeknight. My kids love these and we even had them for Christmas Eve dinner last year for our Hawaiian Luau dinner along with some Mai Tais. Thin pickle slices are a must have as well.
The Kalua pork sliders with guava spiced rum bbq sauce recipe is a long recipe only because it takes some time for the pork to cook in the smoker – low and slow makes for super tender pork and the sauce is best a day after it is made. You can make both the pork and sauce ahead of time and reheat before making the sliders.
For the Smoked Pork:
- 4-5 lb pork shoulder
- 3-4 Tbsp Hawaiian Alaea red sea salt
- Banana leaves, thawed
For the Guava BBQ Sauce:
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 C white onion, minced
- 1/4 C Tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 C Water
- 1 1/2 C Guava Paste ( if in a block, soften and mash or dice)
- 1/3 C Spiced Rum - I use Koloa Kaua'i Spice Rum
- 1/2 C Rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp shoyu or soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 tsp chipotle in adobo ( you can add up to up to 2 Tbsp depending on how spicy you want the sauce)
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
For the sliders:
- Hawaiian Rolls
- Dill pickle strips
For the Pork:
- Remove pork from refrigerator 1-2 hours prior to cooking. If the pork is still cold or partially frozen cooking time will be longer.
- Preheat smoker to 250 Deg F.
- Generously salt all sides of pork roast with the Hawaiian alaea sea salt just prior to cooking
- Place pork in smoker and add wood chips according to smoker instructions. I use hickory wood chips but have also had good results with applewood
- After 3 hours remove pork from the smoker and wrap in banana leaves and 2 layers of foil to seal in the moisture. Place the pork back into smoker. Check temperature after three hours, and every half hour after that until it reaches 190-200 degrees
- Cooking times can vary anywhere from 6.5 to 9 hours depending on size of the pork shoulder
- After pork has reached temperature remove it from smoker and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove pork from foil and banana leaves and shred saving some of the juices
- Meat should easily come apart but not disintegrate. If not using immediately place shredded pork in a container with reserved juices. Chill. To reheat the pork, spread over a large baking sheet and heat in a 350 Deg oven until hot. Keep warm before serving.
For the Guava BBQ sauce:
- While the pork is smoking make the sauce. In a medium sauce pan heat the coconut oil and add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 min. Add the tomato paste, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring well for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients up and stir well until well mixed and the guava paste is fully melted. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 20 min, stirring once in a while, until slightly reduced and thickened. Taste and add more chipotle in adobo if a spicier sauce is desired. Let cool then transfer to a glass jar or bowl with an airtight lid. The bbq sauce tastes best after letting cool in the refrigerator at least 4 hours but overnight is best for all the flavors to come together. Can be used cold or reheated. Lasts up to 2 weeks refrigerated or 3 months frozen.
- To assemble the sliders:
- Cut the Hawaiian buns in half. Toast. Cut the pickle strips in half. Place a few on top of bottom half of bun. Top with about 1/4-1/4 cup of kalua pork, add a tablespoon or two of the guava spiced rum bbq sauce on top of that and finally the top half of the bun. Repeat until you have as many sliders as you would like to make.
Cooking time for the pork - 6.5-9 hours
Cooking time for the sauce - 30-40 min
Enjoy these delicious Smoked Kalua Pork Sliders with Guava Spiced Rum BBQ Sauce with a cold beer or a Mai Tai!