Marked by the onset of warmer weather and longer days, the month of June typically signifies that summer has officially begun. Yet here on Maui and across the island chain, we look forward to a few special signs of the season that are unique to Hawai’i in particular.
Kicking off the month with what is lovingly referred to as graduation season, family and friends come from near and far to celebrate the accomplishments of their high school graduates. With leis piled high, banners of congratulations displayed around town and celebratory beach BBQs cranking out enough local favorites like Laulau to feed the neighborhood, there’s nothing quite like “Grad Season” in Hawaii.
After graduation parties we roll right into King Kamehameha Day on June 11th. Originally established as a holiday in 1871 by Kamehameha V to honor his great-grandfather, this annual commemoration credits the many accomplishments of Kamehameha the Great, specifically, his success in uniting the once warring tribes as a unified island kingdom. The spirit of this celebration lives on over 150 years later through preservation of rich cultural events like the magnificent floral parades featuring the traditional royal pa’u riders and a Ho’olaule’a, a literal block party in which all are welcome to celebrate following the parade.
All in all, June is a pretty great time to be in Hawai’i nei…it’s all about people connecting with one another. Coming together to honor each other’s accomplishments, to “talk story”, to share memories, to laugh, to eat, to enjoy culture and tradition… to just be. And even though countless aspects of life on the islands have changed in the many years that have passed, one thing remains the same – unity and the connections shared among people will always be the heart of Hawai’i.
Aloha, Greg & Leah
This is one of our favorites, we may have already shared it a while back but it’s too good not to share again!
Kalua Pork and Cabbage
- 5-7 lbs of bone in pork shoulder, 2 small pieces or one large
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, optional but highly recommended
- 3+ cups of water
- 1 head of cabbage, coarsely sliced
- Using a sharp knife, make 5-7 slits in the pork 1-2 inches deep or all the way down to the bone.
- Sprinkle some Hawaiian salt all over the pork and in between the slits.
- Heat a large oven safe pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Add the pork and brown all sides.
- Once the pork is nicely browned, pour in soy sauce, liquid smoke, and enough water to cover the pork by about ⅔.
- Cover and put the Dutch oven in a 350° F oven for about 2 hours, until the pork is fork tender. Flip the pork halfway through cooking (about an hour into it). You may need more or less time depending on the size of your pork. Check it periodically during the final hour of cooking.
- Remove the pot from the oven and carefully transfer the pork into a large bowl or tray.
- Once the pork is cool enough to handle, shred the pork using 2 forks or your hands. Shred it as fine or as coarse as you’d like.
- In the pot, you’ll find a layer of fat in the braising liquid. Using a fat skimmer or ladle, skim off as much fat as you can.
- Bring the braising liquid to a boil and add the sliced cabbage. Cover and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes, just until the cabbage is tender.
- Return the shredded pork to the pot with the cooked cabbage and mix well.