Kalua Pig and Banana Leaves

I am on a mission to make Kalua pig sous vide style. Typically a pork shoulder is wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in a pit for several hours. I’m concerned that if I follow one of the pulled pork recipes and use a banana leaf, I will get a much stronger banana flavor than I would like. I once put a slice of onion in with a steak and found the flavor of raw onion to be over powering. Any thoughts on the use of a banana leaf in direct contact with a spice rubbed pork shoulder?

Hmmm really good question! I have never used banana leaves for meats. I’ve cooked pasteles (A traditional Puerto Rican food) wrapped in banana leaves, and it rarely leaves any banana flavors. Not sure if this could be the same for meat, but that’s my experince with a similar situation!

Thanks for the feedback. I might try it a day or two early to verify it works, then keep refridgerated until I need it. If it sucks, it gives me enough time to repeat with out the banana leaves. The other option I was thinking was to bake the leaves first, cook/char them a bit first, then wrap the pork. That way the raw banana leaf flavor would not be as present.

Something worth remembering is that vegetable matter cooks at a higher temperature than the proteins. So, it is questionable how much banana leaf flavour will be imparted during the sous vide time.

Raw onion has very strong and volatile flavour compounds. Onion gives some of these compounds off at room temperature. The onion itself would not start cooking until the temperature gets to about 80C. The strong raw onion flavour all came from the low temperature volatiles.


Makes sense! @Ember