I am cooking a 150 lb pig in the ground for Cinco de Mayo. I am using a Kalua Hawaiian method but using taco Al pastor flavoring.

Feeding over 100 people street tacos. I have researched and have read different times on how long to leave the pig in the ground.

I will have two wireless thermometers. One in the shoulder and one in the butt. The pig's cavity will be stuffed with room temperatured whole pineapple. Very very hot dry rocks will be placed in the pig's joints. Four corners, before tieing up and laid to rest. One true cord of apple wood will be burning, so a solid foot of hot coals. Old cabbage and water will be applied to create steam to help with the cooking process. The pig will be butchered appropriate and accordingly. Wrapped in banana leaves and aluminum foil.

Two Questions:

•If I want the pig done by 4pm (food on the table by 5pm), when should I have the pig in the IMU, covered, cooking? I would rather have the pig finished early and held hot rather than have 100+ hungry people staring at me, waiting.

•What temperature do I want the shoulder and butt to be? Different temperatures? I have experience in braising pork shoulder, chuck beef, etc.

  • 1
    If this is made for tacos, is it safe to say that it is acceptable for the meat to be overcooked? This would make it more tender a bit more dry, but not overly so unless you push over 180 significantly. If this is the case, perhaps err on the side of overcooked.
    – Behacad
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


Last time I did one it was an overnight proposition, sources I find recommend planning on 24 Hours for a 150lb Kalu-a-que.

A pig roasted in the ground, Hawaiian or Kalua style, can take 12 hours if done right and if it is filled with fruits and vegetables it can take 16 hours or longer.

If your pig is a purchased commercially (from a local farmer or reputable butcher) internal temps above 145°F are considered 'safe' but some people are still not comfortable with pork that is still that pink...so you should probably aim for 155°F (some will still be pinkish, others will have moved onto whitish, without (hopefully) drying out too much.

If you are serving up a wild pig/boar... (IMHO) Nothing less than 180°F will do.

I would recommend giving yourself at least two hours of 'slack' to pull the pig out of the hole two hours before scheduled feed time and start slicing (and storing in a couple of ice chests (no ice...insulated to keep the meat warm) so that serving goes faster. Slicing/chopping 'to order' will create a bottleneck in your festivities.

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