A Taste of Hawaii in the Desert

Serves: 8
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 2-3 hrs


  • 4 ½ lbs of pork shoulder/butt
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • ½ cup of light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of Sugar, + 1 tsp of sugar for dressing
  • 1 tsp of MSG (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp of pepper
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 cup of pineapples
  • 2 limes
  • Pre-shredded red cabbage (regular white/green cabbage works great too)
  • ¼ of an onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 package of corn or flour tortillas
  • Dutch oven, 12” preferred, 10” will need recipe amounts reduction.
  • 1 bag of charcoal briquettes/heat beads


  1. Start by pre-heating the charcoal briquettes over a campfire ring, or, we use a foldable fire pit, in a charcoal chimney. You want about 20 coals to start off. It should take about 30 minutes for them to be ready. Start the charcoal about 20 minutes before you start prepping the pork. By the time prep work on the meat is done, the charcoal should be ready as well!

    PLEASE NOTE: Respect ANY fire bans in your area. ALWAYS get a fire permit if it is required in your state. It is required in California even for propane stove usage on federally controlled lands. DO NOT light charcoal if there is an ongoing fire ban where you’re camped. Alternatively, you can make this dish over propane, but it will require a lot of propane. You can have three green bottles of propane to be safe, or use a larger propane tank —5lb tank minimum.)

  2. Next, you’ll prepare the meat to go into the dutch oven. Take your chunk of pork shoulder/pork butt and slice it into smaller chunks if your butcher didn’t already do it. 2 inch cubes work great, or 2 x 6 inch strips.
  3. Then you’ll season the meat next. On top of the pork, add 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of pepper, 1 tbsp of sugar, ½ cup of light soy sauce, 1 tsp of MSG, and 1 cup of water. Mix the meat so all the seasonings are eventually combined and distributed.
  4. Place the lid on the dutch oven, put into your desired fire pit, then place 8 coals at the bottom, and 12 at the top on the lid.

    Briquettes are great for this because once they’re up to temperature, they last about around an hour. So when you’re 30 minutes in, start up another batch of briquettes so you can swap out to fresh ones to keep the heat going. You’re going to be babysitting the coals for about 2 to 3 hours or until the meat is tender. You’ll most likely have 1 to 2 total charcoal start up runs. Make sure you have enough briquettes as well. Start with a new bag and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  5. Now you have a decent amount of time to relax, and do camp things. Just keep our eyes on the coals to see if they need a reup at anytime. You want to get the dutch oven down to a gentle simmer and keep it there once the initial heat settles down.
  6. About an hour, or an hour and a half, in, you can start prepping the toppings so once the meat is all done, you can go straight to eating! Chop the onions and cilantro and set them aside.
  7. Next, chop the pineapples into small chunks. You don’t want them too large in size, it just won’t be enjoyable if they are.
  8. In the bag of pre-shredded cabbage, throw into it 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Toss it all together in the bag to incorporate all the flavors.
  9. Heat the tortillas according to the packaging.
  10. Once the meat is pull-apart-able, pull it off the heat, and pull it apart with two forks. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool down, before serving.
  11. Combine into a tortilla the pulled pork, dressed cabbage, pineapple, onions, and cilantro. Then squeeze a lime onto it before eating! Enjoy!