“La Caja China Party!” Now Available!

La Caja China Party!

Just in time for Christmas!

  • 13 Themes
  • 85 Recipes
  • 160+ Photos

This is it, the best of my three La Caja China Cookbooks, and fully illustrated…perfect for using the magic box to create amazing memories for every occasion! In the box, on the grill, sides, desserts, and the perfect drinks!

Get your copy now, directly from the publisher!
(3-5 business days to be listed on Amazon.com.)

Chef Perry P. Perkins
“La Caja China Cooking”
“La Caja China World”
“La Caja China Smoke”

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this post, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.


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La Caja China’s Upcoming “Whole Hog” Rotisserie


Pretty excited about this”whole hog” rotisserie from La Caja China! Available as an accessory for the holidays.

I see Filipino-style lechon in my future!

Chef Perry
La Caja China Cooking
La Caja China World
La Caja China Party (10/2015)

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by | September 25, 2015 · 6:43 AM

The Chemistry of Grilling

Chimney steaks

They say that knowledge is power…and I believe that. Knowing WHY your meat grills the way it does is at least as important and knowing how to grill it!

-Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.


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Q & A: Roasting Goat

whole roasted goat

AJ asks:

“Any suggestions on ideal temp for a whole 30 pound goat? I have read 170.”

Chef Perry:

Thanks AJ for contacting us! I LOVE roasting goat in my La Caja China!

I’d suggest a box temp of 250F for about four hours, until almost done (160F). Then place goat over the coals of a low mesquite fire, on the LCC grilling rack. Baste with the butter sauce and let it smoke until tender and done (170-175F), maybe another 20 minutes.

The Rick Bayless method is probably the best I’ve found:

Roasting a whole goatAs far as internal temp of your goat: “Cook all raw goat beef steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source.” – So sayeth the USDA. Of course, they them say, in the very next line, “allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming” – which simply proved that they don’t know their…goat…from a hole in the ground.

If you pull a whole roast goat (or any other animal) off the heat, and don’t leave it the heck alone for at LEAST 20 minutes, tenting loosely in foil, you should be sentenced to live on McRib sandwiches and gas-station corndogs the rest of your life.

To slightly modify a favorite movie line, What does the USDA know about the needs of a man’s soul? :)

Oh, and for goats I like a simple wet rub of salt, olive oil, and fresh rosemary. If you want to go fancier than that, there are some fantastic marinade, rub, and sauce recipes over at TexasGoat.com.

Hope this helps, let us know how it turns out!

Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids.




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Burnin’ Love “BBQ” Grilled Chicken

Sweet Chili BBQ Chicken

Chef Chris grills these legs, thighs, or hindquarters to sweet, spicy, sticky perfection!

He maintains that the secret lies in baking the chicken first, so you can grill it over very high heat, just long enough to caramelize the sugars in the sauce, without drying out (or under-cooking) the meat beneath.

First rub chicken with our “Burnin’ Love Rub” (see recipe below) and let sit in the fridge 2-3 hours. Bake in a single layer on a foiled lined baking sheet  at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until the internal temp reached 165F.

Finish on a preheated very hot grill, over direct heat. Sear both sides of the chicken first, then dip* with the sauce, turn, cook for about 5 to 10 minutes total, brushing with sauce and turning several times, until chicken is done.

How to sauce BBQ chicken

For the best application of sauce, dip each piece of chicken into a bowl of sauce, instead of brushing. For thicker sauce, repeat 2-3 times while on the grill.

Allow the chicken to rest, and the sauce to set, about 10 minutes, uncovered.


Perk’s “Burnin’ Love” Rub

(Shh…it’s a secret!)

¼ C fine sea salt
¼ C light brown sugar
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs smoked paprika
2 Tbs coarse black pepper
2 Tbs hickory salt (or seasoned salt)

This is enough for 5-8lbs of chicken.

Sweet Chili BBQ Sauce

2 cup Sweet Baby Rays Brown Sugar or Hot & Sweet BBQ sauce
1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (I like “Mae Ploy” brand)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 stick sweet cream butter

Combine all, simmer and allow to cool.


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Davidoff Demi-Tasse Cigars (Review)

Davidoff Demi-Tasse Cigars Review Traeger


Like a lot of my fellow smoke n’ fire friends, I like to enjoy a good cigar while the meat’s cooking.

So, when the opportunity arose to smoke and review* these Davidoff Demi-Tasse cigars, I jumped at the chance!

These little 10-minute cigars are perfect for a quick grilling session, or for those last few minutes while those ribs are achieving the perfect glaze.

The Demi-Tasse are some great smokes; big Davidoff taste in a little package…a mild, yet aromatic and full-bodied smoke. They are long-filler, and taste just like a larger, mild Davidoff, but at a much more economical price.

From the Davidoff Website:

“The Davidoff Family of Geneva, Switzerland has been producing the world’s finest luxury cigars for the most discriminating of smokers for generations. Truly rare gems, Davidoff cigars are as close to perfect in character, aroma and quality as it gets. If you seek a highly refined and luxurious cigar for a special occasion or have the means to enjoy a moment of intense pleasure, relaxation and happiness on a daily basis, make Davidoff cigars your cigar of choice.”

Strength: Full
Shape: Cigarillo
Size: 4 x 25
Country: Netherlands
Wrapper Color: Natural
Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian
Wrapper Leaf: Connecticut
Price – 97.50 for a box of 50 or $2.10 per cigar

I really liked them. A lot of complexity and flavor…a great cigar to enjoy at the grill!

BTW, Famous Smoke Shop offers Davidoff Smokes here.

What’s your favorite smoke when you’re working the smoker?

Chef Perry
Burnin’ Love BBQ

PS – If you’re enjoying this article, please subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week.

Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk and foster kids!

*Disclaimer: while I receive products, including the cigars used in this review, free from vendors, I am under no obligation, real or implied, to provide anything but an honest, personal-opinion and review, positive or otherwise, in return. The opinions put forth in this post are strictly my own, and are in no way influenced by how I obtained this product.


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Why Should You Buy La Caja China BBQ?

A shout-out for my boys at La Caja China…

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Three Ways to Light Charcoal: Pros and Cons

Tips for using Charcoal

I was five or six years old, and we were having a family get together at Uncle Vern’s house. My Uncle Raymond, who was, almost assuredly, several mason-jars into the party already, decided that the charcoal in the battered old Weber Grill (which was sitting on a plywood-covered, screened porch – them’s my genes, folks!) wasn’t heatin’ up as quickly as he’d like.

Indignant, he walked over, peered blurrily at the coals for a moment, and then nonchalantly tossed the contents on his half-full cup, onto the open flame.

I was five…and I remember the fireball.

I also remember Uncle Vern and my father grabbing up the garden hose and dousing the smoldering mosquito netting that surrounded the porch. I’m pretty sure they were speaking in tongues… at least a tongue that I wasn’t familiar with at that tender age.

Needless to say, there are right ways to do things, and there are wrong ways to do things…

Let’s take a look at some “right way” options for lighting charcoal.

Firstly…let’s get one thing out of the way… “self-starting” or “quick-light” charcoal should never be allowed to defile your grill. Pre-soaking the coals enough to achieve an instant flare-up, guarantees that the chemical flavor goes all the way through the charcoal, and will not “burn off”, as self-applied charcoal starter will.

No pre-soaked charcoal…ever.

Oh, and all of these methods assume that we’re using a charcoal chimney starter, like this one:

Btw: these babies are just plain awesome for searing the perfect steak over super-high heat! See our recipe, here.

Method #1: Charcoal Lighter Fluid

Using bbq lighter fluidThis is my least favorite method, but it’s also the one that I, along with millions of other backyard barbecue buffs, grew up with. I’m not going to poo-poo this method with the same vehemence I give to the quick-light…stuff, mainly because I’ve grilled up some pretty dang good food over fuel-squirted coals.

Pros: It’s convenient, and quick, and pretty-much fool-proof…

Cons: Well, it’s still a nasty, stinky chemical that’s involved in food I’m feeding my family…as well as a half-gallon jug of explosive liquid that I’m using in an open-flame situation…and I’m clumsy.

If you’re going to use charcoal lighter fluid:

  1. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time, and ventilation (ie: no lid) to allow it to burn off, once lit. Those coals need to be solid white, before any meat goes over them.
  2. Likewise, don’t put your grill-grate(s) back over the coals until you’re sure the fuel has burned off. You don’t want to be laying raw meat on a fuel-blackened grill…yuck.
  3. Use plenty of fluid…you want it to light properly the first time, and don’t ever squirt more fluid on already lit coals…remember Uncle Raymond? Boom.
  4. Close the lid on your fuel bottle, and then go put it away, before lighting the coals. Two reasons. First, this gets that bottle of rocket-fuel away from you, or any other little hands that might be nearby. No matter how safe I think I am…that fuel isn’t going to ignite if it’s back up in the cabinet, in my garage. Secondly, this time-lapse allows the fluid to soak into the charcoal a bit (not a lot) and decreases the chance of it flaring, or igniting fumes, when lit.

Method #2: Newspaper as Fire-starter

This method is, in my not-so-humble opinion, better than using lighter-fluid, but I still can’t get over the idea that I’m coating my coals with burned ink fumes and residue.

Pros: It’s a pretty easy and safe way to go. Just stuff a piece or two of crumpled newspaper in the bottom side of your charcoal chimney, fill the top with charcoal, and then light the newspaper. In about 10 minutes, you should have hot, burning coals.

Cons: That first minute or so, while the paper is igniting…creates some pretty gnarly grey smoke, so light-up well away from your guests, or anything they’re likely to eat.

My other issue is that it’s 2012…who gets a freakin’ newspaper anymore? Not me, I get all my news digitally…and I don’t think my iPad would work nearly as well for this.

Method #3: The Electric Fire-starter (Like one of these…)

Lastly, and in my opinion, the best way, to light your fire, is to use one of these babies. Charcoal doesn’t require open flame to burn, it just needs enough heat.

Pros: Flameless, odorless, this is probably the safest, cleanest method available to start your coals. Very easy to use.

Cons: You gotta have electricity close by, and…well, it’s a gadget, so there’s always a chance that it just plain won’t work…when you’re already running late…on the night your new boss is coming over for bbq. You know what I’m talkin’ about.

Still, I’ve had mine for years, and it’s never failed me once.

Lastly, it’s probably not something you want to play with in the rain, or while standing in water…unless you want a Darwin Award.

To use, just pour about 1/3 of your charcoal into your chimney, set the (unplugged and unheated) electric fire starter inside, and fill in around it with the remaindered of your coals. Now, set the chimney in a safe place, and plug that baby in!

Be sure to keep any plastic parts away from direct contact with the coals, and keep a close eye, as you’ll need to pull that starter out as soon as the coals start going. Do not leave it in the chimney until the coals turn gray!

So there you go…three popular, reliable, and simple-to-use methods to get your grill on.

Whichever you chose should work great…and be a lot safer fire-starter than a mason jar full of whatever my uncles brewed up in that oil drum behind the barn…

Happy Grilling!

Chef Perry
Burnin’ Love BBQ


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Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Hearts

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Hearts

Yes, I know this recipe isn’t for everyone, but I love grilled chicken hearts, and I love nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce), so I figured that marinating one in the other, before grilling, might be a good idea.

Turns out…it was a fantastic idea! :)

I’ll keep this quick and simple:

1 lb fresh chicken hearts
Wooden skewers (8-16, depending on length)
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (tuong ot toi), optional

Rinse the chicken hearts and pat dry.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients (except skewers) and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.  If you need to speed this up, only add 1/2 cup of water before simmering, and then add 3/4 of a cup of ice cubes to cool.

Place chicken hearts in a large zip-bag and pour the cooled marinade over the top. Seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. Remove chicken hearts from the brine (dispose of the brine), and let rest on the counter for up to an hour, to come to room temp.

Vietnamese grilled chicken heartsMeanwhile, set skewers in a shallow pan and cover with warm water.

Let soak 1 hour.

Thread chicken hearts into skewers, and grill over very high heat, 2-3 minutes per side, until well marked and just cooked through. You do NOT want a “well-done” chicken heart! :)

Enjoy as is, or with some sticky rice and sesame Asian slaw. I like to serve mine sprinkled with freshly minced cilantro and a little warmed chili garlic sauce on the side, for dipping!

Chef Perry
Burnin’ Love BBQ

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5 Tips for Perfect La Caja China Holiday Turkeys

Turkey in La Caja China

Our Facebook Friend Mary asks:

Hi Chef Perry! We’re planning on cooking 3 turkeys in our La Caja China box for Thanksgiving…. 12-14 lbs each. Can anyone tell me approximately how long it will take? Thanks in advance….and planning on brining them if that makes a difference? – Mary B.

Mary, thanks for asking!

Every year, we roast 8-10 whole turkeys in our Semi Pro for the Thanksgiving dinner at our local homeless shelter, The Father’s Heart, in Oregon City.

Here are 5 tips we’ve learned over the years, for roasting the perfect turkey(s) in La Caja China roasting boxes.


Chef Perry
Burnin’ Love BBQ


5 Tips for Perfect La Caja China Turkeys


Make sure your turkey(s) are COMPLETELY thawed by the night before. The bone temp of the turkeys will make or break the La Caja China process. The USDA recommends cold water thawing.

Allow about 30 minutes per pound, and be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product.

Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.


Always, always, always brine your turkeys (or chickens) before roasting! The differences in the flavor, the tenderness, and the juiciness of the meat are indescribable.

To brine one turkey, bring 1 quart of water to a simmer, add salt and sugar, stir to dissolve completely. Add 3 quarts of very cold water to cool. (See our recipes, the the link below, for some great tips on other delicious ingredients you can add to your brine!)

Place turkeys in a water-tight container, large enough to allow a little space around each, and pour the cooled brine over the turkeys, add more cold water to cover (if needed). Move turkeys to a cold area, or refrigerate 8-10 hours.Discard brine and rinse turkeys thoroughly, before prepping for roasting.

https://burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/posta.jpgJust Also, be sure to cover (just) the top of each turkey loosely with a small piece of foil. The thin skin burns easily in the direct heat of the caja. You need a separate piece for each turkey, so you don’t block the heat getting down and under the birds (been there, done that! LOL)


I know I’m a bit of a broken record on this subject, but it really is important. Lifting the lid from the box effectively removes all the cooking heat, and it takes a LONG time to build back up, as your turkey is cooling at the same time. Use a remote probe thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, and (personal opinion) a metal dust pan and scoop to remove the ashes, instead of removing the lid. NEVER lift the lid until your turkey has reached “resting temp”…which is 10-15F below your target finished temperature.


http://i1.wp.com/burninlovebbq.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/CoverCorrected.jpg?zoom=1.5&resize=379%2C593Let’s face it, holiday cooking, for many of us, means if we want to BBQ or grill…we’re cooking in the cold! Make sure you start out with every ounce of the recommended coal weight, to ensure that the box reaches its “honey spot” for you.

Keeping the box protected from the wind is key, I often start mine in the driveway, and once the fire had gone out, roll it into my garage – keeping the door open, and the box a safe distance from any flammables, of course!

Also, shave 10 minutes of each “add coals” cycle; this has helped me in the past.

For more tips, tricks, and insider secrets on cooking anything in (and on) La Caja China, be sure to download our free La Caja China eGuidebook!

If you’d like to see a full holiday menu, including this delicious La Caja China turkey recipe, please vist our post: La Caja China Christmas Menu with Recipes

Oh, and if you’re hankerin’ for smoked turkeys this year, watch our short video: Smoked BBQ in La Caja China with the A-Maze-N Smoker

Smoking in La Caja China


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