I had the privilege last night of helping a friend of mine assemble his first La Caja China, a model #3, and then cook an awesome mess of barbecued chicken in it, as well!
For once, I remembered to take some pictures of the process, so here’s a qucik slideshow of the step-by-step, following the instrustions that came with the roaster. If you have any questions, lemme know!
PLEASE NOTE: After my fifth time assembling a La Caja China, the MOST IMPORTANT piece of advice I can give you in assembling your own, is this – DO NOT TIGHTEN THE BOLTS UNTIL FULLY ASSEMBLED. Last night, I got all of the bolts in place, with the wingnuts just barely threaded on, and did not have a single issue with getting all of the holes lined up correctly.
I can tell you this from experience, if you tighten down one side, before threading the bolts on the other, the holes on the second side WILL NOT line up correctly.
My second peice of advice is based on my own reoccuring screw-up. I usually forget to affix the handles to one end of the box, BEFORE tightening down the bolts. However, now that I’ve done it both ways, I would recommend fully assembling and tightening down the box, THEN unscrew the necessary wingnuts and add the handles. For some reason, once the whole unit is pulled together tight, it stays that way, and attaching the handles is WAY easier.
2 – cut up fryers
1 cup of your favorite bbq rub*, mixed with 1 cup brown sugar
2 cups favorite bbq sauce*
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Line the roasting pan with foil and insert the rack. Pout 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of cider vinegar in the bottom.
Rub chicken pieces with dry rub and place on rack.
Roast chicken for 30 minutes. Open box, flip chicken peices, close up and roast another 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from La Caja China, tent with foil, and allow to rest 10 minutes.
Serve with coleslaw and cornbread!
NOTE: I prefer to roast the chicken inside the box, as opposed to grilling it on top. The results of roasting are the moistest and juiciest chicken I’ve ever eaten. If you like a touch of char, you can always toss the chicken up on the grill for a few minutes after it finishes roasting, just to get some grill marks and caramelize the sugar in the sauce.
I usually do this myself, but I forgot my top grill last night. Nobody seemed to mind, lol!
*Recipes for a number of delicious sauces and rubs, and many more entrees, can be found in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking!