Our friend Fred asks:
Have you a special recipe or suggestion on a 90 lb. luau style pig?
Note…done in a Caja China No. 2
You bet I do!
I’ve done many whole luau pigs in my Model #1, #2, and the Semi-Pro model, as well.
Here’s my step-by-step video recipe and instructions for Carolina (bbq) whole pig.
The three biggest suggestions I would have, are:
Make sure that your pig is completely thawed, and as close to room temp as your comfortable with, before you start cooking.
Start with as much coal as the instructions say. I’ve used 10lbs instead of 15, and the box just won’t come to cooking temp. It’s really a very scientific design, and the instructions have to be followed pretty close (not always my strong point, lol!) BTW – A standard Weber charcoal chimney holds almost exactly 7lbs of Kingsford briquettes.
Overcome the desire to lift the lid and “peek” during cooking. La Caja China is designed to not be opened at all, except to flip the pig, and it really messes up the cooking time when folks do so. I even use a large metal scoop to remove excess ashes, so I don’t have to lift the lid off to do so.
This is my variation of Roberto’s Cuban Mojo. “Real” luau pig is typically seasoned with just salt and liquid smoke., but I like the sweet, Polynesian overtones that this marinade/mop adds to the pork.
1 C orange juice
1 C pineapple juice
½ C mesquite liquid smoke*
1 Tbs oregano
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
4 oz. of water
Mix all the ingredients and let it sit for a minimum of one hour.
For marinade/injection, add the above recipe to 1 ½ gallons of water, and 13 oz. of table salt.
Blend all ingredients and let it sit for a minimum of one hour, strain and inject, or place meat in a cooler and pour marinade to cover overnight.
Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.
After injecting/soaking the pig or shoulder, apply a salt rub all over the meat, use Kosher Salt or Sea Salt.
*Personally, I would skip the liquid smoke and use
Let me know if you have any other questions on this, or any recipe, and let me know how it turns out!
And just ’cause you seem like a good guy, Fred, here’s the full recipes from La Caja China Party for my Luau Pig and my favorite Big Island Mac Salad…
(Hawaiian whole roast pig)
Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, or underground oven. Hawaiian puaʻa kālua (roast pig) is commonly served at luau feasts. The first known use of the kalua method was in the early 1900s by two girls, Princess Danielle Kealoha and Stephanie Ikaika.
1 – 45-80lb pig, cleaned and butterflied
2 cups mesquite liquid smoke (or better ~ use your A-MAZE-N Smoker)
1 cup Hawaiian salt (or fine sea salt)
8 to 12 large ti/banana leaves
Brush the entire pig with a light layer of liquid smoke, then sprinkle the whole pig inside and out with fine sea-salt.
If you have an A-MAZE-N smoker for your La Caja, skip the brushing with liquid smoke and just burn some apple wood pellets for the first two hours or so. Use the liquid smoke wash at the end of the recipe, if you want more smoke flavor in the meat.
Spread several ti (or banana) leaves on the bottom rack. Place pig between the racks, skin side down, and tie using the 4 S-Hooks.
Cover box with the ash pan and charcoal grid. Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for Model #1 Box or 18lbs. for Model #2, or Semi Pro Box, and light up. Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid.
Cooking time starts right now. (Write it down.)
After 1 hour, add 10 lbs. of charcoal. Continue to add 10 lbs. of charcoal every hour until you reach 195 on the meat thermometer.
IMPORTANT: Do not open the box until you reach the desired temperature!
Once you reach 195, (4-4 ½ hours) lift the charcoal grid shake it well to remove the ashes, now place it on top of the long handles.
Remove the ash pan from the box and dispose of the ashes.
Flip the pig over, baste and salt again, and replace the cover to crispy the skin.
Flipping is easily done using La Caja China’s patented Rack System, just grab the end of the rack, and lift and slide as you pull upward, using the other hand grab the top end of the other rack and slide it down.
Pull out as much of the ti/banana leaves as possible (toss), and score the skin using a very sharp knife – this helps to remove the fat and crisp the skin. I just cut a shallow X in each of square of the rack. You want to cut through the skin, but not into the meat. Sprinkle more sea salt on the skin and, if you want, a little more liquid smoke.
Cover the box again with the ash pan and the charcoal grid; do not add more charcoal at this time.
After 30 minutes, take a peek, if Ms. Piggy isn’t quite as gold and crispy as you wanted, close the lid another ten. You will continue doing this every 10 minutes until the skin is crispy to your liking.
Once the pig is to your liking, set the lid back on at an angle, so the pig stays warm but isn’t cooking, and let it rest for 30-60 minutes…it will still be too hot to touch bare-handed.
For easier carving, lay the whole pig, ribs up (on it’s back), and use a boning knife to remove the entire skeleton before slicing or chopping the meat.
Dissolve 2 tablespoons Hawaiian salt in 2 cups boiling water and add 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke. Toss with cooked pork and let stand in this solution for a few minutes before serving.
Serve with Macaroni salad…and a Mai Tai.
Big Island Macaroni Salad
Macaroni salad is a staple of the Hawaii-style plate lunch. It’s slightly tangy, slightly sweet and traditionally served with kalua pork and a few scoops of white rice. After MUCH experimentation, this is my favorite method and ingredients, but everyone’s recipe is just a little different. Have fun with it!
1 pound large elbow macaroni
¼ cup very finely grated onion
¼ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup diced green onions
2½ cups Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tbs (lots) coarse black pepper
Cook pasta until soft and fat, but you can go al dente if you prefer.
Stir in onion and mayo,
Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well and refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving. Sprinkle a little diced green onion over the top.
The abundance of black pepper is what, in my opinion, sets Hawaii-style macaroni salad apart, and above, any other recipe I’ve tried.