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How to prevent burning on a La Caja China whole pig

La Caja China whole pig

Got a couple of great questions today from JW, over at Chowhound. He asks…

Hey Chef Perry. Great Video! I am cooking a pig next week. In your opinion, what do prefer best. The Cuban way with the mojo, or something else.

Also, when I do our block parties pig, the parts that stick up the most get extra crispy/burnt.

Any way of making it more even?

Thank you! – JW

JW, thanks!

While the Cuban version is delicious, as a Georgia transplant, I personally prefer a Southern “Pickin’ Pig” with just salt, pepper, smoke, and an occasional spritz of apple-juice and cider vinegar. I use a couple of less pounds of coals per round, and roast for around 8 hours, looking for an internal ham temp of 190-195, before flipping.

RE: burnt spots – two things I do…

La Caja China Pig

First, for a long cook like this, I take a very quick peek (just lifting a corner and checking with a flashlight) every couple of hours. If I see one end getting darker faster, I’ll pivot the coal rack 180d to re-position the hot spot.

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Second, if it’s getting two dark for my liking, I’ll patch those areas with foil (just enough to cover the problem). Typically between the 5 and 8 hour mark.

Removing ashes from La Caja China

A final trick – adding fresh coals will really jack up the heat if you’ve just dumped ashes. I usually put on fresh coals from my chimneys, spread, and wait about 1/2 hour before scraping the insulating layer of coals beneath. This tends to moderate the heat spikes that causes burn spots.

Hope that helps!

Chef Perry
La Caja China Cooking
La Caja China World
La Caja China Party
La Caja China Grilling (Coming Soon!)

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