Category Archives: Q & A

Q & A: Roasting a whole lamb

Hi Perry,

I am cooking a 48 lb lamb on the caja china this weekend. Any suggestions on total cooking time, amount of charcoal, etc…? I’ve done a pig before, but I am concerned about cooking the lamb to medium-rare temperature.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!




Thanks for your post! Here’s the recipe from my cookbook, “La Caja China Cooking.”

Let me know if you have any further questions, and I hope the lamb turns out great!



Moroccan Whole Roast Lamb
Recipe by Dee Elhabbassi

1 – Grass-fed, three-month-old lamb around 36-40 pounds, skinned. As much surface fat removed as possible.

4 sweet onions, pureed 2 C fresh garlic, ground
2 C butter 2 C olive oil
Salt to taste 3 bunches cilantro, diced
¼ C cumin ½ C coriander
½ C paprika 2 Tbs fresh black pepper

Combine all chermoula ingredients and mix together over medium heat until it forms a paste. (Chermoula is a Moroccan marinade.)

Allow chermoula to set overnight.

Rub this mixture over the surface of the lamb making sure to get it evenly distributed, inside and out. Plan on allowing the chermoula to sit on the meat for 48 hours before you cook.

Place the lamb between the racks, tie using the 4 S-Hooks, and place inside the box, ribs side up. Connect the wired thermometer probe on the leg, be careful not to touch the bone.

Cover box with the ash pan and charcoal grid.

Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for Model #1 Box or 18lbs. for Model #2 Box and light up.

Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid. Cooking time starts right now.

After 1 hour (1st hour) open the box flip the Lamb over (ribs down) close the box and add 9 lbs. of charcoal.

After 1 hour (2nd hour) add 9 lbs. of charcoal.

Do not add any more charcoal; continue cooking the meat until you reach the desired temperature reading on the thermometer.

IMPORTANT: Do not open the box until you reach the desired temperature.

Cooking a whole lamb is as much an event, as it is a meal.

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With a little planning and preparation, it’s no more complicated than cooking a whole pig. Call ahead to your local butcher (if possible, one that specializes in Greek or Middle Eastern meats,) to order your lamb.

Plan on about 4 pounds of raw weight for each guest.

Carving a whole lamb can be intimidating, so take it in sections. You’ll need a large area to work with and several serving dishes or big pans.

Cut away the hind legs, then the forelegs. From here you can start carving up the individual sections.

The meat will be very tender, so slicing should not be a problem.

Fresh Lamb: Rare 140, Medium Rare 145, Medium 160


Filed under Q & A, recipes

Slow Beef Short Ribs without the Grease?

My friend Duane asks:

“Hey Perry, do you have a good recipe for short ribs? They always seem so fat and greasy to me.”

I don’t cook a lot of short ribs, because…well…they tend to be fat and greasy!

There are solutions to this problem, but they’re pretty labor intensive.

Still, when I occasionally get a hankerin’ for short ribs (or, more likely, they’re on sale at a great price…) here’s what I do:

Barbecued Beef Short Ribs

5 pounds beef chuck short ribs
24 ounces Guinness
2 Tbs dry rub
Your favorite homemade, or bottled sauce. (I like Sweet Baby Rays)

Trim the excess fat from the ribs. Put ribs in a large cooking pot, cover with beer, sprinkle in dry rub, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer untol tender (about 2 hours.)

Fire up your grill to medium heat, a place ribs directly over the coals. Mop with 1/4 of the bbq sauce. Cover and grill, turning often and brushing with a second 1/4 of the sauce, until crispy on the outside. (About 15 minutes.)

NOTE: I like to grill beef over an oak & pecan blend of chunk wood. If this is too much of a hassle, at least toss a couple of hand-fulls of oak chips on the coals 5-10 minutes before you add the ribs.

Heat remaining bbq sauce for dipping. Serve with ribs.

If you’re a hard-core bbq purist and shudder at the thought of boiling the short ribs, rub them with spices and cook them at barbecuing temperatures (210°) for about 5-8 hours, in a rib rack, basting with a combo of bbq sauce and beef broth until tender.


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