Thought it might be time to get all of my La Caja China “How To” posts indexed for easy ready (and to save myself the trouble of constantly looking up the individual URLs…I’m so lazy…)
La Caja China is not a good or a service – It’s an experience. It’s a culture. It’s about the age-old mainstays of good food, good friends, and good times. It’s rugged but romantic. Requiring butchering, braising, brining and handling. It’s charcoal and chatter. As the food cooks, the aromas become as enticing as the spectacle itself. It becomes not just a conversation piece, but a conversation starter.
Most of all, La Caja China is realizing that in 4 hours or less you’ve made a delicious, authentic meal that ended up feeding your soul.
Here are some of my most popular “how to” posts on La Caja China…if you’re looking for great recipes for cooking on your La Caja China, check out my cookbooks La Caja China Cooking and La Caja China Word, available in paperback and Kindle eBook on Amazon.com at www.perryperkinsbooks.com
I base my calculations on “dressed weight” because that’s how I always buy my pigs.
Remember, this is a generalization, pigs (like people) can carry widely different ratios of muscle, bone, and fat.
So, now you know how much porktastic meat you’ll end up with, but…how much are people going to eat?
I plan 1/2lb per person, edible yield, for “mixed groups” (Men, women, and children), or potlucks with lots of side dishes.
So… 52lbs eatable yield / .5 = 100 servings (rounded down.) I know, that sounds like a lot, but it’s worked out almost exactly to that figure with the last half-dozen pigs I’ve roasted. This is likely because for every mom who nibbles on a 1/4lb slice of pig, there’s a teen-age boy scoffing down three times as much!
I plan 3/4lb per person, dressed weight, if it’s mostly men, or if I’m just serving pulled pork sandwiches as the meal.
This equates to about 70 servings from a 52lb pig.
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!
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.
“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.