Pulled Pork on the Grill

Pork shoulders on a gas grill

Here’s how I do it…

Rub the shoulder with a commercial spice rub (or make your own dry rub) and/or inject the pork shoulder. Set it aside for a few minutes and rub again over any wet spots. Keep doing this until there are no wet spots, the heavier the rub, the better. This makes the “bark” of the shoulder. Wrap the whole thing in saran and fridge 12-24 hours.

Dry rub for pork shoulders

Take shoulder out of fridge and let sit 60 minutes to bring the temp up.

You want indirect heat for cooking, you can easily do this on a conventional gas grill. Just keep the meat as far from the heat source as possible, or it will burn during the long cooking time. You want to cook this at 225 degrees Fahrenheit; you can go as high as 250, but no higher. You don’t want to go lower than 225, as you will start to dry out the meat before it is cooked.

A nice touch is to put the shoulder on the “cool side” of the bbq, and place a disposable pan with a couple of cups of apple juice underneath it. 

A spray bottle with 50/50 apple juice and cider vinegar is nice for basting, as well.

For Smoke: I like to use a 50/50 mix of apple and mesquite chips, soaked together. Add 1 cup every 30 minutes for the first 3 hours.

smoking pork shoulders in a gas grill

 

If you don’t trust your onboard thermometer, get a cheap instant read (or better, a digital probe) and stick the probe all the way through a halved potato. Set the potato cut-side down on the grill. This keeps your thermometer off the grates.

Also, if your smoke-pipe doesn’t come all the way down to the level of the grates, add a piece of flashing (or roll a tube of heavy foil) to extend it. Otherwise 90% of your heat and smoke are flowing across the lid and out the top without ever touching the meat. By bringing the pipe down to the grate level, the shoulder stays bathed in smoke the whole time.

shredding pulled porkThe meat will take between 12 and 14 hours to cook, depending on the size of the roast. The meat is done when it reaches an internal temperature of at least 200 degrees. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer (you should really get one) the meat is done when it pulls apart easily.

Let the shoulder rest at least 30 minutes (45 is better) before shredding with bear paws. This allows the juices to soak back into the meat. Serve with a sauce on the side (see below) and some white bread slices to use as edible napkins!

Or, serve with white bread and coleslaw and make sandwiches out of all (that’s how we do it down south.)

Another option, since your shoulder can only suck up so much smoke is to pop it into the oven after 3hrs, at 225 (draped loosely in foil) until it reaches temp. I like to serve with my Dirty Little Secret Sauce on the side.

Pulled Pork Tips:

Cook with fat-cap up

Marinate, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (12-24 is best)

For oven cooking, brush lightly with Stubbs mesquite liquid smoke, then roast at 225d for 8-10 hours, or until internal temp reaches 200d

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Chili-Lime Grilled Lamb Chops

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I enjoy a good piece of grass-fed, dry-aged beef as much as the next food snob, but if given my ‘druthers, I’d take a properly cooked peice of lamb-leg, or lamb chop over cow, any day of the week.

Here’s a favorite recipe of mine, for grilling on top of La Caja China. Makes a great snack while the pig’s roasting!

8 rib lamb chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Brush both sides of chops with lime juice, and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chops, rub it evenly all over the meat, and chill the chops overnight.

Prepare La Cajita China, or grill, with glowing coals. For a “high-heat” sear, I like to use my Weber charcoal chimney set directly on the Cajita ash pan.  Fill the chimney 3/4, light, and allow to burn down to half full.

On the oiled rack of the grill or on a broiler pan in the broiler, grill or broil the chops 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare, rotating halfway through for grill marks.

When I pull the chops off the grill, I let them rest for 10 minutes, then serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and sweet green peas.

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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La Caja China Cooking on Facebook!

La Caja China Cooking on Facebook

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La Caja China Guidebook: Free eBook

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La Caja China, for all the pig-related press, is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment I’ve used in a lifetime of cooking and barbecue

With it, we can prepare everything from holiday dinners like St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and Thanksgiving turkey; ethnic delights like Malaysian Satays and Italian porchetta sandwiches, to Kalua pig and Moroccan lamb. We can grill steaks, braise chickens, and roast prime-rib that rivals any restaurant, and do it all in our own backyard…or yours!

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And, of course, we can roast melt-in-your-mouth whole pigs (see the video) that send our guests into fits of gastronomical joy.

Even more importantly, we can prepare these dishes for crowds that would normally require a smoke house, a four-foot deep pit dug in my yard, multiple gas grills, or several full-size ovens. Not only that, but we can do it anywhere, anytime!

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Got questions about brining & injecting, best ways to deal with hot (or cold) weather cooking, the little secrets chefs use to get next-level results?

This free La Caja China Guidebook is your window into the best assembly and preparation tips, and 5 years of chef tested techniques for cooking and serving your pig, lamb, turkeys and pork shoulders, as well as delicious grilling and side recipes.

I love food, I love cooking, and I love La Caja China…and I want to share that love with you.

Please consider me your personal chef “hotline” for anything you want to cook in, or on, your magic box!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
La Caja China Cooking

Here are some of my most popular “how to” ideas and work-arounds that I’ve come up with in nearly four-years of frequent cooking with La Caja China…just click on this cover to download your free PDF version of  my La Caja China Guidebook

Caja China GuidebookLa Caja China Guidebook
Tips and tricks for getting the most from your Magic Box!

If you’re looking for great recipes for cooking on your “magic box”, check out my cookbooks La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party! available in paperback and Kindle eBook on Amazon.com at:

www.perryperkinsbooks.com

 

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you enjoy our recipes, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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Easy smoking in La Caja China – A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER review.

http://i0.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/post41.jpg?resize=233%2C175

Every once in a great while you come across a cooking/bbq add-on that is everything a good accessory should be…simple to use (read: idiot proof) and simple to maintain, making the job at hand less (not more) complicated.

Something that’s 100% effective.

Something that truly lives up to its own marketing hype.

This weekend I found just such a product – the “New” A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER (AMNPS) by A-MAZE-N-PRODUCTS.

First, a little background…

I already own two models of “smoke units” for my various smokers, grills, and La Caja Chinas.

Each is basically effective, in that it imparts a good smoke flavor to the meat that’s cooking. The first is attractively priced at around $50, but very complicated to use, has a major learning curve, and requires the use a proprietary pellet “cartridge” to use. The second is less complicated, allows for non-proprietary pellets/chips, but is 8X more expensive as the first.

Both require an electrical plug in.

http://i0.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/post2.jpg?resize=262%2C196Now, I can complicate a whole pig roast (see my step-by-step video) with just a pig and fire…without tossing in a, sometimes moody, smoke gadget. When it comes to bbq, I’m definitely more Fred Flintstone than James Bond. I want something that’s a no brainer, I want it to be something I don’t have to make a special plan for (I do a lot of cooking in campgrounds, in the mountains, and at the beach, where electricity can be problematic), and I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get it.

Finally…I’ve found something that fits all of my requirements, and requires no “Mods” or drilling of holes in my La Caja China.

The AMNPS is a light weight, durable and portable smoke generator designed to burn pellets or sawdust. The new AMNPS will produce smoke during cold smoking and hot smoking, tested up to 275°. They are versatile enough to be used in just about any smoker or a grill.

At less than fifty-bucks, with no moving parts, no electricity required, and no “special needs”, the AMNPS is built to perform flawlessly for the biggest idiot around…and this weekend it did just that in my La Caja China Semi Pro, at our annual church camp-out and pig roast!

I left the two end rails off my La Caja China for airflow (this creates a ¼ inch gap at either end) and set the smoker on a small piece of foil, directly on top of, and centered on, the pig rack. I used a mix of apple and alder wood pellets, filling the channels of the AMNPS about 2/3 of the way up…lit the pellets with a torch, though a small hole in the end of the smoker, and closed up the La Caja China.  That’s it!

Literally, if you can open a bag of pellets, and light a propane torch…you have mastered all of the skills required to use the A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER.

Note: It took me a while but the “MAZE” in “A-MAZE-N”…it’s a maze…get it? I told you it was idiot proof!

So, my only concern was that the heat from the underside of La Caja China’s coal pan would be intense enough to get all of the pellets smoking at one time, which would defeat the purpose of a long, slow smoke. My worry was for naught…I peeked at around 2.5 hours (I know, I know, I always say “no peeking” but these were special circumstances!) and the AMNPS had run about ½ the course. I checked again at 5.5 hours and it had burned to the end.

So it works…you don’t have to peek for yourself. Rule #1 – No Peeking!

The mix of pellets gave a perfect subtly sweet/smoky flavor to our 85lb pig, creating a beautiful 1/2 to 3/4 inch “smoke ring” on the shoulders and hams. In fact, my pastor, who’s also a foodie and bbq junkie, took one look at the pellet smoker, and spent the rest of the weekend trying to talk me out of it!

I doubt I’ll ever use either of my other “smoke units” again…I’m totally sold out on the AMNPS. I’ll be updating the “smoking” recommendations in all of our cookbooks in the next few weeks, to recommend this pellet smoker…that’s how serious I am about it.

If you have a La Caja China, another brand of pig roasting box, or any smoker or grill that requires a smoking accessory, you need an A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER.

Tell ’em Perry sent you!

Okay, I gotta go eat some leftover pig now.

Happy Q’ing!

-Chef Perry

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How to get super crispy skin on whole roast pig

Caja China crispy skin

A friend of mine asked about how to achieve that super crispy “pig candy” skin when roasting a pig in La Caja China.

First of all, just following the directions on the box itself is a great start, and will get you a yummy crisp skin. For that “potato-chip” crisp that makes Cuban and Fillipino lechón so amazing, however, I suggest a couple of things above and beyond the typical recipe.

The first two steps can be used with any “whole hog” cooking method, while the third is specific to La Caja China style roasting boxes.

The fact is, the dryer skin is when you start cooking, the crisper is will turn out.

That lovely crunchy skin on Peking Duck comes from air-drying the duck’s skin prior to cooking. Similarly, there are a couple of things you can to to get super-crunch results with your pig. crispy pig skin

#1. After marinading (or if not marinading, then the night before roasting) pat the entire pig down with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then, rub the skin generously with a salt-heavy rub, or straight sea salt. I recommend a fine grind, as it will adhere better. Personally, I prefer to inject the pig (or whatever I’m roasting), instead of marinating it externally, as soaking in liquid for hours is kinda counter productive to drying the skin, lol. It’s also a lot less messy. http://i1.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/p9110317.jpg?resize=396%2C266 #2. As you bring the pig to room temp (a must), set up an oscillating fan – or, preferably, two – pointed at the uncovered pig, to help to help “air-dry” the skin as much as possible. If your fan(s) can’t cover the whole carcass at one time, move them around every 30 minutes or so. http://i1.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/article1.jpg?resize=331%2C271 (Yes, I know these are ducks…but you get the idea! Btw, here’s THAT recipe –Peking Duck ala La Cajita China)

#3. When you flip your pig to brown the skin for the last 30 minutes or so, pat the skin down again with paper towels, give it another sprinkle of rub, and (most important) set the coal tray back on at a slight angle so that there are gaps on both sides of the box.

This will allow any excess moisture cooking out of the skin to escape the box, instead of being contained and “steaming” the skin.

Watch your pig carefully at this point, as a dry skin will brown (and burn) much faster than one with a high moisture content.

Check out our video for a step-by-step on roasting a whole pig.

Hope that helps, lemme know if you have any questions!

– Chef Perry

PS – I like this Q&A so much, I’m going to update my free ebook, “La Caja China Guidebook” with this info! Thanks!

PPS – If your first try or two for crispy skin doesn’t turn out perfect, DON’T THROW THAT SKIN OUT! Instead, bag it, let it cool (or freeze), then, when you’re ready for an awesome snack, cut the skin into 2×2 squares, and place them on a rack , skin up, over a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Sprinkle lightly with salt or rub, and roast in a 300d oven for 3 hours or until deeply tan and very crispy. Allow to cool until just warm, and serve with a dipping mix of cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flake.So FREAKIN’ good!

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

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Brining vs. Injecting Pork

Injecting Marinate La Caja China Pig

Lee asks:

Here in the UK we don’t tend to inject our meats so can you tell me if using a brine solution makes the pork taste salty.What are the benefits of using the brine? – Thanks again, Lee

Lee, you bet!

Brining turkeys

Brining whole turkeys for The Father’s House Street Ministry each Thanksgiving,

As far as injections, it’s all a matter of what you consider “salty”. You certainly don’t need to salt the cooked meat, but it is in no way off-putting, as long as you follow a tested recipe.

Brine, because of the salt content, will give greater flavor than a marinade, the salts open the proteins in the meat and they absorb more moisture, so brined meat will be juicier after cooking. (And more forgiving to over-cooking!)

Personally, I think that pork benefits best from both marinating AND brining. Think of it as two separate techniques, the injection moistens and flavors the deep muscle tissue, while the marinade adds flavor to the exterior of the meat, and to the skin. For a whole pig, I’ll typically do a “dry marinade” ie: a thick spice paste, or a dry rub.

Meats that improve with a good brine:

Chicken & turkey (whole or cut)
Rabbit (or any non-red game meat)
Pork (especially boneless picnic ribs)
Smoked Salmon/Fish

Fatty meats like beef and lamb are generally not improved by brining.

My basic brine = 1 cup coarse Kosher or sea salt + 1 cup sugar (white or brown) + 1 gallon purified water.

Bring water to a high simmer, add salt and sugar to dissolve, and allow to cool to room temp before adding the meat. You can increase or decrease the amount of brine, as long as you have enough to completely submerse the meat, by modifying the brine ingredients in these proportions.

For more on brining, check out this post: 4 Tips for Better BBQ

My favorite injection is Cuban Mojo (moe-hoe), that I learned from my friend Roberto over at La Caja China (recipe below), for a more traditional brine, check out My Family’s Favorite Brined Turkey, here!

Traditional Cuban Mojo

Recipe by Roberto Guerra

This classic Cuban seasoning sauce makes a flavorful marinade for meats and poultry. Traditionally this is made with sour oranges, cumin, lots of garlic. With larger cuts (pork shoulder, or whole pig & lamb) it can be injected into the meat 12-24 hours before cooking.

Mojo Bacon Skewers1 C sour orange juice
1 Tbs oregano
1 Tbs bay leaves
1 garlic bulb
1 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
4 oz of water

Peel and mash the garlic cloves. Mix all the ingredients and let it sit for a minimum of one hour.

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.

You can replace the sour orange juice with the following mix: 6 oz. orange juice, 2 oz. lemon juice.

I use this recipe for my all-time favorite appetizer as well, Mojo Shrimp Skewers.  Mojo is also a traditional dipping sauce for Cuban Tostones (twice-fried plantain round) – which are freakin’ awesome. That recipe is included in my cookbooks, La Caja China World, and La Caja China Party!

To make this mojo into a marinade, add the above recipe to 1 ½ gallons of water, and 13 oz. of table salt.

Injecting pork shoulders

How to inject:

Put your pork shoulder in a pan or baking dish, fill your syringe, and inject in 4-6 spots. Pick a spot, stick the needle deep into the meat, and slowly depress the plunger while pulling the needle out, this allows the meat to close behind the needle.

Refill and repeat 4 times in various spots, until you’ve used 1/2 of the injection. The pork won’t hold all of the solution, so it’s okay for some of it to run out.

Flip the shoulder and repeat, then set the butt aside. Repeat the process with the second pork butt. Here’s the injector I use, and here’s the one I WANT, lol. BTW, if you’re just starting out, La Caja China has a great injection package that includes the injector, mojo, spices, and more…

LCC-S1876-2

After injecting, sprinkle the rub generously on all sides, and “rub” it in to help it stick to the meat.  Cover meat and refrigerate 24 hours, allowing to come to room temp before cooking.

Okay, pit-masters…got any tips to add?

Enjoy!

-Chef Perry

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

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How much is enough? BBQ for a crowd.

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One of the most frustrating aspects of cooking for a crowd is the fear of running out of food.

I HATE seeing an empty pan on my serving table!

So, how much should you buy? Too little, and you risk running out, too much and you’ve spent more than you need to (this looks especially bad to a catering client!)

Here are some general guidelines to help you calculate how many people you can serve with that raw chunk of meat on the butcher’s shelf…

When planning a meal, it is always better to purchase too much meat than not enough. Always be prepared for people with larger appetites.

One trick I use is to add a “mystery” guest for every 4 confirmed. In other words, I plan 5 portions for 4 people, 10 portions for 8, 15 for 12, etc. If there are leftovers, the cooked meat will keep in the refrigerator for several days or the unused portions may be frozen for long term storage.

How much to cook in La Caja China

Luau pork shoulders in La Caja China

Approximate BB

(Raw weight)
Pork, Shoulder Bone-in                        3
Pork, Back Ribs                                    1.5
Pork, Country Style Ribs                     2
Pork, Spareribs                                    1.5
Pork, Whole                                          1.5
Beef, Standing Rib                               2.5
Beef, Ribs                                              2.5
Beef, Tri-Tip                                         4
Chicken, Whole                                     3
Lamb, Leg (bone in)                             1
Turkey, Whole                                     ¾


MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this recipe, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.

 

When planning a meal, it is always better to purchase too much meat than not enough.

Always be prepared for people with larger appetites.

One trick I use is to add a “mystery” guest for every 4 confirmed. In other words, I plan 5 portions for 4 people, 10 portions for 8, 15 for 12, etc.

If there are leftovers, the cooked meat will keep in the refrigerator for several days or the unused portions may be frozen for long term storage.

Happy Q’ing!

-Chef Perry

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“La Caja China Party!” Now Available!

La Caja China Party!

Just in time for Christmas!

  • 13 Themes
  • 85 Recipes
  • 160+ Photos

This is it, the best of my three La Caja China Cookbooks, and fully illustrated…perfect for using the magic box to create amazing memories for every occasion! In the box, on the grill, sides, desserts, and the perfect drinks!

Get your copy now, directly from the publisher!
(3-5 business days to be listed on Amazon.com.)

Chef Perry P. Perkins
Author
“La Caja China Cooking”
“La Caja China World”
“La Caja China Smoke”

MY KITCHEN Outreach ProgramBy the way, if you’re enjoying this post, please subscribe to our free newsletter! We’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each Friday.

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La Caja China’s Upcoming “Whole Hog” Rotisserie

 

Pretty excited about this”whole hog” rotisserie from La Caja China! Available as an accessory for the holidays.

I see Filipino-style lechon in my future!

Chef Perry
La Caja China Cooking
La Caja China World
La Caja China Party (10/2015)
joinmykitchen.com

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by | September 25, 2015 · 6:43 AM