Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know that we created a La Caja China board on Pinterest this weekend.
Great place to find a bunch of my recipes, tips, and tricks in one place!
I like chicken just about any way it can be prepared, but for the juiciest, most flavorful bird, I’ll hang my hat on rotisserie grilling, even more so now with the grill accessories that are available. This even-heating, self-basting method ensures a perfectly cooked bird, with crispy skin all around. Using a grill (with a rotisserie burner) is especially convenient when cooking for parties or holiday get-togethers, as it frees up the oven and stove-top, and you don’t even have to remember to flip or baste your entrée!
Start with a good dry rub, end with proper treatment of the finished fowl, and you’ll have a winner chicken dinner that folks are going to remember!
Plus, rotisserie cooking is thought to be the oldest cooking technique known to man… so that’s pretty cool, too.
Here are 5 things to remember when grilling a chicken rotisserie style:
Dry rub 8-24 hours in advance
A dry rub is a combination of salt, spices, herbs, and sometimes sugars, that’s used to flavor meat in advance of cooking. Unlike a marinade or brine, a dry rub forms a crust on the outside of the meat when cooked.
The salt draws out the juices in the meat, making it more moist and tender, while the sugars caramelize and form a seal that traps in flavor and juices.
You can add just about anything you want to a rub (and you should experiment with some of your own favorite flavors) but here’s my go-to dry rub for chicken: 2 Tbsp. sea salt + 1 Tbsp. each: dark brown sugar, coarse black pepper, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, and Italian seasonings. Combine all in an airtight container and mix until completely blended.
Once you’ve sprinkled, then rubbed the spices into (and under) the skin, and trussed it, wrap the whole bird in plastic wrap and refrigerate until 1-2 hours before you plan to start cooking it. Be sure to sprinkle some of your seasonings into the body cavity of the chicken or turkey, as well.
Truss the bird
Trussing (tying up) a whole bird before cooking is always a good idea as it helps keep it moist and promotes even cooking (and a prettier presentation), but for rotisserie grilling it’s absolutely essential. A non-trussed bird will loosen up on the bar, legs and wings floppin’ ever which-a-way, and start burning at the extremities long before the rest of the chicken is cooked through to the bone.
Trussing isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take some practice to perfect. Google “How to truss a chicken” for any number of excellent videos and step-by-step guides to trussing.
Watch the heat
I like to preheat my grill (burners on full, lid down) before putting the pre-loaded spit (the rod that holds the meat) in place. Watch the bird closely, checking every few minutes at first, and adjust your flame as needed to avoid hot spots or burning the skin.
Cook to the right temp
Figure about 25 minutes per pound to cook a chicken on a rotisserie, but what you’re really looking for in an internal temp in the thickest part of the thigh of 175 °F. A lot of variables can affect the number of minutes it takes a bird to cook to the bone, including starting temp of the meat, the heat of your grill, and the weather while cooking, but 175 °F is done regardless of outside influences.
Give it a rest
Once your chicken is removed from the heat, it’s vital that it be allowed to “rest” for 15-20 minutes, tented loosely in foil.
Resting allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its own juices back into the muscle fibers as they cool. The reason for tenting in foil is to keep the surface temperature from dropping much faster than the internal temp, which can lead to drying.
Once the chicken has rested go ahead and snip away the trussing (I use a pair of kitchen shears for this), cut the bird up as you see fit, and serve.
Oh, and be sure to save those lovely roasted bones and extra bits for making stock or flavoring soups or gravies. It’s gold!
Hi Perry: We just became proud owners of a #2 La caja china cooking box. But after ordering sour orange Juice and the other Mojo can of Guava shells on line the cost is really “ costly “.
Do you have any ideas or substitutions for Pierna Criolla pork shoulders?
We watched the Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Roberto Guerra. What fun!
P.S. (Sure hope you can help us out)
YES! I’ve found everything I need to make Pierna criolla at my local Mexican grocery. There’s one in Wilsonville in the strip mall behind the Arbys. There are a couple in Tualatin, as well, but I haven’t checked them out yet.
Here’s a top secret trick…if you can’t find guava shells, buy some halved peaches (in water) drain well, pat as dry as possible, then soak overnight in Guava Nectar (available at most grocery stores with the juices or sodas.)
Also, you can make a really good “sour orange” by mixing 3 parts fresh squeezed orange juice with 1 part lemon juice. You can see the recipes for making the mojo this way, in this post.
Be sure to download a copy of my La Caja China Guidebook (it’s free!)
Lemme know if you have any other questions!
We have a great guest post today from our friend’s at JES Restaurant Equipment! Check out the infographic, below, on some very common mistakes that grillers make, and the corresponding tips to help make your live-fire cooking the best it can be!
Now that the weather’s warmed up, millions of people are firing up the grill and cooking up delicious meals. But how many of you are making these common grilling mistakes?
We focused on tips for a gas grill (like the popular Holland Grills), but these tips will work equally well on charcoal grills.
Oh sure, you can have your Memorial Day, and Independence Day, and Labor Day, but the problem with those are, everyone else is barbecuing as well! It can be hard to get enough folks over to justify a decent pig-pickin’ when every Weber on the block is burnin’ dogs.
Besides, Presidents Day has such a fine history or barbecue…
“When George Washington “went in to Alexandria to a Barbecue and stayed all Night,” as he wrote in his diary for May 27, 1769, he won eight shillings playing cards and probably ate meat from a whole hog, cooked for hours over hardwood coals, then chopped or “pulled.”
By the early nineteenth century at the latest, a sauce of vinegar and cayenne pepper (originally West Indian) was being sprinkled on the finished product. This ur-barbecue can be found to this day in eastern North Carolina and the adjoining regions of South Carolina and Virginia, virtually unchanged.” (Adapted from Holy Smoke: The Tar Heel Barbecue Tradition, by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and Will McKinney to be published by the University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2008.)
Says Steven Raichlen, author of “Planet Barbecue” and host of “Primal Grill” on PBS, “Our presidents were known to be big fans of the laid-back pastime as well. George Washington’s diaries abound with references to barbecues, including one that lasted for three days. George Washington was a major barbecue buff, and when Abraham Lincoln’s parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue.”
Lyndon Johnson built his campaign around Texas-style barbecues, a variation on an old tradition: In the 19th century, roast pig and whiskey were staples at political rallies. Having combined generous amounts of Kentucky bourbon and slow-roasted pork on occassion myself, I can say with some authority that this is a wise political tactic…after several hours you would passionately cast your vote for the pig, if someone put a ballot in your hand!
In fact, President Johnson had a full-time barbecue chef, Mr, Walter Jetton, employed on the LBJ Ranch full time. I have his cookbook…it’s highly amusing.
Ronald Reagan engaged the BBQ catering services of Wayne Monk of Lexington for the 1983 Economic Summit in Williamsburg.
Even President Obama, who, having grown up in Hawaii, is likely to have an undeniable love of pork…I mean bbq of course…got into the action with Iron Chef Bobby Flay, grilling up some fine looking steaks at the White House for the Young Men’s Barbeque in 2009. (Hope they were good…we payed for ’em! lol)
And, of course, if you can get a herd of hungry revelers over, you can go whole hog…but I’d put the bourbon away first, if I were you.
And here’s my favorite “traditional” bbq sauce recipe, from …which is probably pretty similar to what Ol’ George sunk his wooden teeth into, at those all-night poker parties!
Perk’s Tradition BBQ Sauce
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally.
Enjoy the day!
May all your holidays be filled with the blessings that life can bestow. And though, for all of us, in different ways, this has been a tough year, try to remember something my father taught me. Something I reflect upon that occasionally has helped me through a tough time…
At your moment of greatest suffering, when everything seems it’s darkest, somewhere in the world, some unsuspecting turkey is about to have a fistful of stuffing shoved deep into his eviserated body cavity…
In other words, things could be worse. Happy Thanksgiving!” – Bon Saget
Appetizer 1: Mojo Shrimp Skewers
Grilled seafood makes a great appetizer before a big dinner because not only it it a light, tasty snack that won’t dull the tastebuds, it’s also quick and easy grilling for a chef who’s in full-bore production mode.
Appetizer 2: Caprese Tomato Bites
I like to follow a hot appetizer with a cold one and, since the following salad recipe has none of these ingresients, this balances nicely.
1 pint cherry tomatoes, about 16
2 mozzarella cheese sticks
16 fresh basil leaves, small
Extra virgin olive oil
Salad: Wild Greens tossed with Balsamic Viniegrette
Turkey: Mojo Brined Turkeys in La Caja China
Cuban Tostone Stuffing
6 green plantains
1 lb. thick bacon, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 sweet chili peppers, seeded & diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
Sides: Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Giblet Gravy, Simple Grilled Asparagus
‘Course, if you wanna try something completely different…but still savor the flavor or Thanksgiving, try your hand at our Turkey Explosion Recipe!
1 pound sliced bacon
1.5 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon each sage, garlic powder, salt, pepper
1 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 sweet onion, diced fine
1/4 lb Mushrooms. sliced thin
2 stalks celery, diced fine
2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup sweet cream butter
1/4 cup turkey rub (see below)
3/4 cup cranberry barbecue sauce (see link)
…and, of course…it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the WKRP Turley Drop!
Happy Thanksgiving all!
It’s Labor Day Weekend, Baby! Backyard BBQ-masters across the country are firing up their grills and getting ready for one of the biggest grilling days of the summer! I don’t know about you, but both my wife, and my home-owner’s insurance agent seem to breathe a little easier if I go over a brief “safety-checklist” before I start playing with fire.
1. If you’re firing up coals this year, check the mesh basket in the bottom of your charcoal chimney. A good chimney should provide many years of perfect service, but they can, over time, start to rust out and collapse. I’ve only had this happen once, and luckily with unit charcoal. Few things would take the fun out of outdoor cooking faster than a pile of burning coals around your flip-flops. Give the basket a couple of tugs, and check for rust––especially at the points where it connects to the wall of the chimney. Jiggle the handle, tightening if necessary, as well.