Tag Archives: caja china recipes

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!

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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.

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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Luau Pork Shoulders

Luau Pork Shoulders in La Caja China

                                                           Luau Pork Shoulders in La Caja China Model 2




Roasted up 4 pork shoulders (6lb ea) in La Caja China yesterday for my little girl’s birthday Luau. They came out great!

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After bringing the shoulders to temp, I scored the fat cap and rubbed them with coarse sea salt and liquid smoke.

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Then wrapped them in banana leaves (couldn’t find Ti leaves) tied with string, then wrapped in foil.

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Roasted them for about six hours, maintaining a box temp of about 200d. Started with 16lbs of coals and added 5lbs every half-hour. That’s not exactly how the instructions read, but I’ve found the “every hour” thing caused dips in the heat, and I can maintain a more even 200 by adding less coals, more often. I used the racks and flipped the shoulders after about 4 hours. Then unwrapped them and peeled back the banana leaves to let the fat get crispy for the last half-hour.



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Cooked to about 180d (would have cooked longer, but I had hungry guests waiting, lol) Chopped the meat and then mixed with a wash of 1/2 cup liquid smoke, 4 cups hot water, 1/4 cup Adobo Criollo spices, and 2 Tbs seasoned salt. I let that sit about 15 minutes, drained remaining liquid (most had been soaked up) and served.

I think the wash made it all much more flavorful, I will be be experimenting with different types in the future!

For more of Chef Perry’s La Caja China Cooking recipes, check out his cookbooks at:

www.perryperkinsbooks.com

 

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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La Caja China Pig Roast

 La Caja China

Okay, here’s the 4th post in the La Caja China series. Previously, we’ve had a luau, added the smoker-pistol attachment, and cooked up some ribs. Finally we’re going to go whole-hog (ouch)…
The bad news…my digital thermometer died about fifteen minutes into the process.
The good news…followed the directions printed on the box to a tee, along with the “pig roast worksheet” and the piggie came out perfect!1 – 42lb pig, cleaned and butterflied
1 – gallon mojo (see below)
1 – 1lb fine sea-salt
2 – 18 bags of charcoal (exactly.)
Oh, and you can find this, and many more, step-by-step recipes in my cookbooks, La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, and La Caja China Party, as well.

keeping a whole pig cold

So, here’s Ms. Piggy…picked her up at Owijamaya in Beaverton, $200.00, probably could have found her cheaper, but this was a store I trusted and the pig was ready to exactly my specifications.

Note: Always warn your wife, in advance, that she’s going to find a big dead animal in her bathtub…

My partner in crime, Chef Chris, seasons Ms. Piggy with some fine-grain sea salt. That smoker you see behind his is loaded to the gills with Chris’s world-famous briskets.

Roasting a pig in La Caja China

We’d injected the pig with my mojo (recipe below) the day before and, to get a little extra “pit” flavor, I’m brushing her with Stubb’s Mesquite Liquid Smoke. I know this will make some purists scream, but until I can figure out the rippin’-frippin’ smoke pistol, it was the best I could do. (And…it tasted awesome.) UPDATE: Skip the liquid smoke and get yourself an A-MAZE-N Smoker! Simple to use, awesome results! See our video here.

Roasting a pig in La Caja China

Got the two piles of coals started. Another thing I love about the ‘China…if I’m just cooking internally, and not using the exterior grills, I can fire up whatever stinky, nasty, “quick-lighting” brand of coals I want, as the flavor won’t touch the meat. Still, make sure your work area is upwind…that stuff reeks!


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Roasting a pig in La Caja China

So, a couple of hundred hands of poker later…(about 3.5 hours) the lid came off and it was time to see what was making that wonderful smell.

Per instructions, we flipped her over (very easy) and scored the skin with a sharp knife.

Another quick brush of smoke. (That bullet-smoker chuggin’ away behind me is loaded with beer-can chickens. Dane used a Thai marinate in the birds and in the cans.)

Roasting a pig in La Caja China

After 15 minutes, skin-side up, we took a peek, but Ms. Piggy wasn’t quite as crispy as I wanted, so we closed the lid of another 5. Perfect. Set the lid at 45d and let the pig set for almost an hour…it was still too hot to touch bare-handed.

Ain’t she purty?

Now, I’ve cooked a LOT of pork-shoulders over the years, but I’ve never tasted any pork that compared to this. It was sweet and juicy, and the crispy skin was out of the world!

This was the first pig I’ve done, and I have to say it was so much easier than I thought. If you can read the instructions printed on the box, you can roast a whole pig.

Happy to answer any question!

~ Chef Perry

Perks Mojo

Ingredients:

½ cup minced garlic (the wet stuff.)

¼ cup fine sea salt

1/8 cup black pepper, fine ground

2 Tbs dried Oregano

2 quarts orange juice

1 quart lemon juice

1 quart pineapple juice

Mix all. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer.

Set aside 4 cups of mojo for later use.

Inject pig immediately, and refrigerate 24 hours.

Add 1 cup of Stubb’s mesquite liquid smoke to reserved mojo and use to baste pig before lighting the coals, just before turning, and again after turning.

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