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Common Grilling Problems

Grilling tips

Our friend Joanne asks:

“I have trouble cooking anything on the grill. I either burn it or it’s not done enough. I’m guessing a thermometer would help me too. Can you recommend a good one?”

Joann – They’re all pretty much the same, the important thing is to keep them calibrated. Anything from Cash & Carry, BB&B, or any “kitchen store” should be fine.  Here’s the one I use… (FYI – everything in our Amazon store is an item that one of us (Terry, Chris, and I) have tested or use regularly).

With grilling it’s usually one, or a combination, of four problems…

1. Too high of heat for the food. A lot of time we crank it up and either the outside burns before the inside cooks, or the inside is raw when the outside looks perfect.

Always keep an “indirect heat” area on your grill, with one burner on med-low (or with just a few coals) and if the internal temp of the meat isn’t high enough and you’re concerned about burning, move the food to that area and tent loosely in foil until the temp comes up to your desired doneness.

2. Not enough “babying”. Unlike food cooked on the stove-top, which often needs to be “left alone”, food on grills are at the mercy of flare-ups and temp spikes. You have to be constantly monitoring your food. Is there too much flame under the food? (move it or use a spray bottle of hot water). Is one area of the grill cooking faster? (rotate the food between all areas of the grill). This is referred to in grilling lingo as “multi-zone cooking“.

3. Was the food prepped correctly? Food that is still chilled in the center (especially with bones) is going to cook unevenly, and this is especially true on the grill.

Some folks don’t like to hear this in our sterilized, bacteria-phobic society, but most meats need to be removed from the refrigerator and allowed to rest at room temp at least 30 minutes (and up to an hour, depending on thickness) if you want them to grill evenly. A chilled chicken leg is basically a hunk of meat wrapped around a ice-cold spike.

The outside layers WILL burn before the bone warms enough to allowed the meat touching it to even start cooking.

4. Saucing too soon. Most sauces are heavy in sugar, either natural or added. Sugar burns at high temps.

Food should basically be cooked through, the grill temp lowered, the food sauced (I like the dunking method over the brushing method) and then the food returned to the grill, turning often and redunking as needed, until the sauce had glazed. This is another good place to alternate between multiple zones.

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Our La Caja China Pinterest Board

La Caja China Pinterest

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!

-Chef Perry
La Caja China Cooking  
La Caja China World
La Caja China Smoke (coming soon!)

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Rotisserie Grilling Tips

Rotisserie Grilling Tips
“Spit-roasting is one of the world’s most ancient and universal forms of grilling, and there’s nothing like it for producing exceptionally moist meat with a crackling crisp crust.” – Steven Raichlen

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

Rotisserie Grilled ChickenA 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

3Trussing (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

4I 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!

Enjoy!

Chef Perry

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Q&A: Ingredient substitutions for Pierna Criolla

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Maggi asks:

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!

Thanks,

Maggi

P.S.  (Sure hope you can help us out)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaggi,

Heyya neighbor!

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!

-Chef Perry

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Some common grilling mistakes…you might be making!

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!

grilling

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?

  • Pressing your burgers flat with the spatula (smooshes the juices right out)
  • Cooking too fast (or too slow – don’t forget the sear!)
  • Burning your sauce (put sugary sauces on when you’re almost done cooking)
  • Cutting into meats without letting them rest (resting the meat for about 5 minutes seals in the juices – thicker cuts need even longer)

We focused on tips for a gas grill (like the popular Holland Grills), but these tips will work equally well on charcoal grills.

Easy tips for grilling like a pro! (Infographic)! (Infographic)

 

Source by JES Restaurant Equipment

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La Caja China on Bizarre Foods America, tonight!

Hey everyone,

As you may or may not know, my all-time favorite outdoor cooker, La Caja China, is being featured tonight on my all-time favorite TV show, Bizarre Foods America!

In light of this momentous occasion, I’m going to offer each of my La Caja China Cookbooks, directly from my e-store, at 20% off the cover price! (Be sure to use the links and coupon code, below). These are the ONLY cookbooks on the market for the Cuban roasting boxes, and feature dozens of delicious recipes that I’ve personally created and tested, from across the country and around the world.

Nothing roasts a pig faster, or easier, than La Caja China…but there’s a LOT more to explore that just the whole hog. Here’s a little about the cookbooks and a favorite recipe of mine, from each…

Oh, and join me on Twitter tonight to chat during the episode, just search for #BizarreCaja, and join the conversation!

Enjoy the show!

-Perry

La Caja China Cooking

The secret to perfect roasting
Authored by Perry P Perkins
20% Coupon Code: MUFRQDBX

Recipes and tips for using La Caja China to prepare fabulous dishes from around the world!

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.

I 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. I can grill steaks, braise chickens, and roast prime-rib that rivals any restaurant, and do it all in my own backyard!

And, of course, I can roast melt-in-your-mouth whole pigs that send my guests into fits of gastronomical joy.

Even more importantly, I 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, and several full-size ovens. Not only that, but I can do it anywhere, anytime!

La Caja China isn’t just about great barbecue and roasting, it’s about friends and family, it’s about creating memories, and… let’s be honest… it’s about being “that guy” (or gal) who can make the dinner, holiday, or party, a memorable event.

Featured recipe: Luau Pork Shoulders

La Caja China World

Roasting Box Recipes from Around the Globe
Authored by Perry P Perkins
20% Coupon Code: MUFRQDBX

La Caja China, the Cuban roasting box, has become the toast of food writers and celebrity gourmets, including Food Network’s THROWDOWN Chef, Bobby Flay.

In La Caja China Cooking: The Secret to Perfect Roasting, we took a gastronomic tour of America.

With this new collection of recipes, your La Caja China becomes a magic carpet, allowing you to take your friends and family to the far corners of the world, and experience the delicious wonders waiting for you there!

In every culture and country that we researched in gathering this collection, we found people who enjoyed gathering together with loved ones, lighting a fire, cooking meat over it (or under it), and eating together.

Not coincidentally, we think, these folks shared a common passion for life and laughter, as well.

In La Caja China World, we invite your taste buds to join us on a globe-trotting adventure with dishes like:

  • Grilled Tri-Tip & Chimichurri in Argentina
  • Whole Roast Pig & Coconut Rice in Bali
  • Roast lamb & Potatoes in Greece
  • Beef Short Ribs & Scallion Salad in Korea
  • Christmas Goose in Sweden

If you’re looking to roast, grill, bake, braise, smoke, or barbecue; whether you’re cooking for a hungry crowd, or creating memories with your family – look no further than La Caja China World!

Featured Recipe: Roast Leg Of Lamb With Moroccan Chermoula Sauce

About the author:
Chef, cookbook author and food blogger, Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation gourmand, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, everything from Writer’s Digest and Guideposts, to American Hunter and Bassmaster Magazine. His inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies, as well.

He is also a featured blogger for Sear’s “Grilling is Happiness” website, and is the owner & executive chef at hautemealz.com, an online menu planning service for busy people who love cooking great food.

Perry blogs at  www.burninloveblog.com, www.hautemealz.com, and you can read more of his work at www.perryperkinsbooks.com.

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How to Spatchcock and Inject Whole Chickens for Grilling

Here’s a video we put together, over at our sister-site www.hautemealz.com, on how to spatchcock (remove the backbone) and inject a whole chicken with marinade.

This a a great method for adding some amazing flavors, while reducing your grilling or roasting time by almost half.

Enjoy!

Here’s the injection recipe I like to use:

Continue reading

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How to Carve a Whole Roast Pig

http://i0.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/p6050137b1.jpg?resize=220%2C165Fellow La Caja China fan, Byron, asked:

Perry, I have a HUGE pig roast coming up. Well the pig is going to be average size, but we are tailgating on the river and I ‘ve invited my biggest customer and his family to join me. I have done a lot of pigs in the LCC and I am good with that part.

Do you have or does any of the cook books have some hits or ideas on the process after the pig is done? In the past it was always family and friends so we just cut it up the best we could and ate it. I need to do this more like a catering event with side and things. Thanks…

Okay, so I did some looking around, and couldn’t really find any illustrated carving instructions that I really liked…so I made my own!

Click this link to download the PDF, Carving a Whole Roast Pig

These directions would work nicely with any of the “Pig Roasting Party Themes” included in my free eBook, the La Caja China Guidebook.  And, of course, there are tons of side dish recipes in La Caja China Cooking, and La Caja China World.

Hope this helps!

-Perry

PS – Before you carve that piggy, you gotta roast it! Check out my step-by-step video, here!

Want to take the hassle out of meal planning? For super-simple, healthy and delicious dinner recipes, check out our FREE weekly meal plans and shopping lists! Your free membership helps us teach valuable cooking skills to at-risk youth!

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