Across Italy, porchetta is usually sold by pitchmen with their typically white-painted vans, especially during public displays or holidays. Porchetta both from shoulder, and from loin, was introduced to the USA by Italian immigrants of the early 20th century.
This is one up my very favorite recipes from La Caja China Cooking 2018!
Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for Model #1 Box or 18lbs. for Model #2, or Semi Pro Box and light up. Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid. Cooking time starts right now. After 1 hour (1st hour) add 9 lbs. of charcoal (note time).
Continue to add 9 lbs. of charcoal every hour until you reach 195 F on the meat thermometer. Once you reach 195 F, lift the charcoal grid shake it well to remove the ashes, now place it on top of the long handles. Do not place on the grass or floor – it will damage them.
IMPORTANT: Do not open the box until you reach the desired temperature.
Use a large metal scoop to clean off the pan, and dispose of the ashes.
Add 8lbs of fresh coals.
After 30 minutes, take a peak by lifting the charcoal pan by one end only. You will continue doing this every 10 minutes until the skin is crispy to your liking. Remove shoulders from Caja and allow to rest 30 minutes. Simmer juices until reduced by half. Keep warm.
Heat the rolls. Shred the pork, mixing back in with the reserved juices, after defatting (optional).
Place ¼ cup of meat on the warm roll and spoon over a little of the pan juices onto the sandwich.
Top meat with caramelized onions, the ¼ cup of slaw.
Enjoy everyone, and remember…it GOOD to think inside the box!
Fully updated for its 10th anniversary, La Caja China Cooking 2018 has more recipes, updated tips and techniques, and is now fully illustrated with step-by-step photos of my recipes in action.
Click Image to Order on Amazon!
You’ll also find tips on new equipment, new social media resources, and links to my free online videos of the very best food you can make in, and on, a roasting box!
Speaking of videos, if you haven’t subscribed to the La Caja China Cooking YouTube Channel, you’re missing out! From ribs, to chicken, to the entire process of roasting a whole pig…it’s all there waiting for you, so please subscribe!
For even more La Caja China love, visit by blog at www.lacajachinacooking.com
It’s good to think inside the box!
Oh, and I’ve also just launched the “La Caja China Cooking Newsletter!” Exclusive recipes, chef’s tips & tricks, and giveaways! and I’ll send you my FREE PDF, the “La Caja China Pro Guidebook.” The best mods and techniques I’ve learned in over 10 years of roasting, grilling, and smoking with the Magic Box! Sign up here!
Chef/Author La Caja China Cooking 2018 La Caja China World La Caja China Party! La Caja China Grill!
Here’s some big news…before TOMORROW’S really BIG news..
We’ve just launched a free “La Caja China Cooking Newsletter!”
Each week, I’ll share my latest tips, trick, techniques, and videos with subscribers, answer your questions, share product reviews, and maybe even do some give-aways…
We’ll also post our favorite photos (with kudos) from our readers!
Oh, and you’ll also get some of my favorite La Caja China roasting, grilling, and smoking recipes, which will ONLY be available in the newsletter!
Sign up now, and to say “thanks”, I’ll send you the fully revised and updated “La Caja China Pro” eGuidebook, packed with all of the ideas, tweaks, and pimps I’ve picked up over a decade of cooking with the magic box!
Oh, and you REALLY want to be signed up right away, as there’ll be some pretty cool stuff in the first issue, pertaining to tomorrow’s BIG NEWS!
Just 5 more days until the new, “La Caja China Grill” releases, and I’ve got a present for you…
From now, until Midnight on April 28th, I’m offering a Direct from the Publisher 20% Discount on all previous La Caja China Cooking titles! That’s right, this is your chance to save big and complete your collection of magic box recipes, tips, and tricks from a professional chef and roasting box pro, me!
La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party…all 20% off their regular price!
Just use the links below to select your titles, and then use discount code: MUFRQDBX. Lastly, join us for a special one-day-only launch discount on La Caja China Grill, on April 29th.
Let’s make some magic with the magic box!
~ Chef Perry
La Caja China Cooking La Caja China, the Cuban roasting box, has become the toast of foodwriters and celebrity gourmets, including Food Network’s THROWDOWN Chef, Bobby Flay.
“La Caja China Cooking” takes you on a gastronomic tourof America, from Miami’s classic Cuban dishes, to traditional Texas andCarolina BBQ, to the crisp, fresh flavors of the Pacific Northwest. Perkins includes grill-top favorites, amazing side dishes, and step-by-stepCaja China instructions for “in-the-box” crowd-pleasers like:
So, fire up the coals, pick your favorite recipe, and dazzle your guests with these simple, yet mouth-watering dishes. Wonderful things canhappen when you think inside the box!
La Caja China World 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!
La Caja China Party Chef-tested and fully-illustrated party themes. Insider tips and tricks, and over 80 bbq, grilling, side-dish, and drink recipes for the La Caja China roasting box! Themes include:
~Big Island Luau ~A Night in Havana ~Cinco de Mayo ~ La Caja China Style ~Beach Party Clambake! ~A Fantastic 4th of July ~Ultimate Tailgate Party ~Labor Day ~Big Family Thanksgiving ~Opa! A Greek Feast ~Good Old Southern Pig Pickin’ ~A Mexican Fiesta ~Moroccan Festival ~A Caja Christmas Party
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!
My latest La Caja China cooking adventure, this is a dish that I had twenty-five years ago, on a missions trip to Mexico.
I’ve spent the two and a half decades since, talking about those wonderful “beef tacos” we had at a tiny tortilleria in Trinidad Valley, where the corn tortillas were hot off a centuries-old stone tortilla oven, and bemoaning that I couldn’t find anything like them here in the states.
Last night I followed this thousand-year-old recipe for barbacoa and, quite unexpectedly, realized, “That’s it!”
The ancient dish of barbacoa, which is where we get the word “barbecue,” runs deep within the culture of Mexico.
A traditional Mexican way of eating barbacoa is having it served on a warm soft taco style corn tortilla with guacamole and salsa for added flavor; the meat or the tacos are often served in the banana leaves they were cooked in. It is also eaten with onions, diced cilantro and a squirt of lime juice.
Throughout Mexico, from pre-Mexican times to the present, barbacoa (the name derives from the Caribbean indigenous Taino barabicu – or Sacred Fire Pit) was the original Mexican barbecue, utilizing the many and varied moles (pronounced “MO’-less”, from Nahuatl molli) and salsa de molcajete, which were the first barbecue sauces.
Game, turkey, and fish along with beans and other side dishes were slow cooked together in a pit for many hours.
Following the introduction of cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, and chickens by the Spanish, the meat of these animals was cooked utilizing the traditional indigenous barbacoa style of cooking.
“Barbacoa” actually has its origins in all the countries that and other Indian populations inhabited, not just Mexico. The Tainos themselves were pre-Columbian Indians located throughout the Caribbean and which some believe included the Arawak Indians who especially dominated the most leaward Caribbean islands themselves.
The Arawak were first and foremost those who historically used the green and fire resistant flexible limbs of the hanging branches of the giant Bearded Fig Tree (Los Barbadoes) to cook meats and fish over an open fire while first marinating their foods in tropical herbs and spices found naturally throughout the southern islands to South America. (Wikipedia)
In the original, Indian pit-cooking process, the meat was seasoned, wrapped in either maguey or banana leaves, then placed on a grill over a cauldron of water that is set over glowing coals in a pit about three feet deep. The following recipe uses beef for the barbacoa, and takes a bit less time to cook. You can use a bone-in pork shoulder, too.
Oh, and no need to dig a hole with this recipe!
BTW, if you can find a Hispanic market that makes fresh corn and flour tortillas (we have one here in town), find it. You’ll never go back to those tasteless, pasty imitations at the grocery store! Or, even better, make your own!
I rubbed the completely thawed beef heads (obtained by special request from a local Asian market) with a spice rub (see below), and let them sit in the bottom of the fridge for 24 hours, before roasting in the box, for 8. I tented the part of the heads that came nearest the underside of the La Caja China’s coal grate loosely in foil when they started to get dark.
Once it was done roasting, I wrapped the whole head in a double layer of heavy foil, and let in rest in a marine cooler for 2 hours, before pulled the meat. It was AMAZING! Buttery, soft, and savory like the best pot-roast you’ve ever eaten!
Can;t wait to do it again!
Okay, okay…if your local Piggly-Wiggly doesn’t carry whole cow heads, your can do it THIS way, too… 🙂
3 Lbs. Beef roast
1 Qt cold Water
5 – Chiles Ancho
5 Cloves garlic
1 Large onion, quartered
2 banana leaves
2 Tamarind pod
2 Lg bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
3 Tbs Fresh cilantro, chopped
Bubba’s easy guacamole (see below.)
2 dozen fresh tortillas
Prep one chimney of coals, and spread under one end of the La Caja China top grill. Toss on a small handful of hickory chips. Sear meat, in smoke, 10 minutes pre-side until starting to char.
Move roast to “off” side and grill, with indirect heat one hour, adding smoke every 15 minutes for the first hour.
UPDATE: If I’d had my a-maze-n smoker, back when I posted this, I would have done this hour inside the box. (see the video at the end of this post for just how easy it is to use the a-maze-n smoker!)
Drape 2 banana leaves over a “deep-dish” disposable pan (lined with enough foil to wrap all of the ingredients), pressing to the bottom, then add a layer of chopped onion.
Remove the meat from grill and place in the pot on top of the onion, then add the cold water, chiles ancho, tamarind, bay leaves and garlic, fold banana leaves over the top and secure with a couple of toothpicks, and enclose in foil.
If cooking with La Cajita China (as I did), place the the pan inside the box and add another chimney-full of coals. Roast two hours, adding coals again, halfway through, then flip the whole foil packet, roast four more hours, add coals as needed, to keep the interior temp of the boc around 200F.
If not using La Caja China, place pan, uncovered, in a pre-heated oven (425d) for 20 minutes. Once simmering, reduce heat to 175d and cover the pan with foil. Let simmer 6 hours, turning the meat 2-3 times.
FYI…I’ve just launched the “La Caja China Cooking Newsletter!” Exclusive recipes, chef’s tips & tricks, giveaways! and I’ll send you my FREE PDF, the “La Caja China Pro Guidebook.” The best mods and techniques I’ve learned in over 10 years of roasting, grilling, and smoking with the Magic Box! Sign up here!
After 6 hours, give the tamarind pod a few good smacks and pick off the shell, the stem and the thick fibers that run down its length. Remove the seeds and add the gummy pulp to the pan. Add the cumin and simmer one hour more.
Then, fish out any bones, ancho chiles, bay leaves, and banana leaves. Pour off fluids, and place the pan, uncovered, back on the grill for about an hour to let the juices bake down and thicken.
Just before bringing to the table, stir in most of the chopped Cilantro.
Serve with Bubba’s Easy Guacamole (see recipe, below), your favorite salsa, Mecian Crema, and hot tortillas.
If you’re a chile-head, roast some whole jalapeños over the coals, slice, core (to remove the seeds) and serve on the side.
Chef Perry’s Easy Guacamole
Guacamole is an avocado-based dip which originated in Mexico. It is traditionally made by mashing ripe avocados with a molcajete (mortar and pestle) with lime juice and salt.
Guacamole was made by the Aztecs as early as the 1500s. After the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, guacamole became popular in Spain.
When I say “easy” it really doesn’t get much easier than this. In this grill guy’s opinion, the avocado is one ingredient where less really is better than more.
You can add salsa, peppers, or whatever to your guacamole, but for me, it’s all about the avocado!
3 Haas avocados
1 lime, juiced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp black pepper
Halved, seed, peel, and dice avocados.
Mix all ingredients with a fork until coarsely blended, chill briefly, and serve immediately.
Barbecued Ribs…are there any two more beautiful words in the English language?
Pork Ribs have a long tradition in world of barbecue. Ranking as an equal with brisket and pulled-pork in modern competitions, they are considered a true art form.
Despite what the “Pros” would like to tell you, cooking pork ribs to perfection isn’t as difficult as you might think…
The secret to preparing tender, juicy, smoky spareribs is as easy as making sure they are cooked low and slow…low temperature cooking for extended periods is what helps break down the tough connective tissues. Couple with the generous application of a basting sauce, or “mop” to keep them moist, and you will become the Pitmaster of your neighborhood!
To this end, La Cajita China roaster might be the perfect method for creating moist, tender, and flavorful pork ribs, in less than half the time it would require in a smoker or pit.
Roast your ribs inside the box, using a rib rack, with a light apple smoke, baste with a simple mop (see recipe, below), and then finish them on the Cajita China grill for a rich, crispy shell over fall-apart pork.
In North Carolina’s early days, pork was commonly cooked over open fire and seasoned with an ordinary table condiment of vinegar, salt, red and black pepper, and oyster juice.
Salty vinegar with pepper (but no oyster juice) is, basically, the same sauce used on most North Carolina barbecue today. The western part of the state usually adds tomato paste or a ketchup based sauce, as in the recipe below, for a thicker sauce.
Classic side dishes for spareribs include coleslaw, ranch beans, and corn on the cob. Finish this off with a good ol’ southern banana pudding, or sweet potato pie, and you have a menu that will make you a legend!
(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free meal planning newsletter; we’ll send seven amazing dinner recipes and a shopping list to your inbox each week. Plus, you’ll be helping us feed the hungry, and teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)
Side Dish Tip: That big bed of glowing coals is great for grilling some fresh corn on the cob. Soak the corn (in husks) in cold water to cover for about an hour. Shake off excess moisture and place directly on the coals.
Roast, turning frequently, for 30 – 45 minutes.
Carolina Pork Ribs
1 rack of pork spareribs
1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue rub
3 cups simple mop-sauce.
1. Prepare ribs by removing the membrane from the underside of the ribs. Trim off any loose fat or meat. Season ribs with rub, wrap in plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator overnight.
2. Allow ribs to warm 1 hour. Place ribs on top of the Cajita rack, in the pan, bone side up. Place the rack inside the box, and close. Add 10 lbs. of charcoal and light.
3. Once lit, (30-40 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid. Cooking time starts right now.
4. After 1 hour open the box and place ash pan on top of the long handles. Now, flip the ribs bone side down, brush liberally with mop sauce, and re-tent with foil. A very simple mop-sauce can be made by combining equal parts cider vinegar, apple juice, and you favorite barbecue sauce. For the recipe above, combine about a 1 cup of each.
5. Replace the ash pan, and add another 5 lbs of charcoal. Cook for another 30-45 minutes until done (internal temp 145 degrees F.), peeking in at 10 minute intervals. Remove foil 5 minutes before removing ribs.
5. If you want to sauce the ribs, do so during that last 5 minutes, and watch carefully. If you have a grill rack for your ribs, you can sauce the ribs and finish them there, were it’s easier to keep an eye on them.
Personally, I prefer to just mop them, and then serve some warmed sauce along side, which I usually don’t use.
You can make up to 8 racks of pork ribs (or more, if you have an upright rib rack) in La Caja China model #1 or #2. Simply increase the amount of coals to 15lbs (start) and 10lbs every hour.