Tag Archives: La Caja China World

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

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What’s your favorite cookbook?

I own a lot of cookbooks…a LOT of cookbooks, and the list is growing at a rapid rate. However, if I were told I had 5 minutes to get out of my house and leave everything behind but an armload of my favorite cookbooks…there are five or six that would immediately pop to mind.

Besides my own cookbooks, or course (wink wink), these would top the list!

The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen

A fascinating look at live-fire cooking around the world. Lots more than just a cookbook!

A 900,000-copy bestseller and winner of the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award, The Barbecue! Bible includes full-color photographs illustrating food preparation, grilling techniques, ingredients, and of course those irresistible finished dishes. A new section has been added with answers to the most frequently asked grilling questions, plus Steven’s proven tips, quick solutions to common mistakes, and more.

And then there’s the literal meat of the book: more than 500 of the very best barbecue recipes, inventive, delicious, unexpected, easy-to-make, and guaranteed to capture great grill flavors from around the world.

Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue By John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed

Lots of strong opinions, family histories, and great bbq recipes!

North Carolina is home to the longest continuous barbecue tradition on the North American mainland. Authoritative, spirited, and opinionated (in the best way), Holy Smoke is a passionate exploration of the lore, recipes, traditions, and people who have helped shape North Carolina’s signature slow-food dish.

Three barbecue devotees, John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney, trace the origins of North Carolina ‘cue and the emergence of the heated rivalry between Eastern and Piedmont styles. They provide detailed instructions for cooking barbecue at home, along with recipes for the traditional array of side dishes that should accompany it. The final section of the book presents some of the people who cook barbecue for a living, recording firsthand what experts say about the past and future of North Carolina barbecue.

Filled with historic and contemporary photographs showing centuries of North Carolina’s “barbeculture,” as the authors call it, Holy Smoke is one of a kind, offering a comprehensive exploration of the Tar Heel barbecue tradition.

Sam Choys Sampler: Hawaiis Favorite Recipes by Sam Choy

Picked this one up on a whim, in Oahu…and fell in love with it. My daughter’s birthday luau each year is a big hit, largely due to the great recipes and info in this cookbook!

Sam’s recipes reflect a melding of East and West, with distinctive Polynesian flourishes and some highly innovative twists that could have been conceived only in the creative and original mind of Chef Choy.

Here are over 80 recipes including both Sam’s innovations as well as his renditions of Island favorites. They range from simple preparations like poke, an addictively delicious raw seafood appetizer, to elaborate and beautiful dishes like Sautéed Island Fish Trio, sure to dazzle the table and palate at your next dinner party.

All the recipes use readily available ingredients. Where hard to find ingredients are involved, a guide to mail and Internet sources will give mainland readers access to poi, tropical fruits and even fresh fish.

White Trash Cooking II: Recipes for Gatherins (Vol 2) Ernest M. Mickler

I found this treasure several years ago at a school book sale in Portland. Not only are the recipes and back-stories great, but the photographs from the autor’s “tour de white-trash” will have you howling or cringing depending on just how much your family tree forks (or doesn’t!)

From Oleen’s Stuffed Pepper Slippers and Franceen’s Good Ol’ Meat to Mrs. Tooler Doolus’s Oven Spaghetti and Bobbie’s Lemon/Lime Jell-O Cake Supreme, Ernie Mickler has collected another whopping batch of the“most magnannygoshus” recipes of the Very Deepest South. Previously known as SINKIN SPELLS, HOT FLASHES, FITS AND CRAVINS, this collection has a new name and a new cover that calls to mind its best-selling brother, WHITE TRASH COOKING. Same good eatin’, though.

The Joy of Oysters By Lori McKean, Don Smith, Bill Whitbeck

Oysters being my favorite food, this cookbook was recommended to me by “Dan the Oysterman” in Oysterville, Wa. If you think you’ve had oysters every possible way…you’re wrong…by several dozen recipes, lol. A great, and comprehensive cookbook.

The Joy of Oysters tells the story of oysters in North America from the first settlers to the latest harvests of these delectable morsels by dedicated oystermen and women on every shoreline. Discover the details of each oyster species, how they are grown and how the most famous oyster restaurants prepare them for their customers. Join in the fun with tales of oyster festivals from Florida to New England to the Pacific Coast.

The Joy of Oysters is the perfect gift for that friend who can’t get enough Bluepoints or Belons, Hog Island Kumamotos or Westcott Bay Petites. Whether you like your oysters live on the half shell, baked, fried, curried or served up plump in a traditional oyster stew, The Joy of Oysters will fill your need for all things oyster.

The Wise Guy Cookbook: My Favorite Recipes From My Life as a Goodfella to Cooking on the Run By Henry Hill

If you want an American’s guide to real Italian food…this is the book for you. Liking the movie, “Goodfellas” doesn’t hurt either!

Henry Hill was a born wiseguy, and his love of food got him through both the good and bad times. Even cooking on the run in the Federal Witness Protection Program-where prosciutto was impossible to find and gravy was something you put on mashed potatoes-he managed to keep good Italian food on the table. He still brings this flair for improvisation to his cooking. No recipe is set in stone. And substitutions are listed just in case.

Now, in his inimitable style, Hill tells some spicy stories of his life in the Mob and out, and shows readers how to whip up his favorite dishes, Sicilian-style-recipes to make even the toughest tough-guy beg for more…

Mom’s Antipasto € Sunday Gravy (Meat Sauce) € Cheaters Chicken Stock € Striped Bass for Paulie € Fat Larry’s Pizza Dough € Henry’s Kickback Antipasti Hero € Sicilian Easter Bread with Colored Eggs € Clams Casino € Osso Bucco € Oven Penitentiary Sauce with Sausage € Michael’s Favorite Ziti with Meat Sauce € and many others

***

A couple of others that must at least get a nod would be Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Thanks, Mama!) , and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by my all time favorite chef…Mrs. Julia Child

So, there you have it…a bit eclectic perhaps, but I’d feel pretty well armed with this stack.

What about you? What book, or books rise to the top of your gastronomic library?

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La Caja China World – Roasting Box Recipes from Around the Globe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 16, 2011

Elk Mountain Books is pleased to announce the release of:

La Caja China World: Roasting Box Recipes from Around the Globe

by Perry P. Perkins

Publication Date: Jun 11, 2011
ISBN 1463563167
Page Count: 158
Binding: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 7″ x 10″
Categories: Cooking / Methods / Barbecue & Grilling
US$14.95

From the author:

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 crowd, or creating memories with your family – look no further than La Caja China World!

La Caja China World is available from our eStore, as well as from our official Amazon.com Storefront.

Buy both La Caja China Cooking & La Caja China World, together, and get FREE shipping from Amazon!

Plus – Purchase your copy of La Caja China World by Friday, June 24th, and enter* for a chance to win a $50 grab-bag of your choice of La Caja China accessories! We’ll even pick up the shipping!

*To enter to win the grab-bag, participants must forward a copy of their e-receipt of purchase for La Caja China World, along with full name, mailing address, and personal email address, to editor@elkmountainbooks. All entries must be received by midnight Sunday, June 26th, 2011. One entry per copy ordered.

  ____________________________

About the Author

Perry P. Perkins is a freelance writer and work-from-home dad, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest (with a little time in Georgia.)

Perry has written several books, including two novels, four cookbooks, and two short-story collections. He writes regularly for a number of outdoor and travel magazines, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and several online foodie sites, including his own blog: www.burninloveblog.com

Both Perkins’ father and grandfather were professional chefs, and he was raised with a passion to cook, grill, and barbeque. One of three pit-masters behind Burnin’ Love BBQ, a local catering team, his favorite cooking equipment is La Caja China.

All of Perry’s books can be found at www.perryperkinsbooks.com

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