Tag Archives: Lo Carb

Perfect Grilled Pork Loin

My friend Gina asks:

Okay, bbq king I have a pork loin marinating in the fridge, olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, honey and oj whats the best way to cook it in the oven? I expect an answer today lol. I bought a whole loin (great deal at cash and carry) and I cut about a 3-4lb roast and put a couple more roast in the freezer and cut some nice thick chops for the freezer. Any suggestions most welcome. I am a good cook but when it comes to meat let’s just say our family likes there sauce because I tend to overcook.

Well, first of all…anyone who calls me “bbq king” is gonna get an instant reply! So, here we go…


Thanks for the question! Cash & Carry’s pork loins are a great product, I use them frequently!

Here’s what I do:

Perfect Grilled Pork Loin

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking and bring to around 325°F (162° C).

Rub the meat with just enough canola oil to make it glisten. Grill the loin briefly over direct heat, but watch in carefully,the honey and OJ could make for a quick burn. Grill just long enough to get a nice mahogany with a few blackened bits. Move the loin onto the (well-oiled) indirect side of the grill and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.

Note: If you can get some apple wood chips and scatter just a few (1/2 cup)  on the coals during the first 30 minutes, it’s mighty tasty!

Transfer the pork loin to a warmed platter. Drizzle the glaze over the pork, turning it  to coat it completely. To make the glaze, simply bring your marinade to a boil (for safety) then low simmer until reduced by half. I’d add a little more honey, as well. Tweak it ’till you like how it tastes.

Return the loin to the indirect side of the grill, insert thermometer probe, and cook for an additional 45 minutes to allow the glaze to permeate the meat. The pork is done when it registers 145 degrees F. (71°C). Yes, this sounds low, but it will come up to safe temp while resting.

Let  rest for at least 10-15 minutes, tented loosely in foil, before slicing.

Get ready to be worshiped by your family.

For more in direct vs. indirect, see my article, Taking your Grill-Skill from Tragic to Magic!

PS – Here’s the grill-top thermometer I use. Indispensable!


Filed under On The Grill Recipes

Shrimpacado Salad

Prawns and Avocado Salad

This is my take on the famous Crab-a-cado Salad recipe from Houlihan’s Old Place in Atlanta, Georgia (my birthplace.)

I found the original recipe in my father’s copy of A Chef’s Companion, and substituted the prawns for crab (it was cheaper, and I love prawns!)

Dad used to make the original recipe when he’d ticked Mom off, and was tryin’ to make good.

Perk’s Shrimp-a-cado Salad
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbs ketchup
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup minced celery
1 hard-cooked egg, minced
1 Tbs minced parsley
1 head leaf lettuce (or 4 cups of salad mix)
2 chilled rip avocados, halved, seeded, and peeled
1 lb cooked prawns, peeled and deveined
16 chilled cherry tomatoes, peeled
4 chilled artichoke hearts, drained and halved
4 chilled hard-cooked eggs
16 chilled, whole, pitted black olives, small

Steam shrimp until just pink, immerse in ice water to stop cooking, and cool. Drain.

In mixing bowl, blend together mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, and lemon juice. Stir in celery, minced eggs, and parsley. Chill.

Arrange leaf lettuce on four salad plates. Place one avocado half on each plate. Reserve a few prawns for garnish; divide remaining between the four avocado halves. Spoon a fourth of the dressing over each avocado. Place one piece of reserved shrimp on top. Sprinkle each salad lightly with paprika.

Place tomatoes on each end of the avocado. Cut each artichoke heart in half lengthwise, starting at the stem end, and place on each side of the filled avocado. Cut each hard-cooked egg in quarter wedges and place on each corner of the salad platter.

Place one whole black olive alongside each quarter of egg.

Serves 4



1 Comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides

Peking Duck ala La Cajita China

Duck has been roasted in China since the Southern and Northern Dynasties.  A variation of roast duck was prepared for the Emperor of China in the Yuan Dynasty.

The dish, originally named “Shaoyazi,” was mentioned in the Complete Recipes for Dishes and Beverages manual in 1330 by Hu Sihui, an inspector of the imperial kitchen.

The Peking Roast Duck that came to be associated with the term was fully developed during the later Ming Dynasty, and by then, Peking Duck was one of the main dishes on imperial court menus.

The first restaurant specialising in Peking Duck, Bianyifang, was established in the Xianyukou, Qianmen area of Beijing in 1416 [Wikipedia]

Beijing’s most famous dish, Peking Duck is traditionally served with Mandarin pancakes. I’ve modified this dish slightly for roasting in La Cajita China.

You can find step-by-step recipes in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking, as well.

Peking Duck ala La Cajita China

2 – 5 to 6 pound duck
12 cups water
1/4 C powdered ginger
6 scallion, cut into halves
1/2 C honey
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1/2 C sherry
6 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 6 tablespoons water
Scallions for garnish

Clean ducks. Wipe dry and place each duck on a “beer-can chicken” stand. Set in a cool room in front of a fan for 4 hours to dry. (See note.)

Bring a large pot with water to boil, and add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry.

Boil 10 minutes, then pour in the dissolved cornstarch, stirring constantly.

Place one duck in boiling water, count to five and remove.

Place the second duck in boiling water, count to five and remove. Repeat for 10 minutes.

Place ducks on “beer can” racks again, in front of fan, for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.

Turn every 30 minutes.

“Pre-heat” La Cajita China with 10lbs of charcoal. When all coals are covered in white ash, oil the roasting rack and place ducks, breast side up, on rack.

Place the rack in the roasting pan with 2 inches of water in bottom, and close up the box, and add another 5lbs of charcoal.

You goal temperature inside the box is 350 degrees.

Roast 20 minutes.

Turn ducks, add 5lbs of charcoal, and roast 20 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 5 minutes more, until crispy and browned to your liking.

Remove ducks from La Cajita China and allow to rest 10-15 minutes.

Use sharp knife to debone. Serve meat and skin immediately on a pre-warmed dish.

The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Mandarin Crepes. Garnish with diced scallion.

Each duck serves 4 to 6.

Drying: I set my ducks up on “beer-can chicken” stands (instead of hanging them by the necks – the traditional method), in front of a fan, and turned them every 30 minutes. Worked perfectly!





Filed under In The Box Recipes

Oyster shooters and how to shuck ’em

If you know me, then you know that my favorite food is oysters. I eat them, I harvest them…heck, I even write about them! I’ve never met an oyster recipe I didn’t like, and I have a whole cookbook full of them to prove it.

Fried, sauteed, grilled, and roasted…if there’s feasting in Heaven (and there will be) oysters will be on the menu!

My favorite, bestest, most numero uno way of eating oysters, however, is just how God made ’em, fresh from the bay, briny and raw. First, however, you gotta get the little suckers out of their shells. All that takes is a good oyster knife, and a bit of practice.

In this video, A Legal Sea Foods chef in Boston shows you how to shuck an oyster. Courtesy video from Legal Sea Foods.

You can serve your freshly shucked oysters on the half-shell, topped with a couple of tablespoons of this sauce, or in shotglasses as oyster bar-type “shooters”. This is my own  sauce recipe.

Garlic butter with lemon juice is very nice, too.

  • 1 cupketchup
  • 2 Tbs hot horseradish
  • 1 Tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice

Combine all and chill. Add salt to taste.

Put a tablespoon or so of sauce on top of each raw oyster in either a shotglass or on the half-shell.

If you prefer your bi-valves cooked, here are a couple of my favorite recipes:

Hangtown Fry (Eggs & Oysters)

Burnin’ Love Wasabi Oysters


Filed under Appetizers & Sides, Deep End o' the Pool

Roasting Turkeys for The Father’s Heart Homeless Ministry

I had a wonderful opportunity to fire up BOTH of my La Caja China roasting boxes, spend the day cooking and hangin’ out with friends, and blessing a bunch of folks at our local homeless shelter, The Father’s Heart. What a great day! (see slide show, below.)

I think we fed around 100, and I have to say it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had, anywhere.  If I’d been served that plate at a fancy restaurant, I promise you…I’d be going back!

Teri Gant did her usual amazing job of organizing, overseeing, and being the love of Jesus to everyone who came in out of the (frigid) cold, for a warm meal. Teri…you’re awesome, you amaze me!

Everyone who reads this post…please please please check out the TFH link above, and see how you can help.

To all of you who donated the turkeys and ingredients, and to the McMonagle family who gave their day to help me with the cooking and serving…God bless you!

For my fellow La Caja China owners, here’s the recipe I used. I did six turkeys, but this is the “per box” amounts. They came out VERY nice. I will never…I mean never…roast another chicken or turkey without brining it first! The differences in the flavor, the tenderness, and the juiciness of the meat are indescribable.

I used my Model #1, and my Semi Pro (see pictures.)

If you don’t have a La Caja China…yet…you can get similar results in a 350 degree oven. I’m telling you, though, I’ve done this both ways, and the oven just doesn’t compare the the roasting box for flavor, or, obviously…volume.

Simple Brined Turkeys in la Caja China
(3) 12-14lb turkeys, thawed and rinsed
6 C salt
6 C sugar
Peanut oil
1/4 cup Adobo Criollo spices
Water to cover

Boil 1 gallon of water, add salt and sugar, stir to dissolve. Allow to cool.

Place turkeys in a water-tight container, large enough to allow a little space around each.

Poor the cooled brine over the turkeys, add enough cold water to cover. Move turkeys to a cool area, or refrigerate 8-10 hours.

Discard brine and rinse turkeys thoroughly, rub each turkey with a little peanut oil, and sprinkle liberally with Mojo Criollo spices, including inside the cavity.

Place each turkey in a disposable roasting pan, breast down, tent each loosely with foil, and place pans in La Caja China. Start 15 pounds of charcoal in two even piled, allow to burn 30 minutes and then spread evenly. Cooking time starts now.

Roast turkeys 2 hours, adding 7lbs of coals every 30 minutes. Dump ashes after the first hour.

Flip turkeys (breast up) and tent again with foil. Cook another hour, adding lbs of coals every 30 minutes. Dump ashes after an hour.

Remove foil and brown the tops of the turkeys for another half-hour, DO NOT add more coals.

Total cooking time: 3.5 hours

Remove turkeys from La Caja China, re-tent loosely, and allow to rest 1 hour before slicing.

Save drippings for gravy, or mix with stuffing.


Filed under In The Box Recipes

Your favorite clam recipes?

Photo by Justin Collins

Hey everyone,

I’m finishing up an article for March/April 2011 issue of Oregon Coast Magazine, on the upcoming 2011 clamming season here in Oregon.

I want to give them a selection of a dozen or so recipes to go along with the article, from which the editor will pick 2-3 for publication along with the article. (Credit will be given with each recipe, unless you wish to remain unnamed.)

I’ll make sure the recipe authors get a complimentary copy of the published issue, as well.

Sooo…what’s you favorite clam recipe? Anything unusual or exotic? An old family favorite? You favorite version of a classic?

Please post your recipe below!

I’ll probably know, by mid-December, the editor’s picks.



PS – PLEASE feel free to pass this offer around, and to submit multiple recipes!


Filed under Off The Grill

Q & A: Roasting a whole lamb

Hi Perry,

I am cooking a 48 lb lamb on the caja china this weekend. Any suggestions on total cooking time, amount of charcoal, etc…? I’ve done a pig before, but I am concerned about cooking the lamb to medium-rare temperature.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!




Thanks for your post! Here’s the recipe from my cookbook, “La Caja China Cooking.”

Let me know if you have any further questions, and I hope the lamb turns out great!



Moroccan Whole Roast Lamb
Recipe by Dee Elhabbassi

1 – Grass-fed, three-month-old lamb around 36-40 pounds, skinned. As much surface fat removed as possible.

4 sweet onions, pureed 2 C fresh garlic, ground
2 C butter 2 C olive oil
Salt to taste 3 bunches cilantro, diced
¼ C cumin ½ C coriander
½ C paprika 2 Tbs fresh black pepper

Combine all chermoula ingredients and mix together over medium heat until it forms a paste. (Chermoula is a Moroccan marinade.)

Allow chermoula to set overnight.

Rub this mixture over the surface of the lamb making sure to get it evenly distributed, inside and out. Plan on allowing the chermoula to sit on the meat for 48 hours before you cook.

Place the lamb between the racks, tie using the 4 S-Hooks, and place inside the box, ribs side up. Connect the wired thermometer probe on the leg, be careful not to touch the bone.

Cover box with the ash pan and charcoal grid.

Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for Model #1 Box or 18lbs. for Model #2 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) open the box flip the Lamb over (ribs down) close the box and add 9 lbs. of charcoal.

After 1 hour (2nd hour) add 9 lbs. of charcoal.

Do not add any more charcoal; continue cooking the meat until you reach the desired temperature reading on the thermometer.

IMPORTANT: Do not open the box until you reach the desired temperature.

Cooking a whole lamb is as much an event, as it is a meal.

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!

With a little planning and preparation, it’s no more complicated than cooking a whole pig. Call ahead to your local butcher (if possible, one that specializes in Greek or Middle Eastern meats,) to order your lamb.

Plan on about 4 pounds of raw weight for each guest.

Carving a whole lamb can be intimidating, so take it in sections. You’ll need a large area to work with and several serving dishes or big pans.

Cut away the hind legs, then the forelegs. From here you can start carving up the individual sections.

The meat will be very tender, so slicing should not be a problem.

Fresh Lamb: Rare 140, Medium Rare 145, Medium 160


Filed under Q & A, recipes

La Caja China Cooking

Elk Mountain Books is pleased to announce the immediate release of “La Caja China Cooking” by Perry P. Perkins.

Click on Image to Purchase

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” Pit-master Perry Perkins takes you on a gastronomic tour of America, from Miami’s classic Cuban dishes, to traditional Texas and Carolina BBQ, to the crisp, fresh flavors of the Pacific Northwest.

Perkins includes grill-top favorites, amazing side dishes, and step-by-step Caja China instructions for “in-the-box” crowd-pleasers like:

~ True Texas Brisket
~ Pacific Northwest Salmon
~ Southern Roast Turkey
~ Carolina Pork Ribs
~ Memphis Whole Pickin’ Pig

So, fire up the coals, pick your favorite recipe, and dazzle your guests with these simple, yet mouth-watering dishes.

Wonderful things can happen when you think inside the box!

Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Elk Mountain Books (August 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451598017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451598018
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.4 inches
  • Foreword: Roberto Guerra
  • MSRP: US $14.95

About the Author

Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation gourmand, he focuses his love of cooking on bar-b-que, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine. Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, and his inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies, as well.

Perry’s books include the novels Just Past Oysterville, and Shoalwater Voices, Elk Hunters Don’t Cry, and his new short story collection, Four From Left Field. Perry, his wife Victoria and their young daughter Grace live in the Pacific Northwest, and you can read more of his work at www.perryperkinsbooks.com.

All of Perry’s books are available on this page at Amazon.com


Filed under Reviews

Roasting a Whole Pig (video)

Here’s a great YouTube video from the guys at La Caja China that shows the exact step-by-step process for roasting a whole pig, start to finish in La Caja China, Model #2.

You can find step-by-step recipes in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking, as well.


Filed under In The Box Recipes, Videos

Traditional Mexican Barbacoa

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.

http://i2.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/barbacoa-horno.jpg?resize=258%2C163Game, 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.

http://i1.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/carib-arawak-jerk-barbeque.jpg?w=500The 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!

You can find these, and many other, step-by-step recipes in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking, as well.

Mexican Barbacoa

3 Lbs. Beef (carnitas cut)
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
Sour Cream
Bubba’s easy guacamole (see below.)
2 dozen fresh tortillas

http://i0.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/article5.jpg?resize=221%2C177Preheat grill to high and toss on a small handful of hickory chips. Sear meat, in smoke, 10 minutes pre-side until starting to char.

Turn one side of grill off, and reduce heat of second side to medium.

Move roast to “off” side and roast, with indirect heat one hour, adding smoke every 15 minutes for the first hour.

Drape 2 banana leaves over a “deep-dish” disposable pan, pressing to the bottom, then add a layer of chopped onion.

Remove roast 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.


If cooking with La Cajita China, place the the pan inside the box and add 10lbs of coals. Wait one hour and then add 5lbs of coals every hour for 8 hours.

If not using La Cajita 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 ten hours, turning the meat 2-3 times.

After  10 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 the 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. Stir frequently.

Just before bringing to the table, stir in most of the chopped Cilantro, and quickly top with dollops of Sour Cream.

Serve with Bubba’s Easy Guacamole (see recipe, below), your favorite salsa, 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.

Traditional Barbacoa

Chef Perry’s Easy Guacamole

http://i2.wp.com/burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/guacamole-danger.jpg?resize=247%2C185Guacamole 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.



Filed under In The Box Recipes, Off The Grill