I enjoy a good piece of grass-fed, dry-aged beef as much as the next food snob, but if given my ‘druthers, I’d take a properly cooked peice of lamb-leg, or lamb chop over cow, any day of the week.
Here’s a favorite recipe of mine, for grilling on top of La Caja China. Makes a great snack while the pig’s roasting!
8 rib lamb chops, 1 1/2 inches thick 1/4 C fresh lime juice 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon black pepper 3/4 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Brush both sides of chops with lime juice, and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chops, rub it evenly all over the meat, and chill the chops overnight.
Prepare La Cajita China, or grill, with glowing coals. For a “high-heat” sear, I like to use my Weber charcoal chimney set directly on the Cajita ash pan. Fill the chimney 3/4, light, and allow to burn down to half full.
On the oiled rack of the grill or on a broiler pan in the broiler, grill or broil the chops 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare, rotating halfway through for grill marks.
When I pull the chops off the grill, I let them rest for 10 minutes, then serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and sweet green peas.
By 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.
Coming up on one of my favorite barbecue holidays…Presidents Day!
Oh sure, you can have your Memorial Day, and Independence Day, and Labor Day, but the problem with those are, everyone else is barbecuing as well! It can be hard to get enough folks over to justify a decent pig-pickin’ when every Weber on the block is burnin’ dogs.
Besides, Presidents Day has such a fine history or barbecue…
“When George Washington “went in to Alexandria to a Barbecue and stayed all Night,” as he wrote in his diary for May 27, 1769, he won eight shillings playing cards and probably ate meat from a whole hog, cooked for hours over hardwood coals, then chopped or “pulled.”
By the early nineteenth century at the latest, a sauce of vinegar and cayenne pepper (originally West Indian) was being sprinkled on the finished product. This ur-barbecue can be found to this day in eastern North Carolina and the adjoining regions of South Carolina and Virginia, virtually unchanged.” (Adapted from Holy Smoke: The Tar Heel Barbecue Tradition, by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and Will McKinney to be published by the University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2008.)
Says Steven Raichlen, author of “Planet Barbecue” and host of “Primal Grill” on PBS, “Our presidents were known to be big fans of the laid-back pastime as well. George Washington’s diaries abound with references to barbecues, including one that lasted for three days. George Washington was a major barbecue buff, and when Abraham Lincoln’s parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue.”
Lyndon Johnson built his campaign around Texas-style barbecues, a variation on an old tradition: In the 19th century, roast pig and whiskey were staples at political rallies. Having combined generous amounts of Kentucky bourbon and slow-roasted pork on occassion myself, I can say with some authority that this is a wise political tactic…after several hours you would passionately cast your vote for the pig, if someone put a ballot in your hand!
In fact, President Johnson had a full-time barbecue chef, Mr, Walter Jetton, employed on the LBJ Ranch full time. I have his cookbook…it’s highly amusing.
Ronald Reagan engaged the BBQ catering services of Wayne Monk of Lexington for the 1983 Economic Summit in Williamsburg.
Even President Obama, who, having grown up in Hawaii, is likely to have an undeniable love of pork…I mean bbq of course…got into the action with Iron Chef Bobby Flay, grilling up some fine looking steaks at the White House for the Young Men’s Barbeque in 2009. (Hope they were good…we payed for ’em! lol)
So, in tribute to my favorite bbq holiday, here’s how you can prepare some fantastic, White House worthy pulled pork barbecue of your own on your gas grill or La Caja China (click links for recipes.)
And, of course, if you can get a herd of hungry revelers over, you can go whole hog…but I’d put the bourbon away first, if I were you.
And here’s my favorite “traditional” bbq sauce recipe, from …which is probably pretty similar to what Ol’ George sunk his wooden teeth into, at those all-night poker parties!
Perk’s Tradition BBQ Sauce
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally.
May all your holidays be filled with the blessings that life can bestow. And though, for all of us, in different ways, this has been a tough year, try to remember something my father taught me. Something I reflect upon that occasionally has helped me through a tough time…
At your moment of greatest suffering, when everything seems it’s darkest, somewhere in the world, some unsuspecting turkey is about to have a fistful of stuffing shoved deep into his eviserated body cavity…
In other words, things could be worse. Happy Thanksgiving!” – Bon Saget
Here’s the Burnin’ Love BBQ Plan…
Appetizer 1: Mojo Shrimp Skewers
Grilled seafood makes a great appetizer before a big dinner because not only it it a light, tasty snack that won’t dull the tastebuds, it’s also quick and easy grilling for a chef who’s in full-bore production mode.
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!
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.
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!
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.
This is a recipe will be included in our Lighter Side menu over at hautemealz.com, soon, and I thought it would be a good one to share here, as well.
Did you know that new research indicates that eating red meat every other day (instead of daily) can significantly reduce your heart disease risk, too…that sounds pretty good, huh? So, unless you’re eating it every single day (which is doubtful), you can stop stressing about an occasional red meat meal–especially when it’s a lean cut, like the one below.
Flank Steak Salad with Fresh Pepper Pico
4-6 slices freshly grilled flank steak*
1 cup mixes greens
1 Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 small avocado
1/4 cup Fresh Pepper Pico*
Sweet chili sauce might be my all-time favorite condiment, and brisket is definitely in my top 3 favorite meats. So, a thought stuck me the other day, out of the blue, Hey, those two would be awesome together! And thus, this recipe was born.
“Thanks for taking the time to read this! I have a quick question: We are roasting a 70 lb pig in a La Caja China Roaster.
My partners mother-in-law is Cuban and tells us that there is an old Puerto Rican recipe that calls for REMOVING the skin from the pig prior to roasting, then seasoning the meat, and placing the pig back “into” the now separate skin, then roasting as usual.
Now I am not a fan of this, but I figured I would ask if this is something you would suggest? I mean, might it dry out the meat?
Cinco de Mayo is the kind of holiday that outdoor cooks live for. Grilled meat, fresh tortillas, hot sauces and salsas, and plenty of Cerveza Fria!
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a celebration held on May 5 (duh). It’s celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla).The date is observed observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is actually celebrated on September 16.
Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.
Here’s what dinner’s gonna look like at my house, this year…
Carne Asada is a Mexican recipe for marinated, grilled beef served in in tortillas. This is not your run of the mill taco. This is a flavorful and delicious meal that is great for any occasion, and, for my money, skirt steak is one of the best cuts of meat you can ever toss on the grill!
Mmm…piping hot pancakes, drenched in your favorite syrup, dripping hot sweet cream butter, loaded with delicious blueberries that burst in your mouth…a haystack of apple-wood smoked bacon on the side…oh, baby!
“Typically occurring in late January or early February, it is considered a de facto national holiday in the United States. On Super Bowl Sunday many people gather to watch the Super Bowl. Such gatherings are known for the large amount of food that is consumed by attendees.” Wikipedia
Okay, SuperBowl Sunday is coming up, and what better time to get our smoke on?
A quick confession (before my friends rat me out anyway)…I’m really not a spectator sports guy (I’m not much of a participatory sports guys either, but let’s not open THAT can of worms…)
However, the annual Superbowl party is my exception to the rule.
A bunch of my best friends, tons of great food…sure, I have to watch some football…but there are some great commercials to break THAT up, so…three outta four awesome elements…I’ll take that percentage any day!
As much as I’d like to think that I get invited to these parties every year for my witty banter and cutting-edge heckling of the event at hand, I know the truth…it’s my food that gets me in the door. I’m okay with that.
So, I thought this year we’d take a look at three specific ways that “Game Day” can play out, and how we can do some grilling and/or Q for each.
Most parties, where we would be offering our goods, fall into one of three categories:
1. Party at my place! – Hosting a Superbowl party at you own home offers the most flexibility in what you can prepare and serve (‘course, it also means cleaning bean dip off the ceiling, finding wing-bones behind the couch next summer, and two-weeks of lethal dog flatulence because your best friend won’t stop feeding ATB’s to Rover …).
2. Invitation to the pot-lick. – My personal favorite, lots of new dishes to try, and my place stays (moderately) clean. Watch the game (commercials) in comfort on my pals cushy garage home-theater. Nice!
3. Pull in & Pig out! – Ah, the pièce de résistance for armchair quarterbacks everywhere. It’s a ball game, it’s a picnic, it’s a camp-out…it’s the Tailgate Party…how can that be anything but awesome?
Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to take a look at each of these game-day favorites, some killer bbq and grill recipes adapted to each, and some tips on how to participate as a pit-master. Oh, and I have a great homemade cleanser for getting out those bean-dip stains…
So, let’s take a look at three next-level recipes for hosting a Pig Skin party at your own crib…
Party at My Place
Hosting the party at your own place allows for a lot more freedom in recipes and preparation. All of your own toys, spices, and gear, are close at hand. This is your pit-master backyard…awesomeness should be a given!
For the main dish, let’s go all-out with Luau Party featuring a whole Kalua pig, or pork shoulder, with a Big Island Luau Party!
Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, or underground oven. The word kālua literally means “to cook in an underground oven” and also describes the flavor of food cooked in this manner – e.g. the kālua pig, kālua turkey (Hawaiian puaʻa kālua) which is commonly served at luau feasts. – From Wikipedia
Traditional Kalua Pork
8 pounds pork butt
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
4 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
8 to 12 large ti leaves, ribs removed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After scoring pork on all sides with quarter-inch deep slits about an inch apart, rub with salt, then liquid smoke.
Wrap the pork completely in ti leaves, tie with string, and wrap in foil.
Place meat in a shallow roasting pan with 2 cups of water and roast for 6 hours.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt in 2 cups boiling water and add a few drops of liquid smoke. Shred the cooked pork and let stand in this solution for a few minutes before serving.
Man…that’s makin’ me hungry!
If you’re lucky enough to have a La Caja China, and want to take this recipe to the next level, knock the socks off your party guests with a Whole Roasted Kahlua Pig.
Hawaii plate-lunch-style macaroni salad.
The beauty of macaroni salad is that it is quite forgiving and welcomes a wide range of personalization and experimentation. It’s a casual dish that easily adapts to any type of food or occasion—it is, in other words, quintessentially local.
Island Mac Salad
To make a basic macaroni salad, you don’t need a recipe; just follow these guidelines:
The pasta: Cook 1 pound macaroni (for really local style, cook until soft and fat, but you can go al dente if you prefer).
The flavoring: Stir in ¼ cup very finely grated onion. Not minced, chopped or sliced—grated. It should be liquidy (this is how they do it at Diner’s, a local eatery in Kalihi).
The mayo: At least 2½ cups for real local style. But there are no rules, so use less if you like. Or more.