Tag Archives: smoke

Thanksgiving Barbecue Menu

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.

2 lbs sliced bacon
64 raw prawns, tail off
2 C Traditional Cuban Mojo
¼ C Adobo Criollo Spice
32 skewers, soaked (if wooden)

See Instructions here.

Appetizer 2: Caprese Tomato Bites
I like to follow a hot appetizer with a cold one and, since the following salad recipe has none of these ingresients, this balances nicely.

1 pint cherry tomatoes, about 16
2 mozzarella cheese sticks
16 fresh basil leaves, small
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

See instructions, here.

Salad: Wild Greens tossed with Balsamic Viniegrette

Turkey: Mojo Brined Turkeys in La Caja China

(2) 12-14lb turkeys, thawed and rinsed
Mojo Brine
Peanut oil
1/2 cup Adobo Criollo spices
Water to cover

See instructions, here.

Cuban Tostone Stuffing

6 green plantains
Vegetable oil
1 lb. thick bacon, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 sweet chili peppers, seeded & diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste

Sides: Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Giblet Gravy, Simple Grilled Asparagus

‘Nuff said.

See instructions, here.

‘Course, if you wanna try something completely different…but still savor the flavor or Thanksgiving, try your hand at our Turkey Explosion Recipe!

1 pound sliced bacon
1.5 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon each sage, garlic powder, salt, pepper
1 cups breadcrumbs
1/2 sweet onion, diced fine
1/4 lb Mushrooms. sliced thin
2 stalks celery, diced fine
2 Tbs fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup sweet cream butter
1/4 cup turkey rub (see below)
3/4 cup cranberry barbecue sauce (see link)

See instructions, here.

…and, of course…it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the WKRP Turley Drop!

Happy Thanksgiving all!


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Filed under In The Box Recipes

Want to turn your La Caja China into an Uber-Smoker?…For free?

Hey all,

https://i2.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/23/19/de/2319decb48c7b8c586d4550d37398e8a.jpg?resize=198%2C261Okay, so we all know that I love my La Caja China (all of them), and, if you’ve read my smoker accessory review, you know I’m equally enamored with the A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker (AMNPS).

Yesterday, I had the honor of sharing this amazing device with none other than my grilling guru, Mr. Steven Raichlen, (author of “The Barbecue Bible”, which is my gold standard for bbq/grilling cookbooks) who had posted the following message on his Facebook page:

“Yes, I’ve used caja chinas & they give you amazingly moist tender pork. Drawback is you don’t get a wood smoker flavor.”

Well, you know I couldn’t let that go…so I (very politely) replied that you could, indeed, get great smoke flavor in anything you roast in La Caja China, and pointed him to our review of the AMNPS. This morning, the awesome Mr. Raichlen posted the following…

“This in from Perry P: a smoker device you can use with a caja china. I stand corrected & and we all stand to eat like kings!”

http://burninlovebbq.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/post2.jpg?resize=204%2C153Well, needless to say…my hat doesn’t fit too well this morning!

In honor of my 5 seconds of fame, the equally awesome Todd Johnson, over at A-MAZE-N Products, LLC  (owner and creator of the AMNPS) has generously offered to donate a brand new A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker, as a prize for the best barbecue photo posted on our Facebook page.

As if that weren’t enough…I’m going to throw in a copy of any one of our barbecue cookbooks (La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, or MEAT FIRE GOOD), for the winner, as well…just ’cause.

The rules:

  • 1 photo per person. (G-rated, must be your photo, preferably with no minors in the shot.)
  • We’re looking for finished foodie shots of meat on the grill, in the Caja China, in your Weber, your pit…you name it. Show us what you would add smoke to, with your free A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker, the next time you barbecue!
  • Contest ends Wednesday, February 29 (‘cause that’s leap-day, and I thought it was cool.)
  • Please do not post contact/mailing information, we’ll contact the winner.

Oh, and just to tease you…in June, I’m going to give away a MAJOR PRIZE here on Burnin’ Love BBQ (no, not a leg-lamp) for the best photo taken using the AMNPS! Seriously…this is going to be a biggie!

Any questions? Post them below, or on our Facebook post!

Okay, let’s see ’em!


PS – Again, my review is here, if you’d like to see more of my thoughts on the A-MAZE-N Smoker.

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!


Filed under Contests, Reviews

How to get super crispy pork shoulders

Here’s a tip for getting awesome pork shoulders/legs with super crispy skin and a buttery center, in either your smoker, bbq, or oven.

Once you’ve smoked or roasted your rubbed and brined shoulder to perfection (10-12 hours at 235°F in your oven or smoker), remove the pork from heat and tent with foil.

Let your shoulder rest at room temperature for at and hour, untouched.

Crank up your oven to 500°F and allow to preheat. Return the shoulder to the oven and roast until skin is blistered and puffed, rotating every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Remove it from the oven, re-tent with foil and allow the meat to rest an additional 15 minutes.

Serve by chopping in the kitchen, or just bring it to the table and let guests pick meat and crispy skin themselves, serve with a variety of dipping sauces, and some warm potato rolls or cornbread on the side




Filed under Technique

The aPORKalypse Sandwich

I can tell you, from personal experience, that sometimes the title comes first. A single line so compelling that you know…you know…that there’s a story worth writing, hidden within.

The same can happen, apparently, with barbecue.

A few months ago, a Facebook friend of mine used the word “aPORKalypse” on my Burnin’ Love BBQ Page.  I was instantly besotted. I had to use that word…I had to create a recipe worthy of its awesomeness.  It haunted my dreams.

Since then, I have prepared this dish dozens of times in my mind, tweaking the ingredients, massaging the methods, and expending a great deal of drool, until, finally, it was time to open the roof to the storms, allow the lighting to flash down, and bring my glorious creation to smoky, succulent life.

Long after I’m rolled into that last great fire-pit…this is the recipe I want to be remembered for…

The aPORKalypse Sandwich

Recipe by Perry P. Perkins

2 pub rolls, toasted
2-4 Tbs Texas Pepper Jelly’s Apple Habanero
2 aPORKalypses (see below)
2 slices smoked Gouda cheese
2 slices Black Forest Ham

The aPORKalypse:
1/2 cup favorite BBQ sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s Brown Sugar)
4 tsp dry rub
20 slices of bacon
2 – 2 inch thick boneless pork chops
1 cup leftover pulled pork (chopped)
2 Tbs apple juice
8-10 toothpicks

Flatten pork chops until about 1 1/2 inches thick, and slightly larger than your pub rolls. Brine the chops for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  Remove from brine, pat dry, and rub with a salt-free dry rub (smoked paprika, garlic, powdered ginger, maybe a touch of chili powder, and brown sugar is my favorite), and set aside.

Sprinkle leftover pulled pork with 2 Tbs of apple juice and, in a covered pan, warm in a 200d oven for 1 hour, or until hot.

Weave bacon into 2 mats, using 10 slices each (5×5)

Cut a deep pocket into each chop, carefully stuff each pocket with hot pulled pork.

Set the stuffed chop in the center of the bacon mat, and fold bacon over the top, until chop is completely covered. Pin bacon in place, using as many toothpicks as necessary.

Over a medium apple-wood fire, grill each aPORKalypse until well marked on each side, moving with necessary to avoid scorching from flare-ups. Once each side is marked, move to indirect heat and close lid, or cover with a disposable pan, or loosely tented foil.

Grill 10-15 minutes, turning and basting with bbq sauce, until aPORKalypse feels firm to the touch. On the last turn top with smoked Gouda cheese, and a slice of lightly grilled Black Forest Ham, each. Cover again, allowing the cheese to melt.

Remove from heat and set on a warm plate to rest 10 minutes.

Split and toast pub rolls.

Place the aPORKalypse on the bottom half of the roll, spread the top of each roll with 1-2 Tbs Apple Habanero pepper jelly (halve for more sensitive palates)…this is the key ingredient to the whole experience, the fiery, sweet apple jelly as counterpoint to the smoky, salty bacon, and savory pork.

You may find this stuff other places, but it won’t be as good as Texas Pepper Jelly’s…just sayin’…

Optional extras (not that it needs any!), that may be added to the bottom bun:

Red onion slices
Pickled okra

Any of the above should be well chilled and crisp, added seconds before serving.

Slice each sandwich into halves or quarters, and serve immediately.

A small dish of complimentary Lipitor tablets is optional, as well.

Thank you, and goodnight.



Filed under On The Grill Recipes

Texas Pepper Jelly’s Pineapple Habanero. Review & Recipe

A couple of weeks back, Texas Pepper Jelly owner Craig Sherry was kind enough to answer my Facebook plea for an Apple Habanero Jelly (that recipe is still in the works…it will be awesome) and while I was perusing his website, I couldn’t pass up the chance to order a 2-oz bottle of Pineapple Habanero while I was there.

I’ll tell you this…I’ll never order that two ounce bottle again…I’m gonna be a 12-oz bottle customer from now on!

Continue reading


Filed under On The Grill Recipes, Reviews

What the big boys (and girls) are grilling…4th of July BBQ Recipes from Food Network

Heyya Peeps!

Well, we’re countin’ down to Independence Day, and planning on what to grill up while Will Smith, once again,  kick’s some serious alien butt.

I really want to play with my new oyster racks, and I’m jonesing for some grilled lamb, as well, so I cruised on over to the Food Network site to see what the big boys (and girls) were throwing on the fire.

Here are a few that had me droolin’ on my keyboard…

Guy Fieri’s Malibu oysters. Mario’s black pepper drumsticks. Paula’s easy BBQ chicken. Bobby Flay’s Smoked Ribs. Alton Brown’s Pulled Pork. Giada’s Grilled Lamb

Six top celebrity chefs’ favorite grilling recipes for the Fourth of July!

“Time to kick the tires, and light the fires, big daddy!”

Guy Fieri’s Malibu Oysters
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 15 min

Yield: 8 oysters
Level: Easy

* 8 large oysters, BBQ size
* 1/3 cup mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons Parmesan
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 1 cup fried potato sticks (recommended: Pik-Nik)
* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
* 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
* 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
* 6 ounces havarti cheese, sliced
* Rock salt, for baking

Preheat a grill to high. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Shuck the oysters and set aside in the refrigerator or on ice, keeping them in the shell.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, white vinegar, Parmesan, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, cayenne, and white pepper. Stir to combine, and then stir in the fried potato sticks.

In a small saute pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and red onions and saute for 3 minutes, and then add the spinach and allow to wilt. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

Top each oyster with the spinach mixture, dividing evenly, and then do the same with the mayo mixture. Top with the havarti and place on a baking sheet lined with a layer of rock salt. Roast in the oven until cheese is bubbly and oysters are just warmed through, 5 to 6 minutes.

Let cool enough to handle, and then serve right away.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network, 2011


Mario Batali’s Spicy Black-Pepper-Coated Drumsticks
(Serves 6)

Partly cooking the drumsticks in the oven ensures that they will cook through on the grill without charring. You can bake the chicken early in the day or even the night before.

12 chicken drumsticks
Kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce, preferably chipotle
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a spice or coffee grinder
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 fennel bulbs
4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the drumsticks on a baking sheet and season all over with salt. Bake unadorned for 20 minutes (25 minutes if your drumsticks are very large).

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, Tabasco sauce, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Set a wire rack over a large plate or a small baking sheet.

As soon as the drumsticks come out of the oven, toss them, in batches, into the buttermilk mixture and turn to coat, then place skin side up on the rack to drain. Spoon a little of the mixture, with the fennel seeds and pepper, over the top of each one, and set aside. (The drumsticks can be baked and marinated up to a day ahead; leave them on the rack, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before grilling.)

Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

Trim the fennel bulbs, cut lengthwise in half, and cut out most of the core. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide batonettes and toss into a bowl of ice water.

Crumble the Gorgonzola into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add the red wine vinegar and stir with the fork until fairly smooth. Drizzle in the oil, stirring, to make a dressing. Pour into one or more shallow bowls for dipping.

Place the drumsticks on the hottest part of the grill, cover the grill, and cook, turning occasionally at first and then more often as they start to caramelize, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Put the drumsticks on a platter. Drain the fennel sticks, pat dry, and place on the platter next to the wings. Serve with the Gorgonzola dressing.

Recipe Courtesy of Mario Batali’s Italian Grill (Ecco 2008)


Paula Deen’s Easy After Work BBQ Chicken
Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min

Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

* 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups bottled sauce or Easy BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

Prepare a medium-hot grill or preheat the broiler. If using the broiler, line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Put the chicken on the grill or, if broiling, put it on the prepared baking sheet. Grill or broil, 4 inches from the heat, turning once, for 10 minutes per side.

Put 1/2 of the BBQ sauce in a small bowl, for drizzling and serving. Reserve.

Baste the chicken with the remaining sauce and grill or broil for 5 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, drizzle with some of the reserved sauce, and serve with lime wedges and the remaining reserved sauce
Easy BBQ Sauce:

* 3/4 cup ketchup
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
* 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons minced onion
* 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 1/4 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce, (recommended: Tabasco)
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons chopped scallions (white and light green parts)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
* 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
* Lime wedges, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, onion, mustard, hot sauce, and black pepper. Stir in the scallions, lime zest, and lime juice. Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Yield: 2 cups

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network, 2011


Bobby Flay’s Smoked Ribs with Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce
Total Time: 19 hr 15 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 12 hr 45 min
Cook: 6 hr 0 min

Yield: 4 servings
Level: Intermediate

* 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
* 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
* 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons dry mustard
* 2 tablespoons kosher salt
* 2 tablespoons ground coriander
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 2 teaspoons chile de arbol
* 2 racks St. Louis-style pork ribs, 12 ribs each, membrane removed
* 1/4 cup canola oil

* 2 cups cider vinegar
* 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
* Few dashes hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
* 1 tablespoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Mix of hickory and applewood chips
* 1 quart apple cider
* North Carolina Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows

Carolina Style BBQ Sauce:
* 1/4 cup canola oil
* 2 medium Spanish onions, coarsely chopped
* 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
* 2 cups ketchup
* 2/3 cup water
* 1/4 cup ancho chili powder
* 2 tablespoons paprika
* 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
* 2/3 cup cider vinegar
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
* 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2 tablespoons molasses
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the rub:

Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Brush both sides of the racks with oil and rub with the spice mixture. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

In a large pot over low heat, add all the mop ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator 45 minutes before smoking to allow them to come to room temperature. Add the mix of hickory and applewood chips to the smoker according to package instructions. Heat a smoker to 220 degrees F. Put the apple cider in a small heatproof pan in the smoker.

Put the ribs directly on the smoker rack. Smoke for 6 hours, brushing the ribs with the mop every hour for the first 5 hours. During the last hour, brush the ribs with the North Carolina Barbecue Sauce every 10 minutes. Remove the ribs to a serving platter and serve.

For the BBQ Sauce:

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ketchup and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.

Carefully transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator, stored in a tightly sealed container.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network, 2011


Alton Brown’s Pulled Pork
Total Time: 24 hr 20 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive: 13 hr 0 min
Cook: 11 hr 0 min

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Easy

* 8 ounces or 3/4 cup molasses
* 12 ounces pickling salt
* 2 quarts bottled water
* 6 to 8 pound Boston butt

* 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
* 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
* 1 teaspoon whole coriander
* 1 tablespoon chili powder
* 1 tablespoon onion powder
* 1 tablespoon paprika

Video: Watch Alton make this recipe

Combine molasses, pickling salt, and water in 6 quart Lexan. Add Boston butt making sure it is completely submerged in brine, cover, and let sit in refrigerator for a minimum of 8 hours. 12 hours is ideal.

Place cumin seed, fennel seed, and coriander in food grinder and grind fine. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and stir in chili powder, onion powder, and paprika.

Remove Boston butt from brine and pat dry. Sift the rub evenly over the shoulder and then pat onto the meat making sure as much of the rub as possible adheres. More rub will adhere to the meat if you are wearing latex gloves during the application.

Preheat smoker to 210 degrees F. Place butt in smoker and cook for 10 to12 hours, maintaining a temperature of 210 degrees F. Begin checking meat for doneness after 10 hours of cooking time. Use fork to check for doneness. Meat is done when it falls apart easily when pulling with a fork. Once done, remove from pot and set aside to rest for at least 1 hour. Pull meat apart with 2 forks and serve as sandwich with coleslaw and dressing as desired.

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network, 2011


Giada De Laurentiis’ Grilled Lamb with Salsa Verde
Total Time: 1 hr 25 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 15 min
Cook: 40 min

Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

*  1/4 cup salted capers, soaked for 30 minutes, drained, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
* 1/3 cup chopped scallions
* 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
* 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
* 1 cup olive oil, preferably extra-virgin
* 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
* 3 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
* 1 (4 1/2 to 5-pound) butterflied boned lamb shoulder
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* Nonstick cooking spray

Stir the first 7 ingredients and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a large bowl to blend. Whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Set the salsa verde aside. Place the lamb in a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Rub the minced garlic, remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes all over lamb. Pour 1/2 cup of salsa verde over the lamb, turning the lamb to coat evenly. Use immediately, or cover the dish and remaining salsa verde separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 1 day.

Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill the lamb until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicker parts registers 130 degrees F for medium-rare, turning occasionally, about 40 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a work surface and let rest 15 minutes.

Cut the lamb across grain into thin slices. Arrange the lamb slices on a platter. Serve the remaining salsa verde alongside.

What’s on YOUR grill this 4th?

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Filed under Off The Grill, On The Grill Recipes

La Caja China “How To” Posts

http://cubeville.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/post7.jpg?resize=274%2C206Hey all,

Thought it might be time to get all of my La Caja China “How To” posts indexed for easy ready (and to save myself the trouble of constantly looking up the individual URLs…I’m so lazy…)

La Caja China is not a good or a service – It’s an experience.  It’s a culture. It’s about the age-old mainstays of good food, good friends, and good times. It’s rugged but romantic. Requiring butchering, braising, brining and handling. It’s charcoal and chatter. As the food cooks, the aromas become as enticing as the spectacle itself. It becomes not just a conversation piece, but a conversation starter.

Most of all, La Caja China is realizing that in 4 hours or less you’ve made a delicious, authentic meal that ended up feeding your soul.

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!

Here are some of my most popular “how to” posts on La Caja China…if you’re looking for great recipes for cooking on your La Caja China, check out my cookbooks La Caja China Cooking and La Caja China Word, available in paperback and Kindle eBook on Amazon.com at www.perryperkinsbooks.com

https://i1.wp.com/www.bbqsmokersite.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/La-Cajita-China-3.jpg?resize=224%2C299The Articles

La Caja China Pig Roast

Beef Ribs in La Caja China

How to smoke briskets on La Caja China

La Caja China Semi Pro

La Caja China Semi-Pro has arrived!

Whole Pickin’ Pig on La Caja China Semi-Pro

Grilling on the Go with La Caja China

Multi-Zone Fires

Q&A: Marinading Pork Shoulders

Q&A: First time cooking on La Caja China

Q&A: Pork Shoulders on La Caja China

Temps and Tips for La Caja China

How to Start the Smoke Pistol

Bobby Flay & La Caja China

Q&A: Luau Whole Hog

Flipping a pig in La Caja China

La Caja China’s Rotisserie Kit

Roasting a Whole Pig (video)

La Caja China Cooking

La Caja China Semi-Pro Tray Stacking instructions, and the Ash Disposal Unit assembly instructions.

Q & A: Roasting a whole lamb

The Taste of Love is Sweet…

La Caja China Model #3 Assembly and Maiden Voyage

Very nice reviews from National Barbecue News

Brining vs. Injecting Pork

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

Q&A – How much pig do I need to serve X number of people?



Filed under Q & A, Uncategorized

Brisket Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Heyya Peeps,

Here’s a great side-dish to grill over the coals while your whole pig, briskets, or pork shoulders are roasting inside your La Caja China (or, to just grill over coals, if you haven’t gotten your roasting box, yet.)

I try not to wrench my shoulder while patting myself on the back, but these are GOOD.

“The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the State of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called a chile ancho. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity.”  (From Wikipedia)

Brisket Stuffed Poblano Peppers

4 Poblano peppers, whole
1 cup smoked brisket, diced or shredded
1lb ground sirloin
1 Tbs Bandiola Barbecue Spice
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
½ lb mushrooms, diced
½ cup brisket broth* (optional)
1 sm onion, diced
1 cup Mexican cheese blend, shredded

Pan fry ground sirloin over medium heat with Bandiola Barbecue Spice, pepper flakes, and onion, until beef is crumbled. If you have brisket broth, add it to the burger and onions and allow to moisture to cook off. Add mushrooms and shredded/diced brisket just before beef is done. Cook until mushrooms soften.

Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Grill peppers over high heat 2-3 minutes on each side until charred. Cool slightly. Place peppers in a large  resealable plastic bag; seal and let stand 5 minutes to loosen skin. Remove charred skin from peppers. For pure awesomeness, toss a couple of oak chunks on the coals when you fire them up.

Cut the tops off each pepper, reserve, and gently scrape seeds and ribs out with a teaspoon (leave sides intact.)  Set peppers aside.

Stir together burger/veggie mixture with cheese. Spoon evenly into peppers, slightly over stuffing (be careful, if the sides are too soft, they can burst), place caps on top, and pin in place with 3 toothpicks.  Toothpicks should be soaked in water 10-15 minutes.

Grill over medium coals, 8-10 minutes or until filling is thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. If the peppers start getting too dark, move to a cooler spot on the grill and cover.

Serve, topped with a dollop of crema (Mexican sour cream), if desired.

Great with brisket, steaks, chops, old boots…whatever. If you have leftover filling, it makes a killer omelet the next morning!


*By the way – brisket broth is the freakin’ elixir of the gods. Save it, freeze it, and use it in this recipe, or to make amazing burgers, meatloaf, soups, and stews. It’s awesome!


Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes

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

Beef Back Ribs Recipe in La Caja China

Hey all, a friend asked for my recipes for Beef Back Ribs in La Caja China…here’s my current fav!

Beef Back Ribs

Yield: 6-8

Four five-bone racks beef back ribs

For the seasoning:

1 tbsp beef base (see notes)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp chili powder

For the wrap:

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet white onion
board dressing or your favorite barbecue sauce (see notes)

Rub the beef base into the ribs. Combine the remaining seasoning ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Season the ribs on both sides and on the ends. Press in the seasonings, and dab the meat on the board to collect any excess.

Prepare the top of La Caja China for indirect grilling. Allow both charcoal and any wood chunks to burn to white before adding the ribs.  Put the meat on the well-oiled, preheated grill racks and cook, with the addition of wood of your choice (for beef, I like oak and apple) for 20-30 minutes per side, tent ribs loosely with foil while grilling.

Remove the ribs from the heat. Put two large sheets of heavy-duty foil on top of each other and place one rack, top side up, on the foil. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of chopped onion, then sprinkle with up to 2 tablespoons of cold water to moisten the rack. Wrap the rack in the foil to make a neat parcel, being careful not to pierce the foil with the bones. Repeat with the remaining ribs.

Put the foil parcels into La Caja China, rib side up, and cook, covered, for another hour and 15 minutes (see char below). Remove the parcels, wrap (foil and all) in heavy towels, and allow to rest, for 30-45 minutes.

Unwrap the racks and discard the foil. (Optional: Put the ribs back on the grill and cook for 10 – 30 minutes to tighten the glaze and give the meat a bit more smoke.) Pour the board dressing onto a cutting board, or slather the board with barbecue sauce, with a sharp knife,  cut the meat into individual ribs, brush tops lightly with the dressing or sauce.


Beef base is concentrated stock in liquid form, typically found in supermarkets and gourmet stores. It gives an added depth of flavor and richness. You can boil down stock from beef bones yourself, or cheat and use packaged beef au jus (that’s what I do, lol.)

Board dressing creates extra flavor on your cutting board. I love to do this with ribs, steaks, tri-tip, etc. It adds an amazing little punch to beef and lamb dishes that require slicing – Combine 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Spread this mixture across your cutting board before you add the meat for slicing.

Bottled BBQ Sauce – Yes, I make my own “secret sauce” but, just as often, I use this and it’s almost as good – Combine 2 cups of you favorite bottled sauce (Mine is Sweet Baby Rays Brown Sugar) with 1 cup apple juice and 1 cup cider vinegar. Add 1 Tbs dry rub, and a dah of Hotsauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot.) Slowly simmer, stirring 40-60 minutes until thickened.


I did 7 rack of beef ribs with this method –

1. Start with 16 lbs. of charcoal (about 3 Weber chimneys full) for Model #1 Box or 18lbs. for Model #2 Box and light up the charcoal on top of the grid.

2. Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid. (Sear the ribs now.)

3. Put ribs in the box and close it up.

4. After 1 hour (1st hour) add 9 lbs. of charcoal.

5. After 1 hour (2nd hour) open the box flip the Ribs over, close the box and add 9 lbs. of charcoal. If cooking large ribs connect the wired thermometer probe in the meat.

6. Do not add any more charcoal; continue cooking on more hour (total time inside box = 3hr.)

7. Continue with recipe (above.)

Find lots more delicious roasting, grilling, and side dish recipes for La Caja China in my cookbook, La Caja China Cooking!


Filed under In The Box Recipes