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La Caja China Guidebook

Tips and tricks for getting the most from


your Magic Box!

Published by:

Elk Mountain Books


PO Box 21
Wilsonville, Oregon 97070
editor@elkmountianbooks.com
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or
mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any
information storage and retrieval system without written
permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief
quotations in a review.

Copyright 2011 by Perry P. Perkins

-2-

Author's Note
La Caja China is not a good or a service Its an
experience. Its a culture. Its about the age-old
mainstays of good food, good friends, and good
times.
Its rugged but romantic.
Requiring butchering, braising, brining and
handling.
Its 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.
Here are some of my most popular how to
ideas and work-arounds that Ive come up with
in nearly four-years of frequent cooking with La
Caja China
If youre looking for great recipes for cooking
on your magic box, check out my cookbooks
La Caja China Cooking and La Caja China
World, available in paperback and Kindle eBook
on Amazon.com at:
www.perryperkinsbooks.com

-3-

INDEX
A
A Night in Havana, - 41 A successful pig roast, - 34 About the Author, - 53 Achieving Pulled Pork, - 21 Also by Perry P. Perkins, - 54 A-MAZE-N smoker box, - 19 Ambient temperature/wind chill, - 16 Amount of charcoal used, - 17 Ash build-up, - 16 ASSEMBLY, - 7 -

B
Big Island Luau, - 38 Bourbon Pork Tenderloi, - 45 Braai, - 47 Brining & Injecting, - 10 -

C
CLEAN UP & MAINTAINENCE, - 29 Cold weather, - 16 Cold Weather Cooking, - 18 COOKING, - 15 Corn, - 48 Corn on the cob, - 27 -

D
Direct vs. Indirect Grilling, - 27 -

E
Elk Mountain Books, - 2 -

F
Finding whole pigs, - 8 -

-4-

G
Green Clean, - 30 Grill Grates, - 29 -

H
Hot Weather Cooking, - 18 How much pig do I need to serve X number of people?, - 8
How to inject, - 12 -

I
In The Box, - 15 Internal Meat Racks, - 29 -

J
Jim Beam Bourbon, - 45 -

L
La Caja China Cooking, - 44 La Caja China World, - 46 Liberian Vark Braai, - 47 Lump Charcoal, - 18 -

M
MEAT FIRE GOOD, - 50 Model #3 Pork Ribs, - 26 Multi-Zone Fires, - 24 -

O
On The Grill, - 22 Oversized Pigs, - 13 -

P
Peeking, - 16 Perks Pig Pickin Injection, - 37 Pig Roast Checklist, - 31 -

-5-

Pig Roast Theme Menus, - 36 Pork, - 45 Pork Broth without the Mess, - 22 pork shoulder, - 47 PREPARATION, - 8 Probe Thermometers, - 20 -

R
RESOURCES, - 52 Resting the Pig, - 21 Roast pork with hot pepper sauce, - 47 Rubber Mallet, - 7 -

S
Sheet-metal sawhorses, - 23 Siphon-Mate Transfer Pump, - 22 Smoking in La Caja China, - 19 Smoking/Cooking Chamber, - 30 T
Temp of the pig at start time, - 14 The Burnin Love BBQ Cookbook, - 50 The Burnin Love Blog Store, - 43 Tin Foil, - 15 Traditional Cuban Mojo, - 11 -

U
Using a Charcoal Chimney, - 14 -

W
Wingnuts, - 7 -

-6-

ASSEMBLY TIPS
Wingnuts - When assembling your new La Caja
China, just barely finger tighten the wingnuts
when inserting the bolts, this will make it much
easier to line up all of the remaining bolt holes.
Once ALL bolts are in place, begin to tighten the
wing nuts. For a completely flush, liquids-tight
seal, plan to go all the way around the box at
least three times, retightening, as previous bolts
can (and will) loosen up, as other bolts are
tightened and pressure points change.
This is a step that's often missed, and can help to
prevent "dripping" during the roasting process.
Rubber Mallet A rubber mallet is my
universal tool for assembling my La Caja
Chinas.
Its great for flattening tweaked metal, pounding
bolts through not-quite-drilled-out bolt holes,
and smacking corners to line up holes. In fact,
this and a socket set are you really need.

-7-

PREPARATION TIPS
Finding whole pigs - The two places Ive found
in my area are the Japanese grocery store (I use
one called Uwajimaya), and a restaurant supply
stores like Cash & Carry.
Also, check with your local grocery stores
butcher (Safeway, Albertsons, etc), as sometimes
they have access, or at least leads.
The restaurant supply is going to be, by far, your
best deal. If you cant find one in a local online
search, talk to the owners of a (non-chain)
restaurant or coffee shop in your area, they
should know.
How much pig do I need to serve X number
of people?
If live-weight equals 100 lbs, then your dressed
weight (72%) should equal around 72lbs. This
will provide an eatable yield of 50-52 lbs.
I base my calculations on dressed weight
because thats how I always buy my pigs.
Remember, this is a generalization; pigs (like
people) can carry widely different ratios of
muscle, bone, and fat.
So, now you know how much porktastic meat
youll end up with, buthow much are people
going to eat?
I plan 1/2lb per person, edible yield, for mixed
groups (Men, women, and children), or
potlucks with lots of side dishes.

-8-

So 52lbs eatable yield / .5 = 100 servings


(rounded down.) I know that sounds like a lot,
but its worked out almost exactly to that figure
with the last half-dozen pigs Ive roasted.
This is likely because for every mom who
nibbles on a 1/4lb slice of pig, theres a teen-age
boy scoffing down three times as much!
I plan 3/4lb per person, dressed weight, if its
mostly men, or if Im just serving pulled pork
sandwiches as the meal.
This equates to about 70 servings from a 52lb
pig. When in doubt, fall back on One pound
raw weight per person.
Youll never run out.
Brining & Injecting - As far as injections, its
all a matter of what you consider salty.
You certainly dont 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

-9-

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, Ill typically do a dry
marinade i.e: 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.
My favorite injection is Cuban Mojo (moe-hoe),
that I learned from my friend Roberto at La Caja
China.
Here it is:

- 10 -

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.
1 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.

- 11 -

That recipe is included in my cookbook, La


Caja China World.
To make this mojo into a marinade, add the
above recipe to 1 gallons of water, and 13 oz.
of table salt.
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
youve used 1/2 of the injection. The pork wont
hold all of the solution, so its 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. Heres the injector I use, and heres the one
I WANT, lol.

- 12 -

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.
Oversized Pigs La Caja China Model #1, and
La Caja China Semi Pro are designed to roast
pigs weighing up to 100 pounds. The Model #2
designed to roast pigs weighing up to 70-80
pounds. You can roast larger pigs (Ive done up
to 130 in the Semi Pro model) by removing the
head and lower portions of the legs. Keep in
mind, however, that youll be dealing with
thicker shoulders and hams than the cooking
instructions are intended for, and so will need to
cook the pig longer.
This is a situation where you MUST use a probe
thermometer, as you can not estimate the
cooking based on time or charcoal volume.
Temp of the pig at start time. This is the #1
issue Ive found with delayed cook times. You
want the pig to be as close to room temp as
youre comfortable with. The colder the pig, the
more heat it sucks out of the box, and the longer
it takes for the internal temp of the box to reach
its sweet spot. One of my first pigs still had
ice crystals in the meat when I loaded it in the
boxit took 12 hours to bring to 185.

- 13 -

Using a Charcoal Chimney


I like the Weber RapidFire
Charcoal Chimney Starter
Constructed
of
durable
aluminized steel, this extra-large
capacity starter is worth its
weight in gold.
This is the one item I use EVERY TIME that I
bbq or grill. A must for adding the correct
amount of coals to La Caja China, as it holds
exactly 5.5lbs of coals.
Start with as much coal as the instructions say!
Ive used 10lbs instead of 15, and the box just
wont come to cooking temp. Its really a very
scientific design, and the instructions have to be
followed pretty closely.

COOKING TIPS
In The Box
Tin Foil: foil can be your best friend, or it can
be a party-killer. Slow roasted meat has to hit a
sweet spot temperature-wise, where it plateaus
for anywhere from an hour or more, before it
jumps up the finished temperature youre
looking for.
That plateau is the window where the meat
nearest the bone is cooking, and the collagen
(hard fat) is chemically changing into the gelatin
(soft fat) that creates tender, succulent meat.

- 14 -

Foil reflects back a LOT of heat, and, if done too


soon, or too tightly, can keep the pig from
cooking through that plateau (or, at least, taking
a LOOOONG time to do so.) My new policy is
to add foil only after the first couple of hours,
and if I start to smell burning meat (dont panic,
it takes a while to do any real damage). Then,
just pull 2 long sheets of foil down the whole
length of the pig, laid on top without wrapping it
around the pig.
Also, make sure to cover ONLY the pig, and
leave as much gap as possible on the ends and
sides to allow the heat to circulate.
Leave it on there until you flip the pig.
Peeking. Lifting the lid from the box effectively
removes all the cooking heat, and it takes a
LONG time to build back up, as your pig is
cooling at the same time.
Use a remote probe thermometer, and (personal
opinion) a metal dust pan and scoop to remove
the ashes, instead of removing the lid.
NEVER lift the lid until your pig has reached
flipping tempwhich is your finished
temperature, depending on what meatconsistency youre shooting for.
Ambient temperature/wind chill. Keep the
Caja out of the wind as much as possible. Set up
on the lee side of the house or garage, or
throw together a couple of sheets of plywood (at
a safe distance) to block the wind. Cooking in

- 15 -

extremely cold weather is just going to take


longer, it cant be helped, so plan ahead for it.
Ash build-up. Ashes are an extremely effective
insulator. Even a 1/2 inch layer, between your
coals and the pan, can cut the amount of heat
going into the box drastically. La Caja Chinas
instructions call for removing ashes roughly
every three hours, by lifting the lid and
dumping.
This is a catch-22, in that you need to get rid of
the ashes, but you want to avoid removing the
ash pan, if at all possible.
I do this by lifting the coal grate and turning it
sideways across one end of the ash pan, then I
use a large metal dust pan (square edge) and
scoop out as much ash as possible.
Then I slide the coal grate to the other end, and
remove the rest of the ashes the same way.
Amount of charcoal used (especially at the
start). Roberto did a lot of research and testing
in coming up with the charcoal-to-cooktime
ratios, and they should be adhered to exactly.
La Caja China needs to hit a certain critical
mass temp-wise to get the cooking going. I
know that Roberto did dozens (if not hundreds)
of experiments to get the right combination of
initial # of coals, to added coals, to finished
cooking time. Its really a science!

- 16 -

For best results, use Kingsford brand charcoal,


not lump, or an off brand (is it really worth
risking that $200 pig, to save $10 on charcoal?)
and add the exact proportions listed on the box.
Ive cooked any number of perfect pigs, simply
following those instructions.
Hot Weather Cooking - If youre in the middle
of a prolonged hot spell, remember that grasses,
shrubs, and other combustibles are going to be
drier that usual and present a greater fire hazard.
Keep an even greater safety zone around your
La Caja China than normal, and be aware of any
fire restrictions in your area.
Cold Weather Cooking - Make sure you start
out with every ounce of the recommended coal
weight, to ensure that the box reaches its
honey spot for you.
Keeping the box protected from the wind is key,
I often start mine in the driveway, and once the
fire had gone out, roll it into my garage (keeping
the door open, and the box a safe distance from
any flammables, of course.)
Also, shave 10 minutes of each add coals
cycle; this has helped me in the past.
Lastly, if youre concerned about the outside
temps effecting cooking time, you MUST bring
the pig to room temp (or as close as possible)
before it goes in the box. IMO this is, by far, the

- 17 -

#1 reason for delayed cooking times, and


undercooked meat.
Lump Charcoal - I seldom use lump coal, as it
has an unpredictable burn time and heat output.
That said, Ive read reports of other who use it
with great success. Ive also seen folks use scrap
blocks of 2x4 lumber.
As long as youre not grilling over these, pretty
much anything combustible should work to heat
the box. Personally, Im going to stick with
Kingsford, as I know what to expect from it.
Smoking in La Caja China There are a
number of methods to add smoke to meats in La
Caja China.
My preferred method is to use pellets (oak and
pecan for beef, apple and mesquite for pork) in
an A-MAZE-N smoker box.
Literally, if you can open a bag of pellets, and
light a propane torchyou have mastered all of
the skills required to use the A-MAZE-N
smoker.

- 18 -

Make sure you remove one of the end (short)


rails to you get airflow, otherwise the trapped
smoke will liquefy and create a nasty goo.
This may increase cooking time very slightly,
but not more than maybe 15-20 minutes.
You can read my review, here:

Easy smoking in La Caja China AMAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER review.


Probe Thermometers
The biggest favor you can do yourself is to pick
up a probe thermometer. The ability to check
the meat temp, without opening the box, is
VITAL. I like to cook my pork shoulders to an
internal temp of 195 for pulling or shredding.
Then I wrap it in heavy foil, wrap THAT in a
towel, and let the whole think rest in a dry cooler
for at least an hour, before shredding.
Be sure to run the wire UNDER the metal rail
(easiest at the corners), so it doesnt come in
direct contact with the lid.

- 19 -

I often use a dual-probe thermometer as well,


and just stick the second probe through a raw
potato and set it (flat side down) on the rack next
to, but not touching, the meat.
This allows me to track the internal temperature
of the box, as well as that of the meat.
Next Level Brisket
In an inspired moment, I
sliced the onions into 1/2
inch rounds and covered the
bottom of a full steam pan
with them.
Next I added a half-dozen
whole
garlic
cloves
(peeled), and finally, placed
my smoked brisket on top
of it all to finish in the oven for four hours.
When the brisket was done, and rested, I moved
it to the cutting board and there, beneath that
beautiful piece of meat, was a layer of smoky,
beefy caramelized onions and roasted garlic,
soaking in a bath of brisket broth.
Resting the Pig
Once the pig has reached serving temp, and the
skin has been crisped to your liking, make sure
to rest in 30-45 minutes (even an hour would be
fine) outside the box, tented in foil. This allows
it to reabsorb the juices, insuring a tender juicy
pig.

- 20 -

Dont worry about the meat cooling too


muchafter an hour its still almost too hot to
handle bare handed.
Achieving Pulled Pork
I usually take the pig up to about 195f, as the
temp will continue to rise for some time, out of
the box. Plan on flipping a 70-80lb pig at
between 4.5 5 hours, then add 30 minutes to
crisp the skin and remove to table, and lastly 45
minutes to rest before carving. About 6:15 total.
Remember to add about 30 minutes from the
time you start the coals to the time you spread
them. Spreading the coals is when your actual
cook time starts.

Pork Broth without the Mess


Save that 3/4 of a gallon of liquid gold pig broth
that gathers in the bottom pan, to flavor beans,
pork gravy, and our infamous Pulled Pork Dirty
Rice.
To capture those invaluable
juices, without making a
huge mess, use a SiphonMate Transfer Pump. Just
drop the intake hose into the
(cooled) pan, and the output
hose into a stock pot.
A half-dozen pumps later the pan is empty, and
easy to lift out without a single drip!

- 21 -

COOKING TIPS
On The Grill
Okay, so roasting a whole pig or lamb is pretty
awesome, especially when using La Caja China
makes it so easy to do, but sometimes you just
want to throw something on the grill, right?
So what do you do when you just want to throw
something on for 50-100 hungry teenagers?
Sure, theres plenty of room on La Caja Chinas
grills to cook for a crowd, but it can be a little
hard to get the whole rig in the back of the minivan; and while dragging a trailer along is worth
it for the whole hog, it feels like overkill for a
case of hot dogs, right?
One thing I love about La Caja China is its
amazing diversity. I can bake, roast, braise,
broil, smoke, and grilland do a lot of it at
once!
Recently, I was in my local Home-Depot (I love
Home Depot) and saw some all sheet-metal
sawhorses. It was a beautiful moment
I realized that these sawhorses, coupled with the
fire pan, ash rack, and top grills (you know, all
the light-weight parts) from my Caja Semi-Pro,
could be used together to create a massive, easyto-load, go-anywhere, grill!

- 22 -

Whether youre grilling burgers and dogs for


your favorite little-league team, a dozen
chickens for a church picnic, or a massive haul
of clams and oysters on your favorite
beachthis set-up makes
it quick and easy to cook
for a crowd.
As much as I love to
think inside the box,
sometimes its okay to
leave the box at home and
grill on the go!
Multi-Zone Fires - A two-zone fire is created
when your lit coals are spread over one-half to
two-thirds of the grilling area.

- 23 -

This is ideal for most types of grilling, especially


those foods that need to be seared on the outside,
and cooked more slowly on the inside (steaks,
spatchcocked chickens, pork tenderloins, etc.)
As mentioned, one benefit of a two-zone fire,
when cooking for a crowd, is that you have a
warming area for foods that are done, or
nearly done, to stay warm
while another batch is
cooking.
I prefer raking coals to
the right and left, and
leaving my cool zone in
the middle. I think this
provides more even heat,
especially for larger cuts
of meat like roasts and
pork shoulders.
Also, if you are cooking meat inside La Caja
China (pictured) at the same time, this allows a
more even cooking temperature within the box.
Also, a two-zone fire is preferable over a threezone, for the smaller surface area of La Cajita
China (Box #3), or grills with smaller surface
areas.

- 24 -

For meats, fish or vegetables that tend to dry out


easily, I like to put a pan of hot water, apple
juice, or beer, over the cool area so the food
finishes its cooking time over moist heat.

Three-Zone
Your best heat control is achieved with a three
zone fire, consisting of a hot zone, medium
zone, and cool zone.
Similar to the pictures, on the charcoal grid, rake
half the coals into a double layer over one third
of the fire box, and the rest into a single layer in
the center.
Leave the remaining third of the grid without
coals.
Use the hot zone for searing, the medium zone
for finishing, and the cool zone for keeping food
warm until serving.
Single Zone
Spread the coals in an even layer across the
charcoal grid. This is the best method to use
when roasting meats inside La Caja China, as it
provides an even heat to the interior of the box.
For grilling, you would use a single-zone fire for
steaks, chicken breasts, or any food that requires
a short, hot cooking time. Only use a single-zone
fire if all of the meat will finish and be served at
the same time.

- 25 -

Even when grilling the types of meat mentioned


above, I still like to keep a small cool zone at
one end of the grill so I can move meat away
from flare-ups, melt cheese onto my burgers,
etc.
Model #3 Pork Ribs The Model #3 or 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.
FYIYou 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.

- 26 -

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.
Direct vs. Indirect Grilling - What is the
difference between grilling over direct and
indirect heat? Well, its pretty much what it
sounds like:
Direct grilling = the food is cooked directly
over an even heat source.
Most experts will tell
you that type of grilling
really works best for
foods that take less than
20 minutes to cook,
such as steaks, chops,
boneless chicken meats,
burgers and hot dogs.
Personally, except for maybe the burgers and
dogs, I think that direct grilling is nearly always
the Step 1 in a 2-Step process, used to seal the
meat and make those beautiful charred grill
marks.
Typically, I would then move the meat to
indirect heat to finish cooking. For example, a
2-inch-thick steak, or a well brined chicken
breast, can be seared or browned over direct heat
for a short period of time, and then moved to the
indirect heat area to continue cooking internally
without burning.

- 27 -

Indirect grilling = foods are not cooked directly


over the heat. With charcoal grilling, the hot
coals are moved or banked to opposite sides of
the grill, this is known as a 2-Zone Fire (heres a
post on how to set up a 2-Zone Fire).
Often a drip pan with
water, beer, or juice is
placed on the bare grate,
below the meat.
When grilling with gas,
the burners are all preheated, and then one or
more are turned off and
the meat is placed
directly over the off
burners. I do with this
chunks of meat as large as pork shoulders (aka
Boston Butt) to sear the outside and seal in all
the yummy juices.
Take a look at my Butts on the Grill recipe
(move you butt get it?) for more.
Again, I believe that indirect heat is best used
for finishing foods that need to be cooked for a
longer time like roasts, whole poultry, ribs and
other large cuts of meat.
Except for fish and shellfish, if a piece of meat is
too thin to grill over direct heat first, it probably
shouldnt be cooked on the grill at all.
Lastly, never take a piece of meat off the grill
when it looks done. By then, its too late.

- 28 -

The time to plate your entre is a couple of


minutes before its done. The external heat will
continue to cook the insides to meaty perfection.
This is especially true of thin meats like
hamburger patties.

CLEAN UP & MAINTAINENCE


TIPS
Grill Grates flip them over and set them
directly onto the remaining coals after cooking.
While youre enjoying dinner, any residual gunk
will be carbonized and easy to scrub off with a
wire brush (if youre a gadget geek, like me,
check this out!)
Internal Meat Racks These dont really get
all that messy, but for easiest clean up, spray
your grates with a Pam-style spray just before
coming in contact with the meat.
Also, the sooner you scrub them down after
cooking, the easier it will be.
Smoking/Cooking Chamber Line with heavy
foil to ease cleaning. I scrub the interior of the
box with hot soapy water after every use, then
spray with a 50/50 bleach water solution and
allow to air dry before replacing the lid. If you
have a semi-pro, plug the drain hole and pour
several gallons of VERY hot water into the
chamber, scrub and drain.

- 29 -

Another gallon of hot water to clean out the


drain pipe afterward is a good idea, as well.
Green Clean If youre not a fan of chemical
cleaning products, there are a number of green
cleaners on the market, or you can go old school
and pour two cups of vinegar into the spray
bottle; add two cups of water, replace the lid on
the bottle and shake it vigorously to mix.
Spray the water/vinegar solution on the racks of
the grill and the area above and underneath them
to saturation.
Let the solution set for 10 minutes, and them
scrub the racks with your wire brush and rinse
with clear water. Wipe all appropriate surfaces
down with a paper towel and high-heat cooking
oil after cleaning.

- 30 -

Appendix A

La Caja China Pig Roast Checklist


PREP
Whole Pig Worksheet (By temp , By time, or
Skinless.)
Models 1&2), or Drip container for
under spigot (Semi -pro)
er
-Hooks" that came with the box, or bailing
wire (and cutters)

in case the pelvic


bone or sternum hasn't been cut).

COOKING
(if needed)
nt read thermometer (back up)

-60lbs Charcoal

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-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER
to cover the faster-cooking
spots, serving platter, etc.)
optional, but I prefer not removing
the lid if I don't have to.)
if necessary)
SERVING
fillet knife or boning knife

the area of the box

out 4 inches larger than

ble rubber gloves

with ladles or squeeze bottles)


CLEAN-UP
-gallon Ziplocs

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degreaser (it's really the best


stuff I've found)
boiling water (for cleaning)

MISC

ppetizers for the grill


ooler with snacks/water/drinks
La Caja China Cooking & La Caja
China World!

- 33 -

Appendix B

Things to remember for a


successful pig roast
1. Bring the pig as close to room temp as
possible, before you start cooking.
Most pigs come flash-frozen to 10 below zero,
and it can take 2-3 days in a cool room to even
thaw them.
Putting a cold or partially frozen pig in the box
to cook can double or triple your cook time and
amount of coal, believe me...I know, lol.
2. Do not cover the pig, even loosely, with foil
until the pig is nearly done (if you smell burning
meat, you can take a one-time pass on #3) then,
tent only the trouble spots in foil, loosely.
The reflective nature of the foil will seriously
block the heat penetration and, again, prolong
cooking time.
3. Do not peek! Once cooking has started do not
lift the lid for any reason, except per the
instructions.
I even bought a huge metal ash scoop its
available on my Amazon store, or your local
Home Depot - to keep from ever lifting the lid
except to flip the pig.
Lifting the lid even once or twice can really
screw up your cook time.
4. Besides leftover storage, those 2-gallon zips
are great for pulling over your welding gloves so

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they don't get all goopy when the tongs just


aren't cutting it.
5. Be prepared with a place to dump hot ashes. I
tend to forget this about 50% of the time, until
I'm standing with a scoop full of hot ashes, lol.
6. The other thing I tend to forget about in
advance is where I'm going to put 80lbs of
smokin' hot pig when I pull it out of the box.
Have a sturdy table ready, topped with the
plywood, which you've wrapped in plastic
(garbage bags work great.)
7. Since you're adding coals every 60 minutes, a
one-hour kitchen timer comes in handy.
8. Assign a photographer/videographer if you
want pictures, you'll forget to do it yourself, and
you'll be too busy anyway.
9. Get a pellet smoker box and use it, it will
really enhance the flavor of the finished meat.
Lemme know if you have any questions!
Perry@burninloveblog.com

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Appendix C

Pig Roast Theme Menus


Sure, with La Caja China we know that we can
roast up an awesome whole pig that will knock
the socks off our guests, but, alas, man cannot
live by pig alone (can he?)you gotta have side
dishes!
Now I like themesevery year on my
daughters birthday, we have a luau. Every
November, we like to host a good Old Fashioned
Southern Thanksgivingyou get the idea.
So, here are three fun theme dinners you can
host, with your La Caja China roast pig as the
centerpiece

The Pitmasters Pig Pickin


The pig pickin is a
significant part of the
culture of the South; ideal
for church gatherings,
community
gatherings
(dinner on the grounds)
or family reunions, and
they can be held yearround, thanks in part to
the regions mild winters.
Pig pickins are also popular with devoted
tailgaters at football games across the south.
When the cooking is complete, the meat should
ideally be tender to the point of falling off of the
bone. The meat is then either chopped or pulled

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into traditional Carolina-style pork barbecue, or


it is picked off the hog itself by the guests.
It is from the latter that the gathering gains its
name.
This is old fashioned pit barbeque at its best!
Offer your guests a North Carolina whole pig
pickin hot from you La Caja China, with a
variety of traditional sauces from mild to spicy.
Side dish options could include a hush-puppies,
tangy coleslaw, slow smoked beans, old
fashioned macaroni and & cheese, and
cornbread or potato rolls.
Party ideas:
Toss a few hay bales in the backyard (or around
the garage) for seating, add some apple crates
for side stables, a couple of pails of shell-on
roasted peanuts, bust out the mason jars for your
beverage of choice (sweet tea, beer, and soft
drinks are often served), and put on your favorite
hoe-down music! Yee-Haw!
Set up a couple of horseshoe pits out back and
host a tournament.
Heres one you wont find in the cookbooks:
Perks Pig Pickin Injection
4 cups apple cider
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup salt-based pork rub (use the same rub as
on your pig)
1 cup brown sugar

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Bring to simmer to dissolved salts & sugars.


Cool to room temp.
Makes enough brine for 1-85lb pig

Theme #2 Big Island Luau

Okay, so were talking about ways to use your


La Caja China as the centerpiece for theme
parties.
First, we looked at hosting a good ol southern
pig pickinthis time, lets head westway,
way westto the Hawaiian Islands!
The traditional feast in Hawaii was once referred
to as the aha aina and was used to celebrate
many events including coming of age and
visitors.
The modern term Luau may have originated
from the great coed feasts of the Hawaiian King
Kamehameha II.
Among people from Hawaii, the concepts of
luau and party are often blended, resulting

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in graduation luaus, wedding luaus, and birthday


luaus.
Give your friends and family the experience of a
lifetime, with a Luau theyll never forget,
featuring a whole Kalua Pig, roasted in your La
Caja China!
Side dishes can include Macaroni Salad, Lomi
salmon, Steamed Rice, Hawaiian Fruit Salad,
Peri Peri or Shoyu Chicken Wings, sweet rolls,
and much more!
Its Brok Da Mout, Brah!
Party ideas:
Traditional Luaus are eaten on the ground, with
food place on Ti Leaves that cover a type of
woven mat called the Lauhala mats. Guests at
Luaus receive Leis as they arrive on the scene.
The Lei is a necklace or headdress of woven
flowers or shells and is given as a display of
affection. Also when dressing up for the Luau
women can place a flower behind their right or
left ear. Placing a flower over the left ear
indicates that one is taken or in a relationship
and placing a flower over the right ear indicates
that one is available.
Enforce an aloha attire dress code, from aloha
shirts and shorts to muumuus and sarongs.
Rent tiki statues, torches and other tiki dcor.
Contemporary Hawaiian music (such as Israel
Kamakawiwoole), surf rock, or anything
featuring the ukulele and/or the lap steel guitar
are all great ways to go.

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Photo station areas with props like surfboards,


sunglasses, grass skirts, coconut bras, etc. are
always a crowd-pleaser and a great way to
remember (and show off) how much fun your
party was. If you are more into crafts, weaving
palm frond fans and making leis are relatively
simple projects and can be a fun activity for
smaller groups or as a separate station area in a
large party.
Hula hooping, Aloha volleyball (played with a
beach ball and much simpler rules), and the
limbo are standard tropical party games,
appropriate for almost any demographic.
You can find many of
these recipes online, or for
including
step-by-step
instructions, pick up a
copy of our latest
cookbook:
La Caja
China World: Roasting
Box Recipes from Around
the Globe.

Also, check out the


Luau Party Shop for
TONS of island themed stuff to add just the
right bling to you party!

- 40 -

Theme #3 - A Night in Havana


Okay, so weve talked about hosting a good ol
southern pig pickin, and a Hawaiian Luau, now
lets head off to the motherland of La Caja
China cookingCuba!
A Night in Havana

Pit-roasted pig is the traditional center piece of a


Cuban Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve supper.
Whole young pigs that have been marinating
overnight in tangy mojo, a garlic and sour
orange marinade flavored with cumin and
oregano.
Use your La Caja China to roast a pig that your
whole party will be talking about for years to
come!
Side dishes include Moros y Cristianos (Cuban
black beans and rice), Pan Medianoche (sweet
bread rolls), Pltanos Dulce (sweet plantains
with rum and brown sugar.)

- 41 -

No Cuban-themed dinner party would be


complete without mojitos!
You can find many of these recipes online, or
pick up a copy of our latest cookbook La Caja
China World: Roasting Box Recipes from
Around the Globe, which includes step-by-step
instructions for Cuban Pierna Criolla a Lo Caja
China and whole roast pig La Caja China style!.
Party ideas:
Cuba and Miami are tropical regions. If you live
in a tropical area, invite your guests to an
outdoor Cuban-themed dinner party.
Tropical lushness or the impression of it lends
an authentic atmosphere to your event. If you
live in a cooler climate, visit a local hobby shop
for tropical greenery.
Do not confuse Mexican theme decorations with
Cuban. No sombreros or serapes! Find maracas,
bongo drums and Cuban straw hats.
Host a dominoes tournament, and, if considered
acceptable in your circle, light up some fine
cigars after dinner, with small cups of Cubanstyle coffee.
Find lots of great stuff for your party at one of
my favorite shops, My Cuban Store.

- 42 -

Appendix D

The Burnin Love BBQ Store


Heres a great place to find many of the cool
gear and gadgets Ive talked about in this
eBook, as well as tons of other great barbecue
and grilling hardware. This is an Amazon.com
store, so you know your information is secure!

(Click image to visit our store)

- 43 -

La Caja China Cooking:


The Secret to Perfect Roasting.
La Caja China, the Cuban
roasting box, has become
the toast of food writers
and celebrity gourmets,
including Food Networks
THROWDOWN
Chef,
Bobby Flay.
In La Caja China
Cooking Pit-master Perry
Perkins takes you on a
gastronomic
tour
of
America, from Miamis 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!
Heres one

- 44 -

Bourbon Pork Tenderloin


The tenderloin refers to the Psoas major muscle along the central
spine portion, which hangs between the shoulder blade and hip
socket. This is the tenderest part of the animal, because these
muscles are not used for locomotion.

2 C white sugar
C Jim Beam Bourbon
2 C water
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 lbs pork tenderloin
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbs salt
In medium bowl, combine sugar, Jim Beam
Bourbon, water, salt and vanilla. Mix well. Place
tenderloins in a large zip bag and pour of
marinade over the top. Refrigerate 24 hours.
Season tenderloins with garlic and pepper. Place in
disposable baking dish. Spoon half of sugar
mixture over tenderloins, and tent loosely with
foil. Place pan(s) in La Caja China.
Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for model #1, or 20 lbs.
for model #2, or Semi Pro Box, and light up.
Once lit, (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal
evenly over the charcoal grid. Roast for 20 - 30
minutes. Remove foil and spoon remaining sugar
mixture over the tenderloins. Roast 5 more
minutes or until pork is golden brown. Cut into
1/4-inch slices and serve with sauce from the pan.
If youre using La Caja China #3, follow the same recipe,
but only use 5-8 lbs of coals.

- 45 -

La Caja China World

Roasting Box Recipes from Around the Globe


by Perry P. Perkins
La Caja China, the Cuban
roasting box, has become
the toast of food writers
and celebrity gourmets,
like Food Network 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

- 46 -

Beef Short Ribs & Scallion Salad in Korea


Christmas Goose in Sweden
If youre looking to roast, grill, bake, braise,
smoke, or barbecue; whether youre cooking for
a crowd, or creating memories with your family
look no further than La Caja China World!
Heres on of my favorites:

Liberian Vark Braai

(roast pork with hot pepper sauce)


Adopted by English-speaking South Africans, braai can be
regarded as another word for barbecue. Roast pork, in many
parts of Africa, is sold on the streets and in market places as an
everyday meal. It is almost always available every evening in
someones outdoor shop, usually served with a nice, fiery hot
sauce.

6 lbs pork shoulder


1 cup red palm oil
1 Tbs salt (optional to taste)
1 Tbs seasoned salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbs cayenne pepper powder
Rub pork shoulder with seasoned salt, black
pepper, and salt. Place pork in a large sealable bag
and pour in 1 cup of palm oil. Turn bag to coat
pork well.
Refrigerate overnight, then let stand about 45
minutes for pork to come to room temp.

- 47 -

Instructions for Model #3:


Place shoulder on La Caja China rack, fatty side
down, tent with foil, and place tray with meat
inside the box. Cover box with the ash pan, add 5
lbs. of charcoal and light up. Once lit (20-25
minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the tray.
Cooking time starts now (write down time).
After 1 hour (1st hour) open the box flip the meat
over, connect the wired thermometer probe in the
center of the meat, close the box and add 4 lbs. of
charcoal.
Continue to add 4 lbs. of charcoal every hour
until you reach 180- 185 on the meat
thermometer.
Remove pork from La Caja China, reserving pan
drippings.
Allow pork to rest 30 minutes, the slick 1-inch
thick, and grill directly over grill, brushing with
reserved drippings (adding salt to taste), until char
marks appear. Enjoy with roast corn, plantain, or
cassava, and hot pepper sauce (recipe follows).

Hot Pepper Sauce


1 large sweet onion
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 Habanero pepper, minced
2 fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs soy sauce

- 48 -

tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 beef bullion cube
1 Tbs rice wine
2 Tbs Hoisin Sauce
Puree your onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic,
ginger, cup water and seasonings in a blender.
Add bullion, and simmer over low heat for 15-20
minutes.
Gradually fold in cornstarch. Stir as you add, so it
doesnt form lumps. Add rice wine, Hoisin sauce,
and soy sauce.
Stir well and simmer for 5 more minutes.

- 49 -

MEAT FIRE GOOD


The Burnin Love BBQ Cookbook
MEAT FIRE GOOD
A collection of mouthwatering barbeque and
grilling recipes by the
boys at Burnin Love
BBQ.
Shortly
after
man
discovered
fire,
he
discovered that if you
threw a chunk of meat on
the coals, let it blacken,
and then dug it out of the ashesit tasted
freakin awesome!
Since that evolutionary milestone, man has taken
barbeque (or grilling, or smoking, or whatever
you want to call it,) to the four corners of the
world, and adapted it to the local ingredients he
found there.
If it walked, swam, slithered, or flew, early man
found a way to cook it over fireand God bless
him for it!
MEAT FIRE GOOD takes you on a
gastronomic tour of the globe, from classic
Cuban and Indonesian dishes, to traditional
Texas and Carolina BBQ, to the crisp, fresh
flavors of the Pacific Northwest.
Burnin Love BBQs pitmasters, Perry Perkins,
Terry Ramsey, and Christopher Renner, include

- 50 -

their most popular grill-top recipes, slowsmoked pit favorites, amazing side dishes; and
dozens of step-by-step crowd-pleasers..
Favorites like:
~ True Texas Brisket
~ Pacific Northwest Salmon
~ Southern Roast Turkey
~ Carolina Pork Ribs
~ Memphis Whole Pickin Pig
Fire up the coals, pick your favorite recipes, and
dazzle your guests with these simple, yet mouthwatering dishes!

- 51 -

RESOURCES
Burnin Love BBQ Blog
Burnin Love BBQs Facebook Page
Burnin Love BBQ on Twitter
The Burnin Love BBQ Store
La Caja China Website
La Caja China Blog
La Caja China on FaceBook
La Caja China on Twitter
La Caja Chinas YouTube Page
A-MAZE-N-PELLET-SMOKER
Cuban Food Market.com

- 52 -

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
Pacific Northwest BBQ team, his favorite
cooking equipment is La Caja China.
All of Perrys books can be found at
www.perryperkinsbooks.com

- 53 -

ALSO BY PERRY P. PERKINS


Elk Hunters Don't Cry: An
Outdoor Collection
A collection of the humorous, poignant,
and sometimes absurd adventures of a
Pacific Northwest sportsman.
I also thought "Elk Hunter's Don't Cry" but I found
out that is not always true. I didn't even make it
through the first chapter before tears were running
down my face from laughter. This book is so real you
can see yourself or one of your buddies in ever story!
--Daryl's Hunting Reviews
~

Twitter Marketing to Build Your


Readership
If you want to build a massive
readership overnight, with very little
effortplease dont buy this book.
If youre willing to invest some time
to build a targeted readership, a following of people
who are interested specifically in what you have to
say, and passively sell to folks who come looking for
your books (instead of having them waved in their
faces) then, by all means, keep reading.

- 54 -

Just Past Oysterville


Shoalwater Book One
A child abandoned. A life destroyed.
Two hearts, unable to forgive...
After a drunk driver leaves young
Cassie Belanger an orphan, a cryptic letter, found
among her mother's belongings sends her on a
desperate journey in hopes of finding the man who
fathered her but chose not to be her father.
Driven by her anger, her bitterness and her desire to
confront the man who abandoned her, Cassie meets
Jack, a crusty old bachelor headed in the same
direction.
In his face Cassie begins to see what can happen to a
heart that refuses to forgive. Will she forgive her
father, or turn away from him and remain an orphan?
Who is Jack, and how is his own shadowed past
linked to her own?
Will Cassie Belanger find the power that lies in
forgiveness and the miracle of God's unwavering
mercy? The answers lie... Just Past Oysterville.

- 55 -

Shoalwater Voices
Shoalwater Book Two
"I saw a dream which made me afraid,
and the thoughts on my bed and the
visions of my head troubled me."
- Daniel 4:5
Four years have passed and Cassie Belanger finds
herself plagued with nightmares, ghostly voices from
the past, and a compulsion to return to the sleepy
fishing town of Oysterville, Washington.
There, she meets two strangers who have followed
the same mysterious obsession to visit the Long
Beach peninsula. Cassie and her new friends must
race against time to solve the mysteries of cryptic
letters, bizarre and terrifying dreams, and a shadowy
figure bent on finding a long forgotten treasure
before they do, and more than willing to murder
those who get in his way.
Danger, mystery, love, and fortune all await Cassie as
she finds her way back to Oysterville once more.
~

The Shoalwater Cookbook:


Incredible edibles from the
Shoalwater Books
Mouthwatering recipes and excerpts
from the novels "Just Past Oysterville"
and "Shoalwater Voices."
four from left field: a short story
collection
I dreamed the first chapters of a
thousand not-so-great American novels,
between the blue sky and the green
grass of left field, waiting those

- 56 -

interminable little-league innings.


And, while I was never carried off the field on my
teammate's shoulders, and never trotted the bases for
a homerun, I came away with something infinitely
more valuable. The dreams and visions I put to paper
now may not be the same as the Technicolor
odysseys that filled my younger eyes, but the seed
from which these words come once fell to ground,
rooted and grew tall in left field.
From psychotic chefs to world killing comets, from
an asexual future society, to man-eating grizzlies,
FOUR FROM LEFT FIELD is a collection of my
more bizarre flights of fancy, none of which has
anything to do with baseball.
~

All titles are available in paperback, Nook, and


Kindle formats.

- 57 -

- 58 -