How to BBQ a Pig in La Caja China (Video)

How to roast a whole pig in La Caja China (Video)

I know this is a little off topic from our meal planning stuff, but one of the OTHER things that Chefs Chris, Terry, and myself do, is work as private chefs for parties, often cooking up summer BBQs.

For those, we often roast or BBQ whole pigs in an ingenious device known as a La Caja China. This is a video we made this week, for our fellow La Caja China users.

Enjoy, and if you’re inspired to roast your own pigs (or lambs, briskets, turkeys, ribs…you name it), let us know and we can give you lots more tips and tricks!

-Chef Perry

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BBQ the Pig
1 – 45 lb pig
2 cups coarse sea salt
1 cup coarse ground pepper
1 cup smoked paprika
40 lbs Kingsford charcoal

Remove the pig from the cooler and let it warm up for several hours to room temperature. This is important for even cooking. Rinse the pig, inside and out, pat dry.

Split the pelvic bone and spine (if necessary) to allow the pig to lay flat, skin down. Place pig on the bottom half of the rack.

Inject the pig every few inches (see recipe, below) in the hams, shoulders, belly, and tenderloins. (Do this the night before, if possible)

Sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika.

Place the top rack over the pig, and tie using the 4 S-Hooks. Place to lg. disposable pans in the bottom of the box (to catch drippings), and place the pig, in the rack, into the box.

Cover box with the ash pan and charcoal grid. Add 10 lbs. of charcoal for Model #1 Box or 12-14lbs. for Model #2, or Semi Pro Box, and light up.  Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid.

If your La Caja China includes the off-set smoke box, move 5-6 of the lit coals to the rack in the smoker, and add 1 cup of oak chips or pellets. Add fresh coals and wood about every 30 minutes to maintain a constant smoke.

Cooking time starts right now.

After 1 hour, add 8 lbs. of charcoal. Continue to add 8 lbs. of charcoal every hour until you reach 195 on the meat thermometer. (Figure 1 hour of roasting time for every 10lbs of pig, for Southern Style BBQ Pig)

After 2 hours, shake the coals and remove excess ash from the lid, before adding charcoal. Repeat this step every two hours.

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

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Once you reach 195, (5-5 ½ hours) lift the charcoal grid shake it well to remove the ashes, now place it on top of the long handles.

Remove the ash pan from the box and dispose of the ashes.

Flip the pig over to crisp the skin.

Score the skin using a knife, this helps to remove the fat and crisp the skin. I just cut a shallow X in each of square of the rack. You want to cut through the skin, but not into the meat.

Cover the box again with the ash pan and the charcoal grid; do not add more charcoal at this time.

After 30 minutes, take a peek, if Ms. Piggy isn’t quite as gold and crispy as you wanted, close the lid another ten.  You will continue doing this every 10 minutes until the skin is crispy to your liking.

Once the pig is to your liking, set the lid back on at an angle, so the pig stays warm but isn’t cooking,  and let it rest for 30-60 minutes…it will still be too hot to touch bare-handed.

For easier carving, break the whole pig down into hams, shoulders, and belly meat. Then move to your cutting area and chop the meat coarsely, sprinkling generously with pan drippings, and additional salt (to taste).

Allow to rest 10-20 minutes, then serve with beans and Southern-style Mac Salad (recipes below).


Chef Perry

PS – If you love bbq (and you know you do) be sure to check out our OTHER page: Burnin’ Love BBQ!


Whole Pig Injection Marinade
1/2 cup apple juice
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer, mixing until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool before injecting.

To use this with a pork shoulder, reduce all ingredients to 1/4 of the listed amounts.

Post 9b

SimplySmartDinnerPlans Baked Beans (Serves 8)
1 – 15oz  can baked beans
1 – 15oz can black beans
1 – 15oz can pork & beans
1 – 15oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 lb bacon ends
1/2 stick sweet butter
1 lg sweet onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 yellow/orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 Anaheim pepper (green), seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
Salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste

Coarsely chop bacon ends and cook until done, remove to paper towels to drain.

Brown 1/2 of the butter and saute onions until translucent (about 5 minutes), lower heat, add garlic, and cook 2 more minutes, but don’t let the garlic brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Brown remaining butter and saute peppers 5 minutes, sprinkling with salt & pepper, to taste.

Drain beans completely and combine in a large pan. Add cooked onions, bacon, and peppers.

Bake, covered at 350 for 1 hour, remove cover and bake an addition 20 minutes.

Post 9

SimplySmartDinnerPlans Macaroni Salad (serves 8-10)
8 ounces Dry macaroni
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 – 3/4 C Mayo (If you like more dressing, add the full amount)
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped onion
2-4 ounce jar of pimentos
1/3 C sweet pickle relish
2 tsp. celery seed
salt and pepper to taste (I start with 1/2 tsp of each)
Paprika (to top)

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain in a colander and run cold water over it to cool.

Mix all other ingredients together in medium mixing bowl. Add macaroni and mix well. Add more mayo if needed.


Stir before serving.

28 thoughts on “How to BBQ a Pig in La Caja China (Video)

    • Mike, to the best of my knowledge they’re due to be released sometime this summer (mine was a prototype). If you’re handier than me, the offset smoke unit is a standard retail model and can be had from Home Depot for around $60. – Chef Perry

  1. Pingback: Cooking small amounts in a big La Caja China | Burnin' Love BBQ

  2. Chef Perry it’s me again. I feel like I’m stalking you lol. Regarding the pork butts I’m going to do on the la caja china, I would like to inject them with your recipe. The butts are 10#s each and I am going to rub them with the “burnin’ love” mixture. Think I should reduce the amount of salt in the marinade or go with your suggestion of 1/4 recipe per shoulder? BTW I mixed the rub tonight and the bowl is sitting next to me…can’t keep my fingers out of it! Also, I find it hard to believe that the “dirty little secret sauce” is supposed to get better in two days because it’s darn good now. I made the family taste it after it cooled and even my hard to impress teenage son said “wow, that’s really good!”

    • Clem, no worries…lol…happy to help!

      Personally, I would leave the salt level where it’s at. A pork shoulder sucks up an amazing amount of salt and, even with the rub, I often end up adding a little more to the final dish.

      Glad you like the rub, and the sauce! Next time you grill up some chicken, try this recipe. I often make these over the top of my Caja while the pig is cooking, as a nice little appetizer, lol:

      5lbs chicken thighs
      Salt & Pepper
      2 cups Sweet Baby Rays (Original or Sweet & Spicy)
      1 cup Sweet Chili Sauce (in the Asian food section)
      1 cup Coca Cola

      Rub chicken generously with salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 375F to an internal temp of 160F.

      Combine sauce ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk until smooth.

      Dip chicken thighs in sauce (one at a time) and grill over direct heat for a minute or two per side, repeat dipping and grilling until sauce is well glazed and you get just a bit of char at the edges.


      Chef Perry

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    • Hey man, watch out for falling houses! :)

      That model was a prototype last year, so I don’t believe it’s on the market yet. Lemme check with Roberto at La Caja China, and I’ll see what the ETA is for release.


      -Chef Perry

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  11. Chef Perry, I love the detailed instructions…..I just bought a La China and will be doing a 100lb pig next week….any idea how many hours this will need to cook……just looking for a ballpark time so I know when to start cooking it…..

    • Thanks Ray! The cook time really depends on how you want the finished product. The LCC will give you a finished pig in 4 hours, in what I call “Cuban style” which is a firmer, “sliceable” meat. As a good Southern boy, I tend to prefer more of a “pickin'” pig, That’s more like pulled pork. I would typically cook a 100lb pig for 6 hours (after 3-4 hours you’ll want to check and see if it needs some loose foil. Then I flip and cook for another hour to crisp the skin. (7 hours total)

      Let me know if you have any other questions, and be sure to download my free e-guidebook of LCC roasting tips, here.

      Congrats on your new magic box!

      Chef Perry

      • I’m confused. In your instructions it says to figure about 1 hour per 10lbs of meat but here you say 7 hours for a 100lbs pig for the pig pickin style…

        I have a pig roast planned for mid October and I was going to start at 7am to eat by 3pm (80lb pig dressed).
        Should I start it a little later then?

  12. If you do a total of 7 hours do you adjust the charcoal amount? If so what amount and at what intervals. I have a #2 doinga 100lb this saturday. Planning on doing a pinapple injection for luau.

  13. Hey Chef Perry,
    We are looking forward to trying this out on Saturday! Do you serve this with BBQ sauce? If so, do you have a good recipe to share?
    Thanks for the detailed video!!! Makes the process so much less intimidating!

    • Hey Lisa,

      I have two favorites, depending on my mood. My “Dirty Little Senret” sauce is a thicker, sweeterm sauce:

      I also like a traditional Caroline thin sauce:

      1 qt. apple cider vinegar
      2 tsp. fine sea salt
      2 tsp. coarse black pepper
      2 tsp.. fine white sugar
      1 tsp. red chili flakes

      Combine all, and allow to rest at least 24 hours. shaking the bottle occasionally.


      Chef Perry

      • Thank you! I think I’ll make both so people have options. I always appreciate your prompt replies (and wonderful advice)!

  14. Pingback: Cooking small amounts in a big La Caja China | La Caja China Cooking

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  17. Chef Perry, I have done several smaller pigs (30-35#) using caja china method with adobo etc. This time I’m cooking a 75# using your method. My question is this; your instructions state 1 hour per 10 lb of pig.
    Should I figure on 7.5 hours of cooking time?

  18. I’ll be doing this in a couple weeks. I’m glad I heard about the southern style pig roast because I was planning on doing it according to the la caja china instructions and I really wanna go for the pulled pork method

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