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!
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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).
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.
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.
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.