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Cinder Block or Caja China


Joined Jan 5, 2020
Hoping you all can help me with this....Ever since I read Sam Jones whole hog book I’ve been dying to do my own(attached photos).
I’ve been smoking meats for a long time but have never done my own whole hog. I have a few different smokers but nothing large enough.

SO I’ve been weighing the Pros and Cons of building my own cinder block pit OR buying a Caja China and an AMAZN smoker insert...

Cinder Block Hog Pit...
Price... only about $100 in cinder blocks plus corrugated metal lid and an expanded metal grate. Also it looks awesome. Holds heat and will provide me with the finished product I’m looking for.
Time to build. Space(I live in town and it’s going to take up a good chunk of my yard and ruin my grass). Time it takes to heat and cook. Constant attention needed to regulate heat and coals.

Caja China...
Easy to use. Cooking time. Portability. Easy to clean.
Price, $450 for the 100lb stainless cooker(not bad, but more expensive than building my own).
Not truly a smoker... it’s made for roasting pigs not really smoking them. I know they have pellet smoker additions and the AMAZN smoker inserts but I don’t know if they’ll give me the slow smoker flavor I’m looking for...

I don’t know guys. I’m leaning towards buying a Caja China to preserve my yard. PLEASE give me your opinions. I’m sure I missed a lot of pros and cons for both. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jan 7, 2017
So when you build a CB pit you have to make sure it sits on a good, level foundation if it is going to be left standing after you cook your hog..

If you're not planning on using it for other than your single hog cook, then you can take it down and just store the block and put the pit back up again if you want to use it in the future.

chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
Caja China all the way! You can put it away, In the Rain if need be and the rack makes for easy flipping. Don't know if you got kids, but their stuff and play takes up room and a Pool may be in your future. As far as Low and Slow, just use Less burning Charcoal to get any temp you want. Besides, three kids and 30 years of big parties at my house and only made TWO pigs! And I rented the Cooker. You may or may not be using that Block Monstrosity very often...JJ


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jun 13, 2017
Following as I am intrigued by the Caja China. Almost bought used ones twice now. I’ve heard the build quality is not that great. Would love to hear feedback.

Fueling Around

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 10, 2018
The cinder block design is to splay out the hog NC style. While celebrated as a cooking method, I prefer other ways.

I've cooked whole hog many times. The hog on a spit or triangle with indirect heat.
After numerous cooks of whole hog, I decided the better method is to separate the carcass into the separate cooking zones to avoid overcooking the areas we now consider the choice pieces.
Head and shoulder take a very long time, ribs and loin the least, and rump less than head.

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