la caja china

Discussion in 'Pork' started by cherrywood, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. wondering how to add  smoke while cooking with a la caja china I do not think I can put a ans in side because of lake of air
  2. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    They sell a smoke generator attachment on their web site.
  3. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I bet a amnts would work in one. Although with the meat resting at the bottom of the box you'd prob not get much smoke flavor anyway.

    I'm gonna look up their website to see what they have...
  4. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The la caja china's dont have any air flow. So what ever type of smoke generator you use, the smoke will need to be pumped into the box. For what it would cost to make a generator or the modifications to another type, you are at the same or close price to the one they sell. The one they sell is about $50 and they have a cartridge for the wood they sell in 3 packs. I am sure you could reload somehow with a better quality wood dust or pellet if desired.
  5. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    Why mess with the beautiful porky perfection that comes from that magical box? The way the pig comes out all crackly and the color it's a thing to behold and I don't think it could be made any better.
  6. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I agree that the pig that comes out of a caja china is good stuff!!!! It's also somewhat idiot proof: follow the directions on the side of the box!

    My last job we would roast up a pig once or twice a month. My current job doesn't have one so I have to make do with a cookshack...
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  7. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    I want one badly but think my girl might try to stuff me in it and put it out with the trash :biggrin: but seriously I'm thinking of making my own just have to weight the price difference of making versus just buying.
  8. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    I have a La Caja China and use it often.

    If you look up Perry Perkin's blog called "Burnin Love", he uses the AMZNPS that TJohnson sells. He wrote a pretty detailed blog about using it and it works.

    And don't think these things are air tight, they are not. The AMZNPS works just fine in them.
  9. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    The one I used was definitely not air tight! I still would recommend a amnts because if I remember correctly it only takes four or so hours for the pig to be done in it.
  10. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    I agree. I think Perry did his review prior to Todd rolling out the tube smokers. I could be wrong, but he used the tray in his blog.

    And yes, 4 - 4.5 hrs depending on wind & temps.
  11. I'm going to revive and old post, as I just purchased a La Caja China. I've been doing a ton of research...reading old posts, watching videos, etc. I'm doing a hog roast for the Air National Guard members that I work with. They are a great group of individual's that keep America safe. 

    In all my readings, I've yet to see anything regarding the optimum internal temp of the box. The closest I've found was a huge temp swing of 295-375. Even the product's site doesn't allude to this. 

    Does anybody know this? They say that you should follow the instructions, but they don't take into account the weather, the wind or the size of the oinker going into the box. 

    Also, does anyone have experience using the smoke pistol that the site sells? I bought one and I'm going to do a trial run with butts and ribs, but I wanted to see what other's have experienced. How much smoke flavor does it impart? I imagine not as much as a smoker, but even a little bit would be great. 

    Thanks in advance for any answers!


  12. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I used to use one at my last job. The size of the pig dictates how much charcoal you are going to use. I've never done anything but whole hogs in them and never used with smoke gun.
  13. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yes their instructions dont cover temps. I had installed a dial thermometer to one and it read between 300-350. I was cooking a 30 pound pig and it did fine. I added charcoal as needed to keep the temps around that zone. When it was time I flipped the pig and reloaded the charcoal and raised the temps to 375 to get the desired color and crispy skin I wanted.

    If you can use a remote thermometer or a dial thermometer to help monitor the temps. Do not open to look. It will only make the cook take way longer.
  14. JarJar,

    Thanks for the reply. I bought the "inside" thermometer accessory, so that should help.

  15. JarJarChef, et al.,

    I have a couple of more questions now that I think about it.

    What temp did you bring the pig up to before pulling it out of the La Caja China? Did you bring it up to "pulling temp" ~195F? If so, did it pull easily?

    My friends and I are having a bit of a debate on how a ~70 pig could "pull" after it cooks for only 4.5 - 5 hours.

    The reason I ask is because I'm doing this for the Air National Guard members that my company has a contract with as a luncheon. I need to have the pig ready to eat around noon. I know I can have it done a couple of hours early and it'll keep it's heat. I would like to be "pullable" though. Should I shoot for a 275F internal box temp and cook it a little longer?


  16. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I would plan on extra time As you mentioned. When you flip it the purpose is to crisp the skin.

    On Their web site they have several videos on the prep and process. I would study them and the adjust as needed.

    It is crazy to think it only takes 5-6hrs to roast the whole pig, but it does go quick. It is very important to not open it during the cook. It greatly effects the timing.

    I would start early as you mentioned and then an hour before service, flip it and crisp the skin. I would make sure you have gotten the hams and shoulders to 195ish. You should not have an issue pulling at that temp.

    My theory on why it cooks so fast is the radiant heat combined with the moisture basically braises the product. Then the flipping you crisp the skin. If you cooked it the other way the sking would get burned. Another name for the boxes is Cajun Microwave. Hope this helps
  17. So, I did a trial run on the La Caja China yesterday. I cooked three 10lb butts. They came out fantastic and we learned a lot on how to use it. We got some lessons learned before the actual oinker roast this month. I tried using the smoker pistol. It is a complicated contraption to use and I'm pretty sure the one I bought was broken...we basically gave up on it. Luckily, I had injected the butts with mojo and applied a liberal dose of adobo to the outside. I'll use the a-maze-n pellet smoker next time.

    We went through 60 pounds of charcoal, which I thought was a bit excessive, but we were having trouble maintaining a decent temp inside the box. It was a bit chilly out and we had some wind, so I attribute the temp drops to those factors. I ordered a wind screen for the actual hog roast. We had internal temps between 300-350 the first couple of hours, then we struggled for about two hours to get the box above 250. Finally we did get the temp back up for the last couple of hours. We pulled the pork from the box at meat temp of 190F. I would've like to have it go to 195-200, but we had a hungry crowd waiting for lunch. With that being said, the pork didn't pull as nicely as I would've liked, but the bark and the flavor was fantastic. We flipped the butts at 180-ish, if I remember correctly. We wanted the fat caps on the other side to render a bit, as they were quite thick. 

    Well, that's it in a nutshell, if I think of anything else, I'll post it.

  18. Nice Job,     pretty neat    

  19. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    After a couple of hours it might help to lift the charcoal screen and toss the ashes... 60 lbs sound like a lot of charcoal for three butts!
  20. Yeah, we scooped the ash out two or maybe three times. 



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