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La Caja China Pig Roast - First Timer Advice Needed

So I've been enlisted to roast a pig for Easter! We'll be doing it down in Key Largo / Tavernier at my sister's house.

Maybe about 15 - 20 people, so we don't need anything giant.

I have no equipment whatsoever. The La Caja China process sounds great, but as I said, I don't have one.

Any ideas for alternate plans (Having someone ELSE make it is NOT the option I want, as the whole idea is to do this ourselves).

I am pretty sure I can get the pig from the Sunshine Cuban Market right around MM 90, I will be verifying that today.

We can't dig a hole in the ground as it is p-rock which would require dynamite or stronger.

I wonder if someone down there rents La Caja boxes.

There's no shortage of advice on the web of course... this is a detailed step by step for example...

http://www.steamykitchen.com/17350-pi...

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  1. Haven't used them myself, but looks like these folks will rent a caja china:

    http://www.cachepartyrental.net/cooki...

    Alternatively, I've never done it myself but I've seen home-made cinder-block caja china type setups, and this looks like how it's done:

    http://globetrotterdiaries.com/recipe...

    1. I have had the pleasure of helping to carve (and consume) a La Caja China roasted pig on several occasions and wholeheartedly recommend the method if you can get your hands on one.

      Otherwise the Three Guys from Miami share a few pointers here...http://cuban-christmas.com/pigroast.html

      1. The caja china is exactly what you see there- plywood and sheet metal. the metal lid rests pretty snugly on top.

        Plan B - as Frod linked below, you can always build one up with cbs block, rocks, sand, etc, and either some type of lid or drawer to access the pig. These are actually a lot more prevalent.

        Alternate Plan B (BB or C?): smoke it.

        As far as caja china rules, apply your basic bbq know-how, with the understanding that the heat source is outside. Make sure you remove the ash that accumulates or it won't transmit sufficient heat. I would also make sure you incorporate marinade/seasoning to the finished product. The pig needs to absorb a lot of flavor. Lastly, when it's really sizzling, open it up and spray the skin with some vinegar or salt-water to make chicharrones. We usually pass these around while the pig finishes cooking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Icantread

          Thanks to all for the feedback. Sadly, this event has been cancelled... instead I'm going to Savannah.

          (Side note: How can Sav be soooo close to Charleston and yet have such a massive difference in number of great restaurants?)

          In any event, all this info will be useful for the next time, and I am sure there will be one...

          1. It looks like a longer version of the china box Hella imports rents for lamb!

            1. Well... I hit the jackpot...

              And found a La Caja box for sale at a Garage Sale I happened to be running past...

              Very good shape, and I jumped on the asking price of... $40!

              So now I should try it out for Memorial Day weekend.

              I need a small suckling pig in Palm Beach County.

              Ideas?

              2 Replies
              1. re: CFByrne

                There are a couple listed here...I would give Farriss Farms or Seabreeze a call.

                http://localfoodsouthflorida.org/dair...

                1. re: CFByrne

                  That is AWESOME! I bought mine new and I feel like it is worth. From a garage salw is fantastic. Have you fired it up yet? I have the #2 roasting box, currently planning a summer party and I am going to roast a 70/80lb pig for it.

                2. La Caja fans may want to show up at this event... (see you there)...

                  JULY 30 BATTLE OF LA CAJA CHINAS At The Dutch Miami

                  Guest Chefs: Aaron Brooks of EDGE Steak & Bar
                  joined by Jeremiah Bullfrog of gastroPod

                  Chefs Hanlon, Brooks & Bullfrog will prepare a surprise feast in their Caja Chinas

                  http://www.thechowfather.com/2014/06/...