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We Cook a Pig

Updated on June 30, 2013
A Roasted Shoat
A Roasted Shoat | Source

Once in a Blue Moon

Every once in a while you learn something that changes the way you do things. Being from the South and living in the South, I have had the opportunity to eat and cook many pigs. For most of my adult life I dreaded it. Sure, it was fun the first two times, and the results were great. However the 8, 9, 10 or more hours of cooking, drinking, was a bit much.

While visiting a friend, I came across an article about grills. They talked about the newest thing, the Big Green Egg and the other stainless steel cadillacs of the grillin' world. What caught my eye was not really a grill. It was a plywood box lined with aluminum. The charcoal rested above the pig and cooked it downwards from the top.

I was intrigued to say the least. We had a trip scheduled to the Miami area a few months away. I started to squirrel away $20 every week from my paycheck until I had enough money for one of these magic boxes.

When we made it to Miami and concluded our business there we rode up near the airport to find the small factory that made these boxes. I walked in and paid in cash. It was then that I became the owner of a La Caja China.

Get La Caja China Supplies

Your pig will come in a box.

Box o' Pig
Box o' Pig | Source
Always make sure your are getting a Pig
Always make sure your are getting a Pig | Source

My Favorite Method

Through my several years of cooking pigs in my La Caja China, I have bought pigs in different places. Honestly, the best place is the closest grocery store to my house. The store is Publix and it was originally founded in Winterhaven, Florida. Publix has stores in the Cuban communities where pig roasts accompany many holidays or birthdays. Just check with the meat manager and see if they can get a pig for you.

The pig will likely arrive in some type of box. I ask Publix to have the pig thawed when I pick it up but you can thaw it at home if you like.

Once thawed you need to crack the ribs at the spine so that the pig will lay flat, Spatchcocked Hog. I use a hammer and chisel and it is done in a couple of minutes--pop pop pop, it is easy.

Next comes the injection. Make or buy a Mojo marinade with citrus juices and garlic and salt. Strain it well and inject as much as you want. Let the pig rest chilled for about 12-24 hours.

This Is The Critical Step
A few hours before you begin to cook the pig warm him up to room temperature. Otherwise you will have great looking pig that is undercooked. Now is when you pin the pig between the two racks with the stainless steel 's' hooks. Cover the pig with towel to keep flies away. There is no way to rush the warming process. So plan carefully. The pig is ready to cook at 65°F.

Box the pig belly up and light the charcoal. The instructions on the La Caja China will instruct you how much charcoal to use based on pig weight. After 20-25 minutes spread the gray charcoal. Start you clock now! After one hour add more charcoal. Do it again in another hour, and then once again. After three hours since you started the clock, the flip the pig and cut the skin on its back. This will crisp the skin. Return to the box for 30 minutes. Check him and he may be done. Remove from box and let him rest and cool for another half an hour. Take a few pictures, alert your guests and let them eat!

Before | Source
After | Source

This method is easy and delicious. You will instantly become a fan of roast pig and seek it out every chance that you get. We prefer 30-45 pound pigs. There is less fat. The skin is less thick. The meat is insanely delicious. Enjoy.

Even Martha Loves it!


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