Author Archives: Perry P Perkins

How to get super crispy pork shoulders

Here’s a tip for getting awesome pork shoulders/legs with super crispy skin and a buttery center, in either your smoker, bbq, or oven.

Once you’ve smoked or roasted your rubbed and brined shoulder to perfection (10-12 hours at 235°F in your oven or smoker), remove the pork from heat and tent with foil.

Let your shoulder rest at room temperature for at and hour, untouched.

Crank up your oven to 500°F and allow to preheat. Return the shoulder to the oven and roast until skin is blistered and puffed, rotating every 5 minutes, about 20 minutes total. Remove it from the oven, re-tent with foil and allow the meat to rest an additional 15 minutes.

Serve by chopping in the kitchen, or just bring it to the table and let guests pick meat and crispy skin themselves, serve with a variety of dipping sauces, and some warm potato rolls or cornbread on the side




Filed under Technique

Salt Crusted Prime Rib

Salt Crusted Prime Rib

From La Caja China Cooking, 2010

For my friend Christina…thanks for the awesome candy!

The traditional preparation for a standing rib roast is to rub the outside of the roast with salt and seasonings and slow-roast with dry heat. In the United States, it is common for barbecue purists to apply smoke to the uncooked rib roast at low heat for 2-3 hours before dry roasting.

In the United Kingdom, Yorkshire pudding is frequently served as a side dish with prime rib

½ C coarsely ground black pepper
2/3 C kosher salt
2 head of garlic, peeled
1/4 C fresh rosemary
2 Tbs smoked paprika powder
½ C olive oil
1 – 5-6-pound prime rib roasts (6 bones).

In a food processor, combine the salt, pepper, garlic cloves, rosemary and paprika, and process until fine. Add the olive oil and pulse to form a paste. Pat the rib roast dry with a paper towel or napkin.

Place the prime rib roasts on a cutting board, bone-side up and rub each with 1 tablespoon of the salt paste.

Pack the salt paste all over the fatty surface of both roasts, pressing to help it adhere. Let the prime ribs stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat or touching bone.

(See below for oven roasting instructions)

Place disposable pans beneath the Caja China rack to catch the drippings, tent ribs loosely with foil, fire up your smoke box (I use oak), and close the roasting box.

Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for model #1 or 20 lbs. for model #2 or Semi-Pro Box, divided into two piles, and light up.

At 30 minutes, spread coals over surface. Cooking time starts now.

At 1 hour (cooking time), lift the lid and quickly baste the roasts, and re-tent with foil. Dump excess ashes, close La Caja China and add another 10lbs of unlit coals.

After 2 hours (cooking time), – baste again, remove the foil, and close the box to brown the top of the roasts.

Cook until rib roasts reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees F. Then remove the foil and brown 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Remove the roasts from La Caja China, cover with aluminum foil, transfer the roasts to a large carving board, and let the meat rest for 30 minutes

Remember, the rib roast will continue to cook as it sets. The temperature will rise from 125 degrees F to 130-135 degree internal temperature (medium rare) at 15 to 20 minutes.

If allowed to rest as long as an hour, the temperature will rise even higher.

Carefully lift the salt crust off the meat and transfer to a bowl. Brush away any excess salt.

To remove the roast in one piece while keeping the rib rack intact, run a long sharp carving knife along the bones, using them as your guide.

Carve the prime rib roast 1-inch thick and serve, passing some of the crumbled salt crust as a condiment.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled with very little additional roasting time.

For Oven Roasting:

*Add 2 Tbs mesquite liquid smoke to the wet rub.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F.

Place rubbed and rested roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour.

Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours.

About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast.

Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.

Here’s a great video for this recipe, as well…Thank you Auntie Paula!


Filed under In The Box, Misc Recipes

Sesame Chicken Bruschetta

This one’s for my buddy Jeff Swan, who loves his sesame seeds! This is one of my top 5 all-time favorite appetizers!

Sesame Chicken Bruschetta
1 pound ground chicken, or chicken breasts*
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, finely choppe
1/4 cup freshly toasted sesame seeds
1 baguette, sliced 1/2 in on bias
2-3 cups oil

Heat 2 inchs of oil in skillet to medium high.

Combine ground chicken with garlic, sesame oil, lime zest, onion, and ginger, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon one heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture onto each slice of bread, spead to coat bread evenly, 1/4 inch thick. Dip meat side into sesame seeds to coat completely.

Place bruschetta, coated side down, in hot oil until sesame seeds are uniformly golden brown. Flip to brown the bottoms. Remove to paper towells to drain.

Serve hot with ginger-chili sauce.

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Filed under Appetizers & Sides

National Roast Suckling Pig Day!

Roast Suckling Pig has its very own national holiday?

How freakin’ awesome is that?

Today, December 18th, we celebrate the swine! (Okay, we do that a lot around here, but today it’s official…)

The main ingredient involves a four to six week old piglet, ranging between nine to twenty pounds.. For those first few weeks, the pig is feeds solely on its mother’s milk, which produces an extremely tender, sweet pork.

People have been roasting pigs since time immemorial. They were enjoyed in in ancient Egypt, and in Roman times were served covered in pastry or even stuffed with live doves as a centerpiece.

Roast suckling pig is a famous item in Chinese culture, eaten primarily for the crisp texture of its skin, and as a symbol of virginity is often included in wedding banquets.

Roast suckling pig was immortalized in Spanish book Don Quixote (awesome!) and, known as cochinollo asado, remains a key dish in Castilian cuisine.

So, there are a lot of ways to roast a suckling pig (and they’re all good), including Mexican style (Mexican cinnamon, cumin, and guajillo chiles), Asian (rice vinegar, five-spice powder, miso, and a brushing of soy sauce) and, of course, the Castilian method, above (onion, bay, & white wine).

Several of these recipes are included in my La Caja China Cookbooks, but just in case you don’t own them (and I forgive you), here’s my favorite. A sucking is actually small enough to be roasted, with any of these styles, in the average oven, but, as I’m going to be giving you the directions for roasting your suckling in La Caja China, let’s borrow a page from my friend, Roberto Guerra, and go Cuban!

Cuban-style pig means “Mojo”, a sweet, savory, tangy broth of awesomness made up of oranges, limes, cumin, and other spices, and used to drench the piggie before, during, and after the roasting process.

As Roberto makes the best mojo I’ve ever tasted, we’ll use his recipe…

La Caja China Mojo Criollo
6 oz. orange juice
2 oz. lemon juice
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon bay leaves
1 garlic bulb
1 teaspoon cumin
3 teaspoon salt
4 oz. of water

Peel and mash the garlic cloves. Mix all the ingredients and let it sit for a minimum of one hour. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Caja China Brine
1 cup of the Mojo Criollo recipe
3 cups Water
1/2 cup Table Salt

Blend all ingredients and let it sit for a minimum of one hour, strain and inject. After injecting the pig with the Caja China Brine, apply a salt rub all over the pig, using Kosher Salt or Sea Salt. Marinating the pig overnight, and allow it to come to room temperature, before you begin roasting.

Lightly oil La Caja China rack place your piglet on it, belly up, with its legs close the side of the body. Tent loosely with foil (the skin of a suckiling is much thinner than that of a larger pig, and burns easier.)

Add 16 lbs. of charcoal for Model #1 Box or 18lbs. for Model #2, or Semi Pro Box, and light up. Once lit (20-25 minutes) spread the charcoal evenly over the charcoal grid. Cooking time starts right now.

After 1 hour (1st hour), scoop away excess ashes, add 9 lbs. of charcoal (note time).

Continue to scoop away excess ashes, and add 9 lbs. of charcoal every hour until you reach 195 F on the meat thermometer. (The pig is actually “done” when the temperature in the thickest part of the ham registers 160 degrees, but for a “pulled pork” consistency, which I prefer, shoot for 195F-200F.)

Once you reach 195 F, lift the charcoal grid shake it well to remove the ashes, now place it on top of the long handles. Do not place on the grass or floor it will damage them.

Remove the ash pan from the box and dispose of the ashes.

Flip the piglet over to crispy the skin. This is easily done using the patented rack System, just grab the end of the rack, lift, and slide as you pull upward, using the other hand grab the top end of the other rack and slide it down.

Score the skin using a knife, this helps to remove the fat and crisp the skin. Cover the box again with the ash pan and the charcoal grid; do not add more charcoal at this time.

After 10 minutes, take a peak by lifting the charcoal pan by one end only. You will continue doing this every 5 minutes until the skin is crispy to your liking.

Remove sucking from Caja and allow to rest 20 minutes.

Serve with white rice, and black beans, and maybe even some of my favorite side, tostones!

Buen provecho!

(…and Happy Roast Suckling Pig Day!)


Filed under In The Box

chatchow interview with Roberto Guerra of La Caja China

Fantastic interview with Roberto Guerra, creator of La Caja China roasting boxes! Pizza stones…are you freakin’ kidding me? CAN’T WAIT!

Roberto Guerra / La Caja China from Giovanny Gutierrez on Vimeo.

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Filed under Hardware, In The Box, Technique

Garlic Chicken Bacon Bake

This was one of those, “What do I have in the fridge?” nights. I was hankerin’ for 40-Clove Garlic Chicken, but didn’t have a whole roaster. I did, however, have some boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, and here’s what happened…

(Oh, and Vic informed me that this must be added to the “monthly menu plan”.)

Garlic Chicken Bacon Bake
3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried basil
Scant 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 bonesless/skinless chicken breast halves (2lb total)
6 slices of thick sliced bacon
Sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in upper third.

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in oregano, red-pepper flakes, oil,
1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cover a 9×9 baking dish with foil, and spray with pam. Place a layer of chicken breast in the bottom and spread 1/2 teaspoon  garlic mixture over each. Add a second layer of chicken, and top with remaining garlic mixture. Lay 3 slices of bacon over  the top, and then three more slices perpendicular to the first.

Cover with foil and bake until just cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, switch the oven to broil, and brown 3-5  minutes until bacon begins to crisp.

NOTE: I was in a hurry and didn’t brine these chicken breasts for 2-3 hours in advance, but it could have only make the dish  better. If brining, omit the salt from the rest of the recipe.

Serve with Simple Curry Rice.

Simple Curry Rice
1 Cup Jasmine Rice
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to just boiling, stir, cover and move to a burner set on low. Allow to cook 15 -20 minutes. Stir, and serve.

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Filed under Misc Recipes

My best brined turkey recipe yet

Even my Mother-In-Law said this was the best turkey she’d ever had. High praise, indeed!

I gotta say, if given a choice I will never, NEVER serve another turkey (or chicken) that has not been brined. The improvement in moistness, flavor, and general “cook-ability” makes it a no-brainer.

The aromatics make a huge difference as well. My wife had made it clear that the testing is over, THIS is our Thanksgiving turkey recipe from now on, and no modifications are allowed, lol.

Aromatic Brined Turkey

* 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:
* 1 cup kosher salt
* 1 cup of honey
* 1 quart turkey stock
* 1 quart boiling water
* 2 tablespoon black pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
* 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
* 1 red apple, sliced
* 2 med pears, sliced
* 1 onion, sliced
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 cup water
* 4 sprigs rosemary
* 6 leaves sage
* Canola oil

2 to 3 days before roasting:

  • Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
  • Combine the stock, water, salt, honey, peppercorns, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.
  • Remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

  • Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
  • Place the bird on roasting rack, breast up, inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Combine the apple, pears, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
  • Roast the turkey, breast up, on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes, watching closely as it browns. Flip and insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F.
  • A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
  • Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil for 20-30 minutes before carving.


Filed under In The Box, Misc Recipes, Technique

La Caja China SP-150S 100 lbs Roaster

Hey all,

If you’ve been struggling to decide between the cost-savings of the La Caja China Model #2, and the sheer awesomeness  of the La Caja China Semi-Pro…the guy at LCC have come up with the perfect compromise, just for you…

SP-150S 100 lbs Roaster

This new model has all the same distinct capabilities as the SP-300 but with less weight (125lbs vs. 165lbs) and less money ($599.00 vs. $1,250.00) diamond-cut metal exterior, steel angle legs with powder coating paint and bolt mounted handles.

Check it out!


Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation gourmand, he focuses his love of cooking on bar-b-que, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine. Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, everything from Writer’s Digest and Guideposts, to American Hunter and Bassmaster Magazine.

His writing includes the cookbooks, La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, and MEAT FIRE GOOD,  the novels Just Past Oysterville, and Shoalwater Voices, and his new humor collection, Elk Hunters Don’t Cry.

Perry’s books are available on Amazon at 



Filed under Hardware, Press Releases

La Caja China – Questions before I buy

Out Burnin’ Love BBQ friend Josh is considering adding a La Caja China to his cooking arsenal, and posed some excellent questions. I’m re-posting them, along with my answers, for anyone else who’s thinking of picking up a magic box.

Josh: I’ve been debating the merits of La Caja China for a couple months now (my wife is sick of me talking about it!!). I think the only way I can justify the purchase (to my wife) is if I can use it to cook ribs, briskets, pork butts, and maybe even mass quantities of burgers. As such, I have the following questions that I hope you’ll be willing to help me with.

Perry: Hey Josh, I hear you…I think my wife’s final word on the subject was along the lines of, “Just buy the freakin’ thing already!” LOL

Josh: Have you used the smoke pistol that the La Caja China folks sell on their site? I’ve read blogs where folks use a pan of wood chips inside the unit, but would like your opinion. If you’ve used the smoke pistol, will you please comment on it’s effectiveness? If you’ve found another way to smoke meat with La Caja China, I’d love to hear about it.

Perry: Yes, I’ve used the smoke pistol, as well as the pan method, and a couple of others. You can see my full review on my favorite smokin’ hardware in this post: A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker Review.

Josh: I see you mentioned that Cuban pork is done tender, but firm. How do ribs turn out? I’m really looking for ‘fall off the bone’ ribs. I see that many people use La Caja China to cook ribs, but I haven’t seen any pictures/videos that show that the ribs are really tender.

Perry: Yup, I do low and slow ribs, both beef and pork in my La Caja China, and have several great recipes in my La Caja China cookbooks. For beef ribs, see this recipe: Beef Ribs in LaCajaChina

Josh: How do pork butts turn out? Right now, I use a combination of a Smokenator (a clever addition to a Weber Kettle grill) and my oven for a total of 16 hours (at 220 degrees) and the butts literally fall apart.

They are amazing. I’m confident that the pork butts that come out of La Caja China are great, but I’d really like to know if it will be possible to get the type of results I get from the smoker/oven.

Perry: I know exactly the method you’re referring to, as I did it the same way for years. Butts and shoulders are my #1 use for my boxes, and I’ve cooked many, many dozens of them, both for myself and for customers of our bbq catering biz. I can smoke 6-8 shoulders at a time in the larger boxes.

Want to take the hassle out of meal planning? For super-simple, healthy and delicious dinner recipes, check out our FREE weekly meal plans and shopping lists!

I inject and rub, then cook to 190, then wrap and rest. Save any juices, and mix them back into the shredded meat with a touch of cider vinegar. Shoulders come out perfect. Search this site for “shoulders”, there are a bunch here, and more in the cookbooks.

Josh: I’m look at the #2 unit. I know you have the Pro, but are you able to comment on the durability of the wooden units? Are they sturdy? Structurally sound? Etc? any info you have on this would be helpful.

Perry: I have the Semi-Pro, two of the model #2 units, and a model #3. My first box was a model #2. It’s seven years old, and we’ve done dozens of pigs, 25-30 shoulders, a couple of dozen turkeys, 20-25 briskets, a couple of lambs, and a whole bunch of chickens in it, and it’s still going strong. I need to replace the firepan, but that’s because of user error (I backed over it with my truck and tweaked it, lol.)

If you’re in a low-humidity area, I recommend keeping it covered and it’s fine to store outside. I keep mind the the garage, as I live in Oregon.

Hope this helps! I love answering questions about La Caja China, and barbeque in general, so keep firin’ away! If you haven’t done so, make sure to download my free ebook, the La Caja China Guidebook, here.

And, of course, can still roast an amazing pig in there, as well! :) See my step-by-step video, here!

Thanks again!


Perry P. Perkins
“La Caja China Cooking”
“La Caja China World”
Burnin’ Love BBQ


Filed under Hardware

“What’s your favorite recipe?” Contest

Hey all,

At the TeamPerk clubhouse, November 1st is the official start of the Christmas season…so I thought we’d launch the festivities, and give ya’all a head-start on your Christmas shopping…let’s have a little contest!

  • Grand Prize: $25.00 Amazon gift card for the Burnin’ Love BBQ Store (or anywhere else on, PLUS your choice of any two of our cookbooks*
  • 1st Prize: Winner’s choice of any two of our cookbooks
  • Runner up: Winner’s choice of any one of our cookbooks

To win…

1. “Like” the Burnin’ Love Blog Facebook Page (and maybe say “Hi” while you’re there!).

2. Go to the Burnin’ Love BBQ Blog, subscribe (click Follow Blog via Email, in the right-hand column)*, and peruse the recipes.

3. Post the name of your favorite BLB recipe on the contest page.

4. Share this post on your Facebook page.

Winner’s names will be drawn and announced on Friday, November 25th!

*Eligible cookbooks include MEAT FIRE GOOD, La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, & The Shoalwater Cookbook.

Cookbooks may be shipped to the winner, or to any US address as a gift. Addresses outside the US may include a shipping fee.

**If you’ve already subscribed to both the blog and the FB page, skip steps 1 & 2.

Good Luck!


Filed under Contests