Pig Roast Perfection
In this episode of Wild Game Kitchen, I marinate a whole young hog in orange juice, vinegar and garlic before roasting it for several hours in a caja china, a wooden box that cooks the pig with downward convective heat. Pull the pork and serve it with a chopped sweet-and-sour Southern-style coleslaw and charred pineapple salsa—a spicy, acidic and sweet condiment that marries well with the unctuous meat.
Dry the hog in a fridge, unwrapped for at 48 hours.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, garlic, 1/4 cup salt, and cider vinegar. Inject the hog with the orange-garlic marinade.
Smear hog inside and out with the remaining 1/2 cup salt and cup herbs de Provence. Let sit another 12 hours if you can. Let the hog come to room temp (4-6 hours) before cooking.
Place in Caja China and follow these simple Caja China rules of thumb: Typically, it’s about 75 minutes for every 10 pounds of cleaned whole hog weight. You will need about 50 pounds of charcoal for roasting a 35-50 pound hog in a Caja China.
Step # 1- Secure the pig
Tie the pig in between the racks using the 4 S-Hooks. Place the racks with the pig inside the box and on top of the grease tray.
Close the Caja China with the ash pan and charcoal grid.
Step # 2 – Preparing the charcoal
Use charcoal that lights fast, burns even, and lasts a long time – that’s why I like briquettes. Never use instant charcoal.
Place 15 pounds of charcoal in two piles of equal amount on each end for easy lighting of the coal. Don’t use more than the recommended amount of charcoal. It delays the cooking time because it creates more ashes that reduces the amount of charcoal heat. Remember the heat is going down not up.
Light the charcoal using a chimney starter oy by adding lighting fluid. Make sure your charcoal is well lit before spreading it (20 minutes). Spread evenly across the top.
Step # 3 – Roasting the Pig
Your cooking time starts after you spread the charcoal evenly over the grid.
Every hour after that, you will add 6-7 pounds of charcoal on top of the existing charcoal. Do not pre-light the charcoal before adding it to the lit charcoal, this slows down the heat transfer.
Step # 4 Flipping the Pig over to Crispy the Skin (The Best Part)
Now we will open the Caja China for the first time…remember the weight to total cooking time above! Place the charcoal tray and grid on top of the long handles. This is easily done with 2 people once you PROPERLY AND SAFELY dispose of the ashes.
Turn the hog over and score the skin using a knife, by making a cross inside of the squares of the meat racks. Then, replace the ash pan and charcoal grid with more new charcoal on top of the box and continue the roasting process for crispy skin. You can check the skin in 20-30 minutes by slightly opening the box at one of the corners to peek. Do this continuously every ten minutes until the skin is crispy.
Pull the hog out, let it rest. Remove meat and crispy skin as seen in my video.