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La Caja China – Gracie’s Kalua Pig

Okay, so after having such a great time in Hawaii on our babymoon, we decided that for Gracie’s first birthday, we would follow the Island tradition and have a luau.


My brand-new La Caja China was just sitting here, begging to be fired up, and whispering “Kalua Pig…Kalua Pig…” in my ear…


So…I picked up four pork shoulders, dug out Sam Choy’s Sampler Cookbook  (which I picked up in Maui) to put together the ultimate luau…and away we went!


BTW, Sam Choy is THE chef of the Islands…and I strongly recommend his cookbooks, they are among the best in my library.  His Veal Osso Buco is amazing!


The pictures… 

Four shoulders, ready for roasting
The maiden voyage…see how pretty the grates are? Sigh.
Cool flames, but I should have read the instructions closer: TWO PILES!
Got a little dark (I blame it on the single-pile start) but sill turned out awesome!

Here’s my recipe… (For each shoulder)


Gracie’s Sweet Kalua Pig

5-6lb pork shoulder (I prefer the “Boston-butt” cut)

1 quart Perk’s Mojo (see below)

½ cup Stubbs Mesquite Liquid Smoke

½ cup sea-salt

2 Tbs garlic powder

2 Tbs red pepper flakes

15 oz canned sliced peaches in heavy syrup

16 oz apricot & pineapple preserves

12 oz peach preserves

1 can pineapple rings, in juice

4 oz macadamia nuts, crushed


Inject the pork with mojo and marinate overnight. Then, allow pork to come to room temp just before roasting.


Brush pork liberally with liquid smoke, then rub all over with sea-salt, garlic, and 1 Tbs of red pepper flakes.


Place shoulder(s) in La Caja China (fat down in roasting pan) and roast to an internal temp of 190d.


Remove pan from La Caja China, and allow pork to cool/rest 30 minutes. Then chop (or pull) pork, discarding bones, and return to pan. Brush heavily with glaze, sprinkle with macadamia nuts, and return to La Caja China. Check every five minutes until browned to your liking. Then decorate the top with pineapple rings and peach slices in a “sunburst” pattern. (Dang – I wish I’d gotten pictures!)


Serve with Hawaiian rice, Choy’s Traditional Lomi Lomi salad, and/or a tropical fruit salad.



Combine liquid smoke, canned peaches (with syrup), apricot/pineapple preserves, peach preserves, and remaining red pepper flakes. Simmer one hour over medium-low heat. Cool to room temp.


Perk’s Mojo


½ cup minced garlic (the wet stuff.)

¼ cup fine sea salt

1/8 cup black pepper, fine ground

2 Tbs dried Oregano

2 quarts orange juice

1 quart lemon juice

1 quart pineapple juice


Mix all. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer.


Set aside 4 cups of mojo for later use.


Inject pig immediately, and refrigerate 24 hours.


Add 1 cup of Stubb’s mesquite liquid smoke to reserved mojo and use to baste pig before lighting the coals, just before turning, and again after turning.


Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying my baby-girl’s first birthday party, that I forgot to take any pictures of the finished product…which is a shame, ‘cause it was a beautiful spread.


I chopped the pork and returned it to the pans, then slathered the top of each with a peach-pineapple glaze (see below), sprinkled that with crushed macadamia nuts, and then returned the pans to the Caja China for another 10 minutes to brown the glaze…


Yeah, it was as good as it sounds.


Still, if a pic is worth a thousand words…here’s my baby enjoying her first luau…


I think she’s got a little bit of everything in there…Kalua pig, Hawaain rice, fruit salad…that’s Daddy’s girl!
So, those are the recipes, and a good time was had by all!
Happy to answer any questions!




PS – If you don’t have a roaster, and this seems like too much work, see Bon Appétit’s article, “Sam Choy’s Oven-Roasted Kalua Pig.” But I would strongly recommend adding the glaze recipe above!




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6 thoughts on “La Caja China – Gracie’s Kalua Pig

  1. Pingback: La Caja China Pig Roast « Just another day in cubeville…

  2. Do you own the large box. I just purchased one and would like to try Kalua pig. I have made it in the oven before, but it was nice to see how many you could fit in the la caja china. THX

  3. Leona,

    Nope, mine is the medium box, but I believe that the area is the same (yours is just taller.) If you wanted to use the racks (as I have done since this post) you can easily fit 4 shoulders in the medium box. I had better results using the rack than I did with the pans (above.)

    If you just use the bottom Caja pan, you could probably do 6, but I would be concerned about the amount of juices getting higher than the edges of the pan.

    I’ve done a whole pig in this one as well.


  4. Pingback: La Caja China Pig Roast « Burnin' Love BBQ – The Blog

  5. I was just browsing the web again for la caja china stuff and ran across your site again. I have used the box many times since. The box does indeed hold 6 butts. I’ve tried your recipes too. THX sssoooo much! They turned out great!

    How did the install of the smoker gun go? I’ve been considering adding it too.

  6. Leona,

    Welcome, and thanks for dropping by! Glad you liked my recipes, as well!

    Hey, I have a great video on installing the smoke pistol, here: http://burninlovebbq.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/how-to-start-the-smoke-pistol/

    Let me know if you have any questions!


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