Caja China Pork

Adapted by
March 2014
Yield: 1 pig


Mojo Brine
16 quarts water (8 quarts chilled)
12 bay leaves
2 scotch bonnet chiles
2 honey honey
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons allspice berries, cracked
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
Juice and zest of 6 lemons
3 limes
4 cups kosher salt
1 cup garlic, chopped
2 onions, sliced
1 bunch thyme, picked
1 bunch cilantro
8 quarts ice
Pig Injection
1 scotch bonnet chile
2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
20 cloves garlic
¾ cup Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup lime juice
2 cups orange juice
1 bunch cilantro
2 cups olive oil
Caja China Pork
1 pig, split and head removed
Natural charcoal (not instant light)
Mojo Demi-Glace
1 tablespoon clarified butter
2 quarts chopped yellow onions
10 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1½ cups gold rum
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice
2 ounces tomato paste
8 quarts pork stock
1 quart drippings from pork roast
2 tablespoons sugar
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
To Assemble and Serve
Arroz moros (black beans and rice )


Mojo Brine:
In a large pot, combine 8 quarts water with spices, citrus, and herbs. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a 22-quart container; pour in remaining chilled water and ice to cool.

For the Pig Injection:
In a blender, combine and purée chile, onions, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lime and orange juices, and cilantro. With the motor running on high, drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt.

For the Caja China Pork:
Submerge pork in Mojo Brine and refrigerate 3 days. Remove from brine, pat dry, and bring to 75ºF. Inject pork with Pig Injection and rub exterior with additional injection. Rub pig exterior with salt. Place a pan in the bottom of the caja china box to catch drippings. Place pig inside caja china, bone side up, and lay aluminum foil over the pig with woodchips on top of foil; close box with lid. Pour 10 pounds charcoal on top of caja china grate and light (without lighter fluid). As pig cooks, scrape the ashes off of the top of the box. For every hour of cooking, add another 5 pounds charcoal, until the internal temperature of the pig reaches 175ºF. Flip the pig over, skin side up, and score the skin—at this point the skin should be sticky to the touch. Place the lid back on the box. Cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes as the skin turns to crackling (you will hear it pop), checking occasionally to make sure skin isn’t burning. Once skin is bubbled and golden brown, push down on skin; if it makes a cracking noise, it is done!

For the Mojo Demi-Glace:
In a large pot, heat butter and sauté onions until lightly caramelized. Stir in garlic, coriander, and cumin. Cook until fragrant and deglaze with rum. Pour in orange and lime juices; whisk in tomato paste. Pour in pork stock and drippings, bring to a boil, lower heat, and reduce to desired consistency. Season with salt and sugar; stir in cilantro.

To Assemble and Serve:
Slice Caja China Pork. Scoop arroz moro in a serving dish and top with pork and Mojo Demi-Glace.