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By Doreen Colondres

When it comes to classic pork recipes, nothing says slow-roasted deliciousness like a pig roasted in La Caja China™. A savory combination of the unique flavors of Puerto Rico, Cuba and Ecuador, this recipe is a true feast of flavors for the whole family.


  • 1 25 lb. whole pig, dressed (ready to cook)
  • 12 oz, beer
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh bunch of cilantro
  • 1 whole garlic head, peeled
  • 1 tbsp. annatto powder
  • 1 tbsp. dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dry parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 20 pounds of charcoal
  • 1 La Caja China roasting box, clean

Marinade directions

Using a blender, immersion blender or pestle and mortar, combine beer, cilantro, garlic, annatto powder, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper until smooth.
Season the pig with spice mixture; working into the crevices to make sure all exposed meat is seasoned thoroughly. If you have a syringe, inject mixture into the thicker areas of the pig to add more flavor. Refrigerate the seasoned pork preferably for one day before roasting (or marinate at least 1-2 hours before cooking), always with skin side up.

Cooking directions

Get 12-15 pounds of charcoal hot and then, spread the charcoal evenly over the whole grid.
Using gloves remove the charcoal pan and place the pig between the two racks, skin down and secured with the 4-S hooks (provided with La Caja China) to hold the pig between the two racks. Cover the pig with the charcoal pan on top and cook for 3 hours. After the first 3 hours, add 7-8 pounds of charcoal every hour to maintain a consistent high temperature. Remove the charcoal pan and flip the pig (skin up). Using the tip of a sharp knife score the skin in several areas for a crispier skin, cover pig with the charcoal tray
Once the cooking process is completed, remove the ashes, remove pork from cooker and let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving. Serve and enjoy.

Serving Suggestions

The caja china tradition in the U.S. got its popularity from a Cuban family in Miami. It is an easy technique and the flavor of the pork is simply memorable. A metal rod is inserted into the whole pig and then roasted with gas or wood in Puerto Rico; in Jamaica, aromatic wood is sometimes used. Serve it with rice and beans, yuca, green or yellow plantains and a great salad.

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