YOU CAN’T USE LUMP! ONLY BRIQUETTES! LUMP BURNS TOO HOT!
The La Caja instructions tell you to light your first batch of briquettes, and start your timing when the fire subsides. You then add 9 pounds every hour–and since you’re not going to WEIGH it each time, you basically just want to add enough each time to cover the prior layer.
When your temp hits 187, you flip–and yes, it can easily take an extra hour, or more, to crisp the skin. (I’ve also turned at 180 to remarkable results.) Remember that you’re not adding additional coal at this point. You’re only removing the ashes. So now you just peak in to check the skin for doneness, and that doesn’t happen in a half hour under correct coal conditions.
My hogs take an hour per 7 pounds, although La Caja tells you an hour per 10 pounds. If this was an 80-pound dressed hog, it should have taken at least 8 hours to do properly.
I think it’s burnt because that lump burns way too hot, and they let the thing sit for hours to go to room temp. I let mine sit for 30 minutes before starting the cooking. Warming it to room temp accomplishes nothing–it’s not a prime rib.
Anyway, La Caja China is an incredibly easy way to do a whole hog. And for anyone, I recommend just using the Goya Mojo. Salt on the skin, but nothing else.]]>