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Cuban-Style Roast Pig

Feed a hungry crowd with chef Roberto Guerra's zesty suckling pig recipe, prepared using his innovative Caja China slow-roasting grill. For step-by-step photos of the roasting process, visit

  • Yield: Serves 25 to 30
Cuban-Style Roast Pig

Ingredients

  • 1 (45- to 50-pound) dressed pig, backbone split lengthwise (have your butcher do this)
  • 2 recipes Cuban Mojo, prepared separately
  • 1/3 cup Adobo Criollo
  • 1 large onion, chopped, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Place pig skin side down on a large work surface. Strain one recipe of the mojo into a bowl, reserving solids. Transfer liquid to a large syringe and inject the mojo into the meat of the pig every 3 to 4 inches, taking care not to push syringe down so far that it punctures the skin on the underside of the meat. Sprinkle the interior and exterior of the pig with adobo criollo and rub all over; rub reserved solids from mojo over rib cage. Cover and let marinate, chilled, overnight.

  2. Bring pig to room temperature. Lock the pig into the wire rack of the Caja China by using the S-hooks. Place locked pig in the Caja China on top of the drip pan, skin side down. Insert a meat thermometer with a cable attachment into the thickest rear section of the pig.

  3. Place ash pan and grid tray on top of the Caja China. Fill the bottoms of two large chimney starters with crumpled newspaper. Starting with16 pounds of charcoal briquettes (not instant), fill the tops of the chimney starters with some of the 16 pounds of charcoal. Place a chimney starter on each end of the grid tray; light the newspaper in each chimney starter. Flames will sweep up through the chimney, igniting charcoal. When charcoal is red-hot, after 15 to 20 minutes, dump out charcoal from starters and add remaining charcoal to total 16 pounds; spread evenly across grid tray. After 1 hour of cooking, evenly add 8 pounds charcoal. Repeat process every hour until pig reaches 185 to 187 degrees, about 3 1/2 hours.

  4. When pig has reached 185 to 187 degrees, two people wearing protective gloves should raise the grid tray and carefully shake ashes off the coals and into ash pan. Carefully place the grid tray on the long handles. Two people should then lift the ash pan with ashes and safely dispose of them, adding water to ensure they do not cause a fire.

  5. Using protective gloves, carefully turn pig skin side up and return to the Caja China. With a knife, carefully make cross cuts into skin between each grid of the rack, taking care not to cut into the meat. Return ash pan and grid tray with hot coals to the Caja China and cook, until skin is crisp, 30 to 45 minutes more.

  6. Heat remaining recipe mojo and transfer to a serving bowl. Remove ash pan and grid tray from Caja China. Lift wire rack containing pig out of the Caja China. Detach S-hooks and remove top rack. Serve meat on rolls topped with warm mojo and chopped onions, if desired.

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