Sorry for the late reply. Just saw this. I wouldn't raise the pig higher for the skin cracklin stage because you might get uneven heat and some skin burning. I don't have a temperature, but you want to make sure it's hot enough because you only get one shot at puffing it up (if temp is too low, the structure of the skin will set before puffing, and no amount of extra heat you add later will correct that). The commercial Caja China site says to raise the heat by simply removing the ash built up on the charcoal tray (which acts like an insulator). I did that along with adding a few fresh briquettes. Sorry for the lack of precision -- I'll update with the temperature next time I roast.
Hmm. 100lb dressed weight is pushing it. Might have trouble getting the feet in. I've read about people removing the feet, but I can't speak to the results. Have you already built the box? If it doesn't fit, you might just have to trim the pig.
Yes, I've actually made two more cajas from 1/2" plywood, and they're just fine. Not sure how much it weighs, but one person could lift the box.
I'm not familiar with using aluminum. Can anyone else chime in?
I don't see why not. 18 gauge is thicker than 20, so it might affect how quickly the box will heat up when cooking. And 18 is more expensive. But if you've got it, definitely use it. Let me know how it works.
Thanks, avocadostains! There's definitely something different about the gray vs. the white, at least at Home Depot. They're both Schedule 40, so same thickness, but the gray is more flexible. Anyone else know the particulars?I love my Eurosealer. I've seen similar sealers at Daiso (Japanese dollar-type store). You're right, a stapler is far inferior at doing the job, but OK in a pinch.
Giant Hippos (Who May or Ma...View Instructable »
Looking good, Mianop. Report back. Roast on!
Other commenters below have successfully used 22 gauge steel.
SAUNA DE CERDO. Love it. Thanks so much for the kind words and for the pics. I like the angle irons on the corner with the wheels - nice upgrade. And the essential bottle opener. And nice use of the foil funneling. I got the alignment off on the foil during one roast, and had quarts of beautiful pork juice leak out and down the side of the box. Then came the bees.Roast on.
Do you mean lining the box with a thicker aluminum sheet instead of foil? I had great results with foil, so I would think that anything thicker would be just fine. More durable than foil. I had looked into rolls of aluminum flashing at one point. If you've got access to the materials and the fabrication, by all means, go for it. I guess that would make it more like the prefab caja chinas you can buy.As for the charcoal tray, I haven't tested out aluminum or stainless steel, but I imagine those would also be perfectly fine as long as they're thick enough. They'd look better over repeated use too, I imagine. And since you have access to fabrication, you could even bend up the sides of the charcoal tray give it a lip. Also, if you've got the means, using an expanded metal grate on top of t...
Do you mean lining the box with a thicker aluminum sheet instead of foil? I had great results with foil, so I would think that anything thicker would be just fine. More durable than foil. I had looked into rolls of aluminum flashing at one point. If you've got access to the materials and the fabrication, by all means, go for it. I guess that would make it more like the prefab caja chinas you can buy.As for the charcoal tray, I haven't tested out aluminum or stainless steel, but I imagine those would also be perfectly fine as long as they're thick enough. They'd look better over repeated use too, I imagine. And since you have access to fabrication, you could even bend up the sides of the charcoal tray give it a lip. Also, if you've got the means, using an expanded metal grate on top of the charcoal tray (like the prefab caja chinas use) makes for easier ash removal.If I had access to fabrication, that would open a whole new world! Happy to answer more questions, if I can. Please post your results!
I used 20 gauge non-galvanized steel for the charcoal tray. I haven't worked with stainless or aluminum, so not sure how thick you'd need for those. Let me know what you find out.
Awesome. Post some pics.
I'm no steel expert, so someone else might have to chime in on this one. But I think 22 gauge would be fine --- as long as it is NOT galvanized steel.
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Yes, definitely 10.
Thanks, friger! If you do make it, please post pix. And if you have any questions, fire away.
Meat Cooking Basics
Oh, whoops. Just checked your profile and realized you don't live in NZ. You just saw one in NZ. Definitely try this out. It still amazes me that a whole pig can be cooked like this in ~4 hours. It takes longer just for a pork shoulder in a regular oven. I've had debates about it -- whether there's some pressure cooker effect, or some other physics involved. Or just magic that should not be explained...
Thanks. Definitely let me know if you have questions. I had way more info that didn't make it into this writeup.
Thanks! Have you heard the term "caja china" in NZ, or is it called something else?
Didn't occur to me. But yes, does look like Alf. If you like it, feel free to vote this for the Meat contest...
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