Pig Roast Holiday Do’s and Don’ts
The first week of December is upon us and family is gearing up to head to your house this holiday season to enjoy a cajachina pig roast. Stress is the only thing going through your mind when you host…am I going to have enough food, is it cooked well, how long do I cook it for, how much food do I need…ahhhh! I have had the same feelings time and time again but I have also learned along the way that if you prepare yourself ahead of time everything should be smooth sailing. Go ahead and take out the china box now, make sure you have all your parts and maybe you want to buy something new this year, some accessories like the caja china grill top (I have it and it is great for appetizers while you wait for your pig to cook).
Party’s alone can be stressful and when you mix in family sometimes it can double, but no worries, I am going to give you a few tips to help you actually enjoy your pig roast this year. Here are hog roaster do’s and don’ts as well as some general party do’s and don’ts that should make you the host/hostess of the year!
Roasting Box Do’s and Don’ts:
Tip 1 – Marinating is a huge factor in a successful and delicious pig for you and your guests. I suggest you brine/marinate your whole pig from the day before. You can check out our past blogs for some marinating recipes to give you some ideas.
Tip 2 – Cook it slowly. You can’t rush greatness so don’t try and cook your pig at 6pm and eat by 8pm. This method of pig roast takes time so plan on setting up and cooking your pig early and for roughly about 4-6 hours depending on the size of your pig. A good rule of thumb is 1 hour for every 10Lbs. For best results make sure your pig is at room temperature before going into your caja asadora.
Tip 3 – Make sure you get the right charcoal. I like to use Kingsford charcoal because it lights fast and burns longer than most. DO NOT USE INSTANT CHARCOAL. This is very important so that you do not burn or under cook your pig, you have more control with the regular charcoal. Also, use slightly less charcoal on your pig roaster than recommended the first time around. This will allow you to get a feel for how the china box cooks, and how to achieve the best results.
Tip 4 – Cook Slowly…just in case you missed it earlier. Really, by starting your pig up early you have less to worry about when the guests start arriving. They can see the final stages of the cooking process when the hog roast is complete. You would rather have them in suspense of that fall off the bone pig…so take your time with it.
Tip 5 – Try not open the box for the first 3 hours of cooking…no peeking! This is a great time to entertain your guest with appetizers and drinks to keep them in suspense with the amazing aroma coming out of your china box.
Tip 6 – Make the moment when the pig is taken out of the box an event! This usually doesn’t require a lot of work, as a crowd typically begins gathering around your lacajachina well before its time to show your wonderful achievement to the world. This is certainly always a crowd pleaser, so gather the crowds and present your finely cooked pig. Let it stand for a few minutes to cool before serving and digging in.
Entertaining Do’s and Don’ts
Tip 1 – I suggest having as much done prior to the first guest arriving. I like to make appetizers and side dishes as far in advance as possible that way the kitchen is not a mess and you don’t look like a crazy person running around. So like cooking in your caja china early, try and make the sides early too.
Tip 2 – Don’t feel like you have to cook everything you are serving. You are already making a delicious pig in the hog roaster so take it easy on yourself (at least as much as possible). If you can make simple sides quickly or easy and delicious appetizers then go for it if not there is no shame in buying some prepared dishes that taste homemade. I will sometimes buy a dessert if I am going to prepare the sides or appetizers and vice versa. As long as you present the dish nicely nobody will ever know…it will be our little secret!
Tip 3 – It is always better to have left-overs than not enough so here is a little guide to keeping all your guest happy: approximately 1lb of pork per person, side dishes are approximately 1.5 cups per guest, 6 pieces of appetizers per guest…if you want to be safe you can always go a little over and prepare take home bags for your guest if that want some for tomorrow.
Tip 4 – Don’t walk around cleaning everything every 5 min…you have mostly everything prepared so take time and enjoy your guest and some wine. A good hostess is attentive not cleaning the house, you can take your time with that tomorrow.
Tip 5 – Enjoy your party!
With these few tips I am sure you will have a holiday party that is smooth and entertaining and you will actually enjoy. Take time to celebrate with your friends and family and enjoy your amazing treats from your cajun microwave.
Raise a glass and toast to great times and a great year!