La Caja China Stainless Steel Top Grills for Models
#1 & #2 fits perfectly across the charcoal tray to provide a large grilling
area for appetizers and more. Also can be used to heat side dishes, soups, and
many other items.
Personally, as someone who cooks
in (and on) his La Caja China several
dozen times a year, I would say without hesitation that a Magic Box without top
grills is only half a Magic Box.
The ability to grill large
quantities of appetizers and side dishes above
the coals, while the entrée is slowly roasting to perfection under the coals, is what makes the Caja
Asadora the ultimate “full-meal” preparation tool.
are some of my favorite tips for using the top grills:
Our traditional Easter leg of lamb
grilling to perfection.
- Contrary to popular opinion, most chef’s (myself included) discourage the idea of oiling
the grill itself, as it’s at best not particularly effective, and worse, it can
create both dangerous flare-ups and meat scorching, leaving food with a bitter,
acrid taste. Pre-heat the grills, and then oil the food, not the grill, just
before placing the food over the heat. Brush the tops with oil, just before
- Nearly all food, especially meat, will stick
to the grill at first, but part of the magic is that meat will “let go” of the
grill when it’s ready to turn, and not before. So, if you go to flip that
steak, and it feels like it’s cemented down, leave it alone!
(She’ll let you know when she wants you to
roll her over.)
Flipping a couple of hundred burgers for the local VFW
- One of my favorite ways to use the top-grills is in
“grilling only” situations, where I’m cooking up a LOT of burgers or hotdogs (or 60 Cornish game hens…. ;) ) is to leave the box itself at home.
to your local “Home Store” and pick up a pair of sheet-metal sawhorses. They’re
lightweight, cheap, and best of all they won’t melt or burst into flames. (They
will, however get very, very hot…so use with caution!)
your ash pan, coal grate, wind deflector (if weather
requires) and grill grates on top, and you have a whole lot of grilling
space that’s ultra-light, easy to set up, and virtually idiot-proof.
- Lastly, given the orientation of the
grate-rods, you’ll find it much easier to use a spatula or tongs if you set up
your coals and food to cook standing at either end of the grills, instead of on
The Weber Surefire Chimney Starter makes starting your charcoal a snap. It also cuts
down the amount of time it takes for the coals to get ready. Outdoor chefs who
prefer grilling the traditional way will find this chimney starter system
No more waiting around while the
charcoal slowly heats up--the chimney's durable aluminized-steel cylinder
causes the flames to ignite each briquette quickly and evenly.
I always have a couple of Weber
chimney starters on hand to get the coals fired up quickly and cleaning. Best
reason for using a charcoal
chimney…no more of that nasty petroleum flavored
get things fired up, simply fill the chimney with briquettes, place crumpled
newspaper under the cylinder, and set on your Caja’s coal grate. A touch of a
match through the holes at the bottom starts the fire, and within minutes your
coals will be white hot and ready to cook over.
- Handle or no handle,
always, always, wear heat resistant grilling glove when using a chimney
starter, keep long hair tied back or under a hat, and avoid any loose clothing.
- One of the secrets of a truly restaurant-quality steak
or chop, is grilling over extremely high heat, much hotter than you’ll get from
a typical gas or charcoal grill. The chimney starter, because it condenses all
of those coals into a small area, forcing all the heat straight up, produces a
super-hot fire for direct grilling.
- Pick up an
inexpensive small replacement grate (or
use something you already have) and grill directly over a full chimney of
white coals. (Do NOT oil meat prior to
grilling over this high of heat!)
to add a little smoke to you grilling? (Of course you do!), load your chimney
half full of coals, add a single layer of dry wood chunks (I like oak), and top
with remaining coals. Light as usual.
By the time your coals are ready to
cook over, your wood chunks will have burned to the perfect embers for smoking.