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Tips for Perfect La Caja China Turkeys

Posted by Chef Perry P. Perkins on

Tips for Perfect La Caja China Turkeys

~Chef Perry Perkins~

  1. THAW

    Make sure your turkey(s) are COMPLETELY thawed by the night before. The bone temp of the turkeys will make or break the La Caja China process. The USDA recommends cold water thawing.

    Allow about 30 minutes per pound, and be sure the turkey is in a leak-proof plastic bag to prevent cross-contamination and to prevent the turkey from absorbing water, resulting in a watery product.

    Submerge the wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the
    turkey is thawed. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.
     
  2. BRINE


    Always, always, always brine your turkeys (or chickens) before roasting! The differences in the flavor, the tenderness, and the juiciness of the meat are indescribable.

    To brine one turkey, bring 1 quart of water to a simmer, add salt and sugar, stir to dissolve completely. Add 3 quarts of very cold water to cool.

    Place turkeys in a water-tight container, large enough to allow a little space around each, and pour the cooled brine over the turkeys, add more cold water to cover (if needed).

    Move turkeys to a cold area, or refrigerate 8-10 hours.

    Discard brine and rinse turkeys thoroughly, before prepping for roasting.
      

  3. NO PEEKING!

    I know I’m a bit of a broken record on this subject, but it really is important.

    Lifting the lid from the box effectively removes all the cooking heat, and it takes a LONG time to build back up, as
    your turkey is cooling at the same time.

    Use a remote probe thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, and (personal opinion) a metal dust pan and scoop to remove the ashes, instead of removing the lid. NEVER lift the lid until your turkey has reached “resting temp”…which is 10-15F below your target finished temperature.
     

  4. COLD WEATHER COOKING

    Let’s face it, holiday cooking, for many of us, means if we want to BBQ or grill…we’re cooking in the cold! Make sure you start out with every ounce of the recommended coal weight, to ensure that the box reaches its “honey spot” for you.

    Keeping the box protected from the wind is key, I often start mine in the driveway, and once the fire had gone out, roll it into my garage – keeping the door open, and the box a safe distance from any flammables, of course!

    Also, shave 10 minutes of each “add coals” cycle; this has helped me in the past.

    Oh, and if you’re hankerin’ for smoked turkeys this year, watch our short video. On using the A-maze-n smoker on your La Caja China.

~Chef Perry


As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at ChefPerryPerkins.com


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