Cuban Turkey in the Caja China with Sweet and Sour Pineapple Marmalade

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 50 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 12 to 14 buns
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For the rub:

One 12- to 14-pound whole turkey

2 tablespoons kosher salt 

2 teaspoons dried oregano 

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 

For the marinade:

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup fresh orange juice 

1/2 cup fresh lime juice 

1/4 cup olive oil 

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 

1 tablespoon kosher salt 

2 teaspoons garlic powder 

2 teaspoons onion powder 

2 teaspoons dried oregano 

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

For the marmalade:

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup white wine vinegar 

3 tablespoons brown sugar 

2 cups chopped pineapple 

2 tablespoons minced red onion 

1 jalapeno, minced 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For serving:

12 to 14 buns (optional)


Special equipment:
a pig roasting box, such as Caja China, charcoal, meat injector
  1. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub the turkey with the mixture on the inside and outside.
  2. Make the marinade: Put all the marinade ingredients in a blender and blend to combine. Fill an injector with the mixture and inject the turkey all over. It will plump with the fluid.
  3. Place the turkey, breast side down, in a disposable aluminum pan. Put the pan inside the Caja China box. Place the lid tray in position and build a charcoal fire in the tray (I use a chimney starter to make this easy). Roast the turkey in the box (no peeking!) for 1 1/2 hours, continuously adding charcoal as it burns out. You will use about 8 pounds of charcoal per hour.
  4. While the turkey is roasting, make the marmalade: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk the orange juice, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, and the brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple, onion, and jalapeno. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 15 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Carefully remove the lid from the Caja China (have a safe place to set it down, as the charcoal is still burning on top). Use the tongs to flip the turkey breast side up. Replace the lid and allow the turkey to roast for another 40 minutes, until the internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches at least 165 degrees. Remove the turkey and tent it with foil for 15 minutes. Slice and serve on buns if desired, with pan juices and pineapple marmalade.
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