Whole Hog Rooftop

The Caja China Lives on Giralda

If it’s the first Wednesday of the month, then the rooftop restaurant Cebada will be resonating with the aroma of roast pig, Cuban-style. On that day, Chef Jorge Ramos, Jr. will be employing his Caja China – China Box – which replicates the rural Cuban practice of cooking a whole pig in the ground with hot coals.

Whole Hog Rooftop

“The whole premise of the restaurant is inspired by my [Cuban] heritage and what our family did when I was growing up,” said Ramos, whose father joined him as “cooking partner” for the inaugural roast. “We have been doing Caja Chinas the last 30 years of my life.”

The process starts with drying and curing the pig, then brining the skin with salt, followed by slow cooking for seven or eight hours.

“We use a technique where we dry it out and we cure it for a few days, because we want the skin to be like leather. By doing that, when it puffs up we’re able to take the whole skin off in one piece, so we’re able to make one really big Chicharrón. That’s the pressure I have on me – making sure I don’t mess that up!”

Chef Ramos did not mess it up on the first Wednesday in January, and hopefully won’t when you visit to try some delicious lechón, done the old-fashioned way, as long as it lasts. Servings begin at around 7 pm.

Cebada Rooftop Restaurant + Raw Bar

124 Giralda Ave