The Peruvian Cylinder or the Chinese Box? Which one is the best loved Peruvian BBQ technique?
After visiting one of the most famous Peruvian food fairs in the city and having acknowledged the big acceptance of these two cooking techniques, we were still wondering which of the two methods was the best liked for Peruvians.
Long lines remained at different food stands that were offering either the exquisite chancho [pork] prepared in the cylinder or the crunchy lechon [pork] prepared in the Chinese box.
This situation posed us in a very difficult position in which we should make a final decision.
Maybe if we knew more about these two options we would have a wider perspective of what to choose. So, we started to do our research on the similarities and differences between the Peruvian cylinder and the Chinese box.
This was done with the intention of giving you a better perspective and knowledge on which to choose depending on your likes and needs.
The Peruvian Cylinder : Peruvian BBQ technique # 1
This is a way of cooking food based on a smoked grill system which uses coal located at the bottom of the cylinder.
The flow of heat rises until reaching the meats that are hanging on top of the cylinder.
As a first step, you should remove the cylinder leaving its bottom part exposed to air then place coal on it.
After that, you turn on the heat. When the coal has started to burn, the cylinder should go back to its original position.
The Peruvian cylinder could be made of either steel or iron. It is made up of three different levels of heating. It has sliding doors and a small chimney on its top to let the air comes in.
It also has a cross-shaped cooking grid with big hooks that are used to hang up meats on its top.
It has an iron ring to support the weight of meats. In the center of the cylinder it is placed a grid to cook different garnishes as well as it serves to avoid the fall of meats into the coal.
When cooking the food you close the cylinder which now creates a round smoke flow and heat that produces that
awesome smoky taste in our meats.
You just leave open the small door located at the bottom of the cylinder exposed to air preventing in that way that the coal could stop burning.
The meat resulting from this technique is of an extraordinary flavor. Meats are juicy and crunchy at the same time.
It has an inevitable smell and taste. Cooking time varies from 90 to 120 minutes.
The Peruvian cylinder gives us the possibility to cook different types of meat at the same time. It lets us make full use of our creativity. There you can cook from chicken, pork, turkey to pizzas, and steamed fish.
The Chinese Box : BBQ technique # 2
As it is suggested in its name, the Chinese box is a rectangular piece of wood covered with iron plates.
The coal is placed at the bottom part of the Chinese box and the heating system will go from the upper part to the lower part of it. It is just the opposite of what we have in the Peruvian cylinder whose heating system works the opposite way.
In the Chinese box is necessary to turn the meats from time to time depending on the type of meat you are having.
When using the cylinder is not necessary to do this because meats are hanged and will be cooked uniformly without moving them.
The Chinese box is made up of two levels. All liquids leaking from meats will fall into the first level of this box. All garnishes and meats will be placed in the center of this first level.
The top of this box can be used as a conventional barbecue grill in order to take advantage of a longer cooking time that this method requires. It will take 3 hours to cook bacon strips (panceta) or 6 hours to roast a whole pig.
As it was stated before the cooking time in the Chinese box is a lengthy method.
This technique makes meats turn into two different textures. One will be like more a meat with a crunchy skin and the other one will turn into a super juicy fat free meat. Both the cylinder and the box come in different sizes to satisfy the needs of every client.
Now that you know more about the Peruvian cylinder and the Chinese box which one will you choose? And why? Please leave your comments and share your best recipe with us!!!!