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Caja China vs. Caja Asadora???

I'm trying to figure out if there's any huge difference between La Caja China and the cheaper La Caja Asadora (by Bene Casa). When comparing the largest Caja China to La Casa Asadora they seem comparable in size and components--each coming with the same components and accessories. La Caja Asadora is slightly shorter, but I don't see why that would make a difference. The only thing I can find that *might* make a difference is what they're lined with. La Caja China is described as being lined with "Marine Aluminum Gauge .032" while sites describing La Caja Asadora say that it is lined with "galvanized metal" , "steel", or "stainless steel". Unfortunately, I don't have enough knowledge about metals to a) tell if those things are actually all the same or b) if it makes a difference if they're indeed different.

Any help anyone could give me would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

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  1. Okay. I've done a bit more research and now understand that aluminum is far more thermally conductive than steel. Knowing this, I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on how this affects things in a roasting box situation. Longer cooking time? More charcoal? Does any of this affect the final product? If so, in what way(s)?

    Looking forward to getting to the bottom of this and hopefully making the right purchase.

    Thanks again!

    6 Replies
    1. re: kristabat

      Check out this link:

      http://cuban-christmas.com/pigroast.html

      The Caja China is really nice if you do pig roasts regularly, but for most folks, it's at best once a year (actually like once or twice in a lifetime) so hard to justify cost and storage. But, it is also nice if you don't have the back yard that you tear up to build a makeshift pit like the "Three Brothers" do -- if that is your situation, see if you can rent one.

      It sounds like you have a fun occasion in mind -- best of luck (I bet it will be great no matter).

      1. re: kristabat

        Any word on this yet? I'm also interested. I'm worried, though about the use of galvanized metal... zinc would leach into anything touching it... so if the tray for the briquets is galvanized, OK... but if the inside... well... it would make the drippings toxic.

        As far as aluminum vs steel on the inside... for the length of time you'll be cooking in it, i don't think thermal conductivity will make that big of a difference. After 2 hours, both will be fabulously hot.

        1. re: themeatking

          did anyone make a final determination on the galvanized metal vs aluminum box? we received a Caja Asadora for Christmas, my mom thought it was the same as Caja China, but we want to use the safest box for cooking the meat in terms of toxic metal.

          1. re: terryberry

            Never use galvanized metal for cooking or heating. It will give off zinc oxide fumes, a white smoke that is toxic to you and your food when heated. Also will leach zinc chloride when acids from your foods to make a nice toxic cocktail. Use only stainless steel, black steel, or aluminum. Also another name for a La Caja China (the china box) is a Cajun Microwave.

            1. re: yakitat jack

              The truth is that both the La Caja China and La Caja Asadora come in galvanized, and have for many years. The reason is because the boxes had to be cleared to be used in this style of cooking before they could go on the market. I doubt seriously these boxes would still be out there after all these years if they were toxic. One could argue that the aluminum has its benefits, but paying almost double seems a bit much for what those benefits may be. The boxes come in the same size, have the same components, and cook in the same way. For my money, I'll take the Caja Asadora and use the $150 saving on the accessories!

          2. re: themeatking

            Yes, you are right. Do not put high heat on galvanized (zinc coated) metal. Bad bad fumes.

        2. I have the La Caja China and it is very well built. They use very good quality materials, and it is well crafted and goes together quite easily. The lining is a nice aluminum. It's purpose is to reflect the heat back to the pig inside the box, and works perfectly. I only use it 1-3 times a year, but it is always a show stopper!

          2 Replies
          1. re: mattrapp

            Where can I get a Caja China? Is it possible to buy one locally? (in Los Angeles)

            1. re: Drehound

              I think they are only available from La Caja China in Florida. They ship by UPS and it only takes a short time to assemble it.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. My friend Yim bought a Caja Asadora and we had it togethor in about 15 minutes. It is made cheaply out of galvanized steel and is somewhat unstable. The charcoal grate and the "pig grate" broke at the welds before we even started using it. We rigged it temporariliy with some stainless wire. We cooked our first pig on it and it turned out great. When cleaning it out I noticed the galvanized metal started to peel off on the drip tray.

              My recommendation is to buy the original Caja China or the Cajun Microwave brand which both look better quality but are more expensive. If you are handy build your own. If you are careful the Asadora will work fine but expect it not to hold up and have plenty of

              1. I bought the Caja Asadora about a year ago and it works great. I had the Caja China previously. I simply can't justify spending the additional $120-$150 for the same thing. I only wish I bought the Caja Asadora earlier.