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Cuban Charcoal

In Cuba, you had to make your own charcoal, a long and laborious process that involves starting logs on fire and partially burying them or placing them in a box called a carbonero so they smolder and burn incompletely. When Raúl first came to the United States, he thought that this was the way people did it all over the world.

Imagine Raúl's surprise when Jorge took him to a local supermarket and showed him bags and bags of charcoal all neatly packaged and stacked from floor to ceiling. "Wow, man I couldn't believe it," says Raúl.

Although the homemade charcoal does give the food a distinctive taste, only a real diehard or the Cuban Martha Stewart would even think of attempting this feat today.

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