How do Argentine Grills (Parillas) really work?
I've been looking into argentine grills (parillas) and they are quite expensive for what seems like a simple cooking technique (https://www.177milkstreet.com/2019/08/grills-of-the-world). I was wondering if anyone had details on how they actually work -- there may be a cheaper solution.
First, Argentines cook their steaks for hours. How do they keep the meat from becoming a hockey puck? I can only think that it's kept far away from the fire, in which case is there anything special about doing it over embers vs it being in an oven? Maybe the wood embers impart a smokey flavor, but in that case why not just cold smoke the meat first? (I have a smoker). Maybe a smoker has too moist an internal environment for good crust formation, in which case does heating it in a low oven create the same problem?
Heat control in a parilla comes from raising and lowering the grates, but you can also just really offset the embers. Is there an advantage in using height vs fewer embers/embers to the side? And finally, parilla grills as v shaped to siphon off the fat. Does this really work?
I'm thinking I can get the same effect with a simple campfire grill and a wood fire on a grate to the side to generate embers. What am I missing?