Cooking in The Ground

flyinglentris

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In some cultures, lacking ovens or not ever having built stone ovens or used flat heated rocks, etc., wrapping food in leaves or fronds and burying them in a fire's heated ash bed worked to get food cooked. The Hawaiian and Polynesian peoples are known to have done this using Banana leaves.

Of course, the alternative for people who never built ovens, would be to build a spit and either prop it over a fire between two poles or lean it over a fire.

As a kid, when we raked up the autumn leaves and burned them, we used to barbecue some steaks and wrapped potatoes in aluminum foil, burying them in the burning leaves to get them cooked. That's my only experience with ground cooking food.

I'm sure the Polynesians were not the only people to cook food by burying it in the ground by a fire.

Please share your knowledge and possibly experience with cooking food, buried in the ground near a fire.

BTW: The technique is known as Earth Ovens or Pit Cooking. Pig is often an object of pit cooking.
 

mjd

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Mountain Cat

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The good old fashioned clam bakes were done this way, way back to the pre-Columbian era of the Northeast of the US or Canada. Probably similar things done in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm not as familiar with that region.
 

flyinglentris

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The good old fashioned clam bakes were done this way, way back to the pre-Columbian era of the Northeast of the US or Canada. Probably similar things done in the Pacific Northwest, but I'm not as familiar with that region.
New England Clambakes were and are pretty big shin-digs for local seaboard communities and yes, they did bake the clams in the ground.
 

rascal

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Here in nz we have hangis, ( pro hung ees) I've done them in my back yard using rail line as the heat source, but it's a lot of work, I do mine in a drum called a honky hangi. White mans lazy way, result is the same though. 44 gallon drum with sealable lid. A 5 mm hole drilled about 4 inches from the bottom. Water is filled up to the hole then meat and veges above that. Double burner under and light, it will spill the overflow out the hole, it's a pressure cooker really. 3 to 4 hrs it's ready.
Here's my drum.

Russ

50865
 

flyinglentris

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Here in nz we have hangis, ( pro hung ees) I've done them in my back yard using rail line as the heat source, but it's a lot of work, I do mine in a drum called a honky hangi. White mans lazy way, result is the same though. 44 gallon drum with sealable lid. A 5 mm hole drilled about 4 inches from the bottom. Water is filled up to the hole then meat and veges above that. Double burner under and light, it will spill the overflow out the hole, it's a pressure cooker really. 3 to 4 hrs it's ready.

Russ
Are these Hangis a Maori thing?
 

rascal

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Are these Hangis a Maori thing?
Yip, they used volcanic rock as original heat stones, but now chunks of metal are used. Large hole in ground, large fire with stones heating through., then as fire dies out baskets of food put over, wet sacks then earth on top . Keep plugging holes as they appear with dirt. My drum is so much easier.

Russ
 

rascal

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Burt Blank

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In some cultures, lacking ovens or not ever having built stone ovens or used flat heated rocks, etc., wrapping food in leaves or fronds and burying them in a fire's heated ash bed worked to get food cooked. The Hawaiian and Polynesian peoples are known to have done this using Banana leaves.

Of course, the alternative for people who never built ovens, would be to build a spit and either prop it over a fire between two poles or lean it over a fire.

As a kid, when we raked up the autumn leaves and burned them, we used to barbecue some steaks and wrapped potatoes in aluminum foil, burying them in the burning leaves to get them cooked. That's my only experience with ground cooking food.

I'm sure the Polynesians were not the only people to cook food by burying it in the ground by a fire.

Please share your knowledge and possibly experience with cooking food, buried in the ground near a fire.

BTW: The technique is known as Earth Ovens or Pit Cooking. Pig is often an object of pit cooking.
We have a wood oven downstairs. It is used for bread, pizza, roasting and peka cooking. Peka is the nearest to earth ovens we have.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDmLWOMc6jA&ab_channel=BeckettWorldExplorers
 

MypinchofItaly

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My parents used to host parties with all kinds of themes. Sometimes, they did luaus with whole pigs being cooked underground.

There is a guy, Sonny, on YouTube who visits various countries to experience and review various foods around the world. Here are two of his videos that show underground cooking.

Rare Indian Desert Food

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWLHxumMaR8


Middle Eastern Traditional Shuwa

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNWjXj1C3ho&t=831s
This is so similar to a Sardinian tradition by cooking pig underground completely covered with myrtle leaves
 

teamfat

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There's "stolen lamb" from Greece, wherein a lamb is put in a hole in the ground and cooked underneath a fire. Many years ago, maybe 1977?, I used this technique. I was working as a land surveyor, we were on a job subdividing a big ranch in northeast Utah into 10 - 40 acre plots. It was about an hours drive from the home office, so rather than drive there and back again every day we were camping on site all week. One evening we had a beef rib roast. In the morning it was seasoned well with salt, pepper and garlic powder, wrapped tightly in at least three layers of foil. We worked a few hours, came back to camp. Put the roast in a hole in the ground, covered with dirt and built a fire over it. Every once in a while we'd swing by and add a bit more wood to the fire. At one point in the afternoon we rubbed some potatoes with oil, wrapped them in foil and set them in the coals. Let the fire die down and eventually go out. Dug up the roast. It was perfectly cooked, a very juicy mid rare. Didn't have any of that grilled, smoky flavor you'd get from cooking over coals, but it was incredibly tasty. Possibly the best beef I've ever eaten.

mjb.
 
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