Cooking in barbecue pits is among the oldest and most well-known methods of preparing dishes. It is a meticulous process that involves the digging of a hole; filling it with fire; putting the animal meat in place and finally covering it up to cook. Most people would associate this cooking method to the Hawaiian Luau but the truth is, it’s been used by many nationalities hundreds of years ago. The process may have varied as pit cooking is done in several ways but the concept is just the same — cooking food items in a hole. So just to give you a brief account of how pit cooking is done, read on and enjoy this blog!
Preparing The Pit
The preparation of the pit involves two activities: digging and lining it up. Note that the size of the hole depends on the size of the food items that will be cooked in it. When cooking a whole pig, there should be a space allowance measuring a foot-length on all sides of the pit. There should also be an allowance of two to three feet in depth, depending on the size of the fire. Once the hole is dug, it should then be lined. Most people line barbecue pits with bricks, others with large stones. This should be done to even out the pit and enclose the heat. Just remember not to use stones that came from salt water because they have a tendency to break and sometimes even explode.
Firing It Up
Pit cooking requires a lot of hot coals. When people want to reduce the cost of firing the pit up, they resort to the traditional way. They fill the pit with logs and burn them down to coals. Doing so adds a smoky flavor to the food. For faster and more efficient cooking, some burn up a foot-length of hot charcoal before cooking.
Prepping The Meat
The rub and marinade play big roles in the taste of the barbecue. To ensure that whole pig roasts taste delicious, people used to wrap place hot rocks inside the body cavity together with herbs and spices. Then, the pig is wrapped with banana leaves to protect the meat from burning. They used chicken wire to secure the wrap in place. Today, people use aluminum foil to protect the food items from the coals.
Loading It Up
Once the pig is ready, it will be properly placed in the pit and then covered by a metal sheet. Doing so doesn’t only cook the meat but also maintains a constant temperature and prevents food from burning. Why so? Oxygen won’t be present in the fire thus preventing it from burning up even more.
The traditional pit cooking takes around 7 to 12 hours to finally get the meat done. The hours are indeed dependent on the size of the pig or the food items that will be barbecued and the size of the fire. Keeping all these in mind, people used to place the pig in the fire the night before the serving day. Pretty difficult, huh?
We hope that you learned as much as we did about the traditional method of grilling using an old school barbecue pit. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait that long for our delicious roasted suckling pig anymore because of La Caja China! Should you need one for your home or restaurant, just visit our website and check out our wide array of barbecue grills, grill replacement parts and mojo and adobo sauces! You may also reach us at 1-800-338-1323!
Learn more about the history of barbecue! Watch this video now!