How to Cook a Pig in the Ground

Cooking pig in the ground is one of the oldest methods of cooking it. It may be rarely followed in today’s world and is practiced more in Hawaii.

Cooking animals in the ground

You may not be aware of how an animal is cooked in the ground. Don’t worry; we will let you know about the whole process. You need to dig a hole in the ground and fill it with fire. After that, place the animal in that hole, cover it and cook it for the right time. It is famous as the Hawaiian Luau and specifically Kalua Pig.

The Basic Requirements

As you know, there is not only one recipe for any item; instead, everyone has his own recipe. Many people, many recipes… Though differences lie in the cooking process, a few basic steps are common to cook it the right way.

This method can be applied on cooking large hogs whole lamb, or sides of beef or any other virtual thing which can’t be cook anywhere else. It may seem to be an easy process but it isn’t. It requires a lot of stock to cook a pig in the ground, along with human labor.

The Old Methodology

No doubt it is a quite old method, but the technology has made it a bit interesting and has increased the success rate for newbies. Once you will be done with the process and will have it on your dinner table, you will not be excited anymore to try it for the next time. It takes a lot of hard human efforts to cook a pig with this process.

Cooking pig in the ground

Now we will tell you to cook a pig in the ground. After all, who does not like to feed a hundred people, when one is capable of? People won’t stop praising such a feast even after weeks of the huge gathering.  Let us now help you out in making a meal worth your entire life.

Gather the required things

The first thing in the process is to gather all the supplies required for cooking. This seemingly easy recipe requires a huge lot of things to list down and arrange them all.

  • An appropriate location near a hose
  • A whole pig
  • One pound of rock salt
  • Three burlap bags
  • A banana tree or its substitute
  • A chicken wire
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Canvas Sheet
  • Rocks or Bricks
  • Shovels
  • Fire Tongs
  • An extremely sharp knife
  • A saw for cutting banana tree
  • Firewood
  • Leather Gloves
  • Flexible Wire of a few feet
  • Approximately 20 feet long chain
  • A wireless thermometer

Choose the right pig

You have to choose the pig according to the number of people you want to feed. A 100- pound pig serves great if you are going to feed hundred people.  So, you have to choose the pig size depending upon your guest list. You can’t plan to feed five hundred people or a list of 20 guests with a 100- pound pig. In both the cases, you can have to pay a heavy cost.

It is good if you can have the pig directly from the farmer, or else you can have it from a local butcher. The price may vary from area to area. For cooking a pig underground, you will need a whole pig including the head and hooves. It should be cleaned properly and do not have the butcher snap the spine.

You need to prepare the pig one day prior to its cooking. You will have to store it in a large refrigerator or you may ask your butcher to keep it for some time.

Dig a deep pit

The size of the hole being dug depends upon the size of animal you are going to cook. An ideal pit is one foot long from the animal in all the directions. If your pig is four by four feet in approximate size, then your pit should be nearly six by six feet. The depth of the hole determines the size of the fire and all the things you are going to use. So, digging the pit is the first and foremost step.

Lining of the pit

The rocks and bricks you bought will be used in lining the pit. These will help in even heat distribution. Don’t consider it a joke, but the stones of your head size are the perfect for lining and filling the pit. Don’t use the stones which have a tendency to crack or breakdown. So, don’t pick up the ancient stones or the ones which have been soaked in salt water. Such stones may explode while the cooking process. Bricks are preferable for lining purpose.

A handsome quantity of hot coals is required for cooking your pig underground. Actually, you have to fill the logs in the pit and burn them until they turn into coal. Charcoal is also used but you will need a really large lot of it and still, it won’t add flavor to your meat. So, you can use wooden logs to save money but the process will take a long part of the day.

Prepare the pig

The pig you chose to cook underground has to be flavored with the required ingredients at first. After the flavoring, you have to wrap it all. You have to wrap it securely and safely because it is going to be placed in the fire. Chicken wire wrap is also used to tie up the meat firmly.

Protection against direct fire

In ancient times, people used banana leaves for wrapping and to protect it from the fire. This is the time when you will need a banana tree and a saw. In the modern days, burlap bags and aluminum foil is used to keep the meat moist. Also, they don’t allow the direct contact of coal and meat and separates both of them.

Use Aluminum Foil

You can go for your convenient method. If you are using aluminum foil, then you have to wrap it tightly in multiple layers of the foil. Lots of wet burlap bags are wrapped after it is wrapped in the aluminum foil. This will hold the whole meat together and the meat is ready for the fire pit.

Lower the pig into the pit

After the seasoning and wrapping, the pig is to be lowered down into the pit with the help of several strong men. As soon the pig reaches its right place, you have to cover it up in order to prevent burlap from burning.  You won’t have the actual fire but the coals will be found hot even after many days.

Disconnect the air source

You have to cut the air source to the pit. You can use a sheet of metal as well for this purpose. If you will allow the air to pass on, the burlap will burn, resulting in the burning of the entire pig. A constant temperature is maintained by covering the pit properly.

Cooking time

Usually, the cooking time of a pig underground is around 12 hours. The size of the fire was according to the size of the pit and consequently, the amount of heat produced in the pit. This heat controls the cooking time.


The quantity or size of the meat doesn’t matter much and the right fire will determine the cooking time. Considering the centuries old method, the meat is put in the fire at night and is used the next day to eat. The meat will remain moist and juicy because it was wrapped tightly before placing in the pit.

Enjoy what you have cooked

After the two days long process, gather all your guests and serve them with the margarita. Decorate your home or whatever your area of the party is. Meet and greet them all and spend some time with them. When you are done with all the chit chat, then take the strong men out of them and ask them to take the pig out of the pit.

Why do all of the efforts alone? Involve your friends as well in the hard work before they eat a delicious meal. Believe us or not, it will be really a fun thing to do when everyone is anxious about the meat being lifted.

All your efforts will pay off when your friends and family members will make those lifting moments enjoyable. This is the time you waited for and dedicated your two days too.

Although there is barely any chance that your guests will spare the pork, but you need not worry again. There are several things you can do with the left over pork.

You can grab some white bread and layer it with Dijon Mustard, cheese, butter pickles and use the leftover pork. Form a sandwich out of it and cook it until the bread turns out crispy. The delicious Cuban Sandwich is ready to serve.

The leftover pig can also be used in pasta and souvlaki or in gravy to serve with fried rice. Pork Carnitas, sweet and sour pork, the super delicious Zuppa Toscana are a few more interesting options to incorporate the leftovers.

Image Credits via Flickr Creative Commons: Jeffery

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