Luau pig is a little labor
intensive, but well worth it in the end !
Round up some large male friends and neighbors. Tell them to bring shovels. Go and buy about 6 cases of beer and some ice to keep them cold. (About a half a case per male friend or neighbor with shovel - no shovel, no beer).
Prior to getting your friends and neighbors together, look around and find a source for very old, round river rocks, that have not been in or around water in a long, long, geologic time. What you're trying to find is good cooking rocks, that won't explode when you heat them. You'll need about 15 to 30 the size of your head, depending on the size of the pig. Plenty of wood, a big hunk of chicken wire fencing to wrap around and use to lift the pig, small spool of stainless steel wire, lots of burlap bags, and banana leaves if you can find them. (leaves of "Elephant Ear" plants will also work, as these are a form of upland Taro) You'll also need one or two pieces of sheet metal big enough to cover the pit completely, and two pieces of plywood to go over the sheet metal. Heavy gloves for everyone are advisable.
Once you've got the rocks, the neighbors, the beer, the small to medium pig, and a big pickup load supply of hardwood, (preferably mesquite, but any good cooking hardwood or fruitwood will do.), assemble your friends and neighbors with shovels in your backyard and dig a hole. The hole should be about 4 or 5 feet deep, and about 10 to 12 inches bigger than the pig all around. Drink beer about 3 times during the digging.
Now, at about 3pm, build a medium size fire in the bottom of the pit. When its burning well, put in a bunch of your rocks around the fire, then start sliding pieces of your hardwood vertically into the bottom of the pit, all around the sides of the pit. Keep loading in wood, fairly fast, as it burns to coals, until you have a bed of red-hot coals about 1 to 1.5 feet deep.
Meanwhile, some of your other friends and neighbors have cleaned up the pig and it is laying on layers of: 1) wet burlap, 2) banana leaves, 3) wet burlap, 4) chicken wire, 5) pig, on its back, legs in the air. Season the pig with about a cup of rock salt, and black pepper. Drink more beer.
The next step is to fish 3, 4, or 5 hot rocks, (whatever will fit), out of the fire pit, and place inside the stomach cavity of the pig. (before putting in the rocks, punch some holes in the belly skin, on both sides so you can wire the belly skin closed over the rocks.)
Working quickly now, fish the rest of the rocks out of the fire pit, make a shallow depression in the coals with shovels or garden rakes, heaping some of the coals up the sides of the pit; wrap the chicken wire, burlap and leaves around the pig, wrap and hold with wire. Leave the two edges of the chicken wire sticking up out of the fire pit with the burlap and leaves on top. These will be the handles you use to lower and raise the pig into and out of the pit.
It should now be late afternoon, early evening. Lower the pig into the bed of coals. Place the hot rocks around and pile on top of the pig. Rake coals over the sides of the pig. Cover the pit with the sheet metal, with the plywood on top. (The plywood is there to supply strength for the next step. If your sheet metal is fairly thick and heavy, (strong), you can forget the plywood.) Now shovel dirt from the hole all around the pit to seal the edges of the sheet metal, shovel about a half inch of dirt or more on top of the sheet metal for insulation. Drink more beer. All but 3 or 4 of your friends can go home now.
Get out some lawn chairs, set up a table, bring the TV out to the backyard, layout a couple sleeping bags, keep the ice chest full of beers close at hand and take turns making sure nothing catches fire, (the plywood), and not too much smoke and heat escapes from the fire pit.
Depending on the size of the pig, anytime from about 10am the next morning and 2pm the next afternoon, have all your friends, and their families show up with their part of the potluck.
Carefully rake away and sweep away the dirt from the top of the pit. Remove the plywood and sheet metal. With rakes or shovels, gently pull away the coals and hot rocks from around the pig. With rakes, or hooks made out of rebar, about four guys grab both sides of the chicken wire and carefully heave the pig out of the pit. A wooden table is best at this point, and lots 'n lots of pots, bowls, and large containers; plus a garbage can to discard the bones. Open the chicken wire and pull away from the pig. (It is traditional in Hawaii that the guys who have done the hot, heavy work of cooking this pig, gets first choice of the crackly skin and meat that clings to the chicken wire.)
Using big cooking forks and the biggest knives in your arsenal, carve and rake the meat from the bones and put into the pots, bowls and containers. (The meat should be so tender at this point, that it nearly falls from the bone.)
You've worked hard. Drink more beer. Eat. Life is good !!!!
Home│Big Cooking│The BBQ Pit │Spit Roasting│Asado│Whole Hog│Luau Pig│Comments