I recently had the pleasure of experiencing first hand one of the delights of country living: outdoor cooking. Most who know me know that I am a city mouse through and through but the occasional jaunt outside of the city fills this urban girl with child-like wonder and excitement (maybe a touch of fear as well).
On this particular jaunt, I had the honour of assisting in a culinary country adventure that was composed of a combination of muscle, earth, stones, wood, fire, blood, sweat, tears and 2 days to turn a budget-cut hunk of meat into mouth-watering, tender, tasty, beefy deliciousness.
So with no further ado, this is what you need to properly "bury your meat"...
1 Piece of land that you can dig a hole into
1-3 Strong young men to dig, bury and unbury your bounty
8-12 Large flattish granite stones
1/4 Cord of hard wood (approximate)
2 Rolls of heavy-duty wide (25") aluminum foil
10 ft length of chicken wire
20-30 lb inexpensive piece of Beef or Pork
3-4 Bulbs of peeled fresh garlic
3 Tablespoons of salt
¼ Cup of cooking oil (grape seed, canola, olive, etc…)
1. Put your hunk of meat on a large piece of foil
2. Combine garlic, salt and oil in a processor or blender until it’s a spreadable paste.
3. Rub it all over the meat (that’s what she said!)
4. Wrap the meat in at least 7 sealed layers of heavy-duty foil.
5. Store in refrigerator.
6. Bribe 1 or 2 strong men with beers and the promise of future delicious meat to dig a hole at least 3 feet in diameter and at least 3 feet deep.
7. Set your alarm clock for 7:30 and go dream about tender, meaty goodness.
Now for day 2, you’ll have to calculate 3 hours to burn down your wood, 6 hours to cook and about 1 hour of resting time. So if you plan on eating at 7:00pm you need to light your fire by 8:30am at the very latest to account for handling and cutting time.
7:30 - Wake up, make coffee and head to your hole.
8:00 - Line your hole with the granite stones to form an oven big enough to fit your hunk of meat. Save a few stones to form the top of the oven
8:30 - Fill the oven with hardwood, light it up and place remaining stones loosely on the fire
11:00 - Burn the fire until the wood is broken down into burning embers of charcoal this should take about 3 hours. While you wait, sit back, poke the fire and drink your coffee. Why not roast some marshmallows or breakfast wieners over the raging fire.
11:30 - With a shovel remove and put aside the loose top stones and as much charcoal as possible from inside the “oven”.
12:00 - Place the wrapped meat on the chicken wire hammock and lower into the "oven" of hot rocks.
Place the hot stones over the meat and cover with all the charcoal embers.
Fill hole with dirt and pack it down by doing a little dance on the mound of dirt.
*For the next 5 hours or so, go swimming, biking, take a nap or do whatever else you do in the country on a hot summer day.
5:30 - Find the same or another strong young accommodating man, hand him a beer and after he takes a sip, hand him the shovel you were hiding behind your back. By this time, he’ll be hungry enough to be motivated to dig up the hunk of meat.
6:00 – Once you’ve removed most of the dirt and some of the top stones, gently lift the chicken wire hammock out of the hole.
Place the foil wrapped treasure on a table to rest. I can’t emphasize how important the rest period is. It must sit untouched for at least 40 minutes.
6:45 – Unwrap the foil and start slicing up the tender delicious meat.