Building an underground oven can be a fun and rewarding project for those who love to cook and want to try something new. This type of oven is also known as a pit oven or earth oven and has been used for centuries by various cultures around the world. The oven is made by digging a hole in the ground, lining it with rocks and clay, and burning a fire inside the hole until it reaches a high temperature. Once the fire has burned down, the food is placed inside and allowed to cook slowly for several hours. In this post, we will discuss the steps involved in building an underground oven.
Step 1: Choose a Location
The first step in building an underground oven is to choose a suitable location. The oven should be located in an area that is flat, dry, and away from any flammable materials. It is also important to ensure that the location is accessible and has enough space for the oven and the cooking area.
Step 2: Dig the Hole
Once you have chosen the location, it is time to start digging the hole. The size of the hole will depend on the size of the oven you want to build. A typical pit oven is about three feet wide and two feet deep. When digging the hole, make sure it is deep enough to accommodate the food you want to cook and that it has a flat bottom.
Step 3: Line the Hole
After digging the hole, it is time to line it with rocks and clay. The rocks should be arranged in a circular pattern around the bottom of the hole. Then, the clay should be added on top of the rocks and packed down firmly to create a solid base. This will help to retain the heat and keep the oven insulated.
Step 4: Build the Fire
Once the lining is complete, it is time to build the fire. Use dry wood to create a fire in the center of the hole. The fire should be allowed to burn for several hours until it has heated the rocks and clay to a high temperature.
Step 5: Cook the Food
After the fire has burned down, it is time to cook the food. The food should be wrapped in foil or banana leaves and placed on top of the hot rocks. Food that is suitable for cooking in an underground oven includes meats, vegetables, bread, and desserts. Once the food is in the oven, cover it with a layer of wet burlap or cloth to help retain the heat.
Step 6: Monitor the Pit and Enjoy!
The last step of using an underground oven is to uncover the pit and remove the food. This may seem simple, but it requires careful attention to ensure that the food is cooked properly and that the pit is safe to uncover.
The first thing to consider when uncovering the pit is safety. Underground ovens can reach extremely high temperatures, and the rocks and soil covering the pit can be extremely hot. It is important to wear protective gear, such as gloves and sturdy shoes, and to use caution when removing the covering materials.
Once the pit is uncovered, the next step is to check the food for doneness. This can be done by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat or by cutting into it to check for color and texture. If the food is not fully cooked, it can be returned to the pit for further cooking.
After the food is removed from the pit, it is important to let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensures that it is moist and flavorful.
Finally, the pit should be properly extinguished to ensure that it does not pose a fire hazard. This can be done by pouring water over the rocks and soil or by burying the pit with dirt.
In conclusion, using an underground oven is a time-honored tradition that requires careful attention to detail and safety. The last step of uncovering the pit and removing the food is crucial to ensuring that the food is properly cooked and safe to eat. With the right precautions and careful attention, an underground oven can produce delicious, flavorful meals that are sure to impress.