Posted 26th Oct 2016
Valentine Warner tells us all we need to know about making your own fire pit cooker
Fire pit shopping list
• English Charcoal
• Piece of corrugated metal or oil drum
• A rack large enough to cook the food on
• Hay (for a hay box)
1. Dig an appropriate sized hole (dependent on food being cooked)
2. Retain the top clod of soil and turf to insulate the fire pit once ready for cooking
3. Line the pit, I use flattish stones like those you might find on the bottom of a river-bed
4. Loosen the earth in the bottom of the pit so that the stones have something to bed into.
5. Starting with the walls of the oven use flat stones (or slabs) to line each side.
6. Use the remaining stones to form a base for the oven. (Use medium stones to line the base spreading them out so that they form a fairly flat and even cooking surface)
Light your fire
The fire can be made in a traditional way with branches etc., however, this take longer so British charcoal is the favoured method. We will be aiming for is a nice even distribution of glowing embers over the bed of the pit. This will heat the stones.
It is this heat, retained by the stones, that will do the cooking.
We need to keep the fire burning for around two hours to give the stones a thorough baking reading for cooking. Whilst the stones are hotting up, the food prep can commence.
Traditional methods of pit cookery use large leaves, hay, reeds or grass to wrap up the meat. This protects it from being contaminated with earth when buried. More modern methods tend to use kitchen foil as a substitute. Once the pit is hot, we then need to bury the food and start the cooking process.
Scrape out the embers or push them to one end, then place the food directly in contact with the hot stones. Half a lamb will cook in around three-four hours, although this depends on the recipe. Place place a piece of corrugated metal or steel over the top the cooking and replace the soil.
Leave to cook and then after the appropriate number of hours, it’s time to dig for your dinner.
Guide courtesy of Leffe