How's Your Hangi? Slideshow

Will Budiaman

Dig a pit about 2 feet deep that's long and wide enough to fit all the food you're planning to cook. Make sure to call before you dig!

Dig a Pit

Will Budiaman

Dig a pit about 2 feet deep that's long and wide enough to fit all the food you're planning to cook. Make sure to call before you dig!

Bag the Food

Will Budiaman

Place each ingredient you're cooking into separate muslin bags. Muslin cloth, made from a type of cotton, is available at stores like Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores. Foods like peeled whole onions, carrots, beets, peeled potatoes, and cabbage work well. Kabocha squash is also popular, but doesn't need to be placed in a bag. Bag the meat that you're using as well — whether it's leg of lamb, pork shoulder, or beef tenderloin. (An exception would be if you are cooking a whole animal.) Tie the bags like giant bouquet garni. Set aside.

Prepare the Coverings

Will Budiaman

When the fire finally dies out, soak burlap sacks, such as old coffee bean sacks, in cold water. Clean out any small burnt rocks or embers with a shovel, or the hangi will burn. Place flax leaves over the rocks followed by the sacks. 

Arrange the Food

Will Budiaman

Place the meat, carrots, and onions closest to the center since they will take the longest to cook, then surround with the sacks of remaining vegetables according to cooking time. Pumpkin and cabbage, for example, should be in the outer circle since they will fall apart if exposed to too much heat.

Cover Again

Will Budiaman

Cover everything again quickly with more burlap sacks and then cover well with dirt; speed is of the essence since the hangi is cooling quickly. Cook for at least eight to 12 hours.

Dig Everything Out

Will Budiaman

Carefully dig out all of the food. Lift out the bags of food on the burlap sacks by lifting each sack at the four corners. Open immediately but be careful of any steam escaping. (A hangi tastes best when it is hot.) Be sure to re-season everything before serving.