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Although it takes time and effort to dig the pit and prepare the coals and ingredients for pit cooking, after the food has been placed into the pit and has been buried, all of the hard work is done. Food wrapped in foil or placed in a Dutch Oven cooks well in a pit. This is one of the few methods of cooking large items such as whole chickens, hams, turkeys, or roasts. By layering foods in the pit: meat, then potatoes, vegetables, then even desserts, a whole meal can be cooked underground.

Dig a hole two to three times larger than the Dutch Oven or the total size of the foil packages that will go into the pit. Remember that there should be room for rocks, and that the smaller packages of food should have two or three inches of coal between each of them. Line the pit with flat rocks. Build a fire in the pit and let it burn rapidly for at least 1 hour. The pit should be almost filled with coals and is now ready for the food to be placed in it.

Prepare foods for the pit while the fire is burning down by wrapping them several times in aluminum foil. Food should always be placed on the shiny side of the foil, and the drugstore wrap should be used for sealing food.

Remove the coals from the center of the pit and place them to the side of the pit. Place each wrapped item in the pit according to the length of time they require for cooking. Each item needs to be completely covered by coals. Two packages that touch each other will not cook well. Items requiring a longer time for cooking should be placed near the bottom of the pit, whereas those requiring a shorter cooking time will cook more slowly near the top surface of the pit. A thin layer of dirt may be shoveled over the coals between two items of food to cut down the heat.

Cover coals in the pit with 4 to 6 inches of dirt. Allow meat about the size of a chicken to cook from 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Subtract or add time to this amount for smaller or larger items. When time is up, carefully remove food from the pit with a shovel. For easy removal of large foil packages wrap them with wire long enough to protrude from the top of the pit. This will assure location of the package and will also act as a marker for your buried coals.


Whole small onions
Green peppers
Sweet potatoes
1 stick of butter
Salt and pepper

Cut up the chicken, season and double wrap in foil, shiny side in, along with the onions, peppers, potatoes and butter. Put on the bottom of the pit. Wrap ears of corn in foil, whole pineapple in foil, green bananas in foil. Put these close to the surface of the pit. Cover all with coals and dirt. Cook about 2 hours.


Cut large roast into pieces. Sear in hot fat. Season well. Add desired raw vegetables. Add 1 1/2 cup hot water. Cook in pot with tight cover. Put pot in pit and cover with coals and layer of dirt. Leave the bail of the pot up so you can locate it later. Cook 2 to 3 hours.


Salt the cavities of chicken or turkey, rub the outside with butter. Cook stuffed or unstuffed, double wrapped in foil, in hole for 4 to 5 hours.

1 potato per person

Clean the potatoes, butter them and double wrap in foil. Use drugstore wrap to seal. Bury in pit for approximately 1 hour.


1 1/2 lbs. dried beans
5 c. water
1 med. onion, chopped
1 tbsp. salt
1 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 lb. bacon, cubed

Soak the 3 cups of beans in the water overnight. Simmer until the skins begin to break. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water. Use a pot with a tight fitting lid. Place in pit, cover with coals, and leave for 5 or 6 hours.


1 chicken
1/2 loaf bread
1 stalk celery, cut up
1 1/2 tsp. sage
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 grated carrot
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. pepper

Butter the outside of the chicken, mix the other ingredients together and stuff the chicken. Salt and pepper. Wrap the chicken tightly in three or four layers of 24 x 24 inch heavy duty foil, using drugstore wrap. Newspapers may be used instead of extra layer of foil. Bury in the pit for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Yields: 4 or 5 servings.
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