First step was making sure the hole was good. Since we were needing to feed at least 200 folks, we ended up with a hole about four and a half feet deep, by about four feet in width and five feet in length. Friday night we prepped all of the meat. Which consisted of Venison, Pork, Wild Pork, 12 full chickens, and Mutton. I honestly have no idea how much there was in weight. Suffice it to say, there was A LOT of meat. Not to mention all of the veggies n such.
Second step; heat up the stones. Earlier in the week, we had constructed a pretty massive stack of wood, and collected a load of large river rocks. The morning of the Hangi, we had to go out and set the wood on fire, with all of the rocks on top. Turns out it's actually a bit dangerous; since we had lots of new rocks, they like to explode from time to time. For the most part, tiny little bits of the rocks shoot off, but every now and again a whole rock will break into a few different pieces with a bit of a boom.
Step three. Once the fire burned down to coals, you have to move all of the rocks into the pit. Let me take this moment to clarify. Most times, you make the fire in the pit, but since you don't want all of the coals in there, and our hole was way too deep to dig them out, we made our fire right next to the pit. So, we had to move all of the rocks into the hole, which is quite a bit more difficult than it sounds since most of the are white hot. Standing as far away as I can and moving them in with a shovel it was still way too hot for my face.
Step four. Once all of the stones were in, we were able to put in the baskets full of meat and so forth. Pretty simple. Only thing is you have to make sure not to scrape the side, otherwise your food is going to be loaded with dirt. Meat goes on the bottom (we did pork n such first, then the chickens, which were all individually wrapped in tin foil) then the veggies, and lastly the stuffing.
Step five; you gotta cover. First thing they put on is a sheet soaked in water. Pretty much just lay it over the top of the metal baskets and wrap it around the sides. Then you cover that with heaps of burlap sacks that have been soaking in a bucket of water all morning making sure to make them all overlapping without kicking in any dirt. After that, we laid sheets of corrugated steel on the stop, and covered them with heaps of dirt. Last thing they did was dump some water down a corner of the hole and then quickly covered it back up.
Then all there was to do was wait. You have to keep a keen eye and make sure no steam escapes; if it does, you pile dirt on wherever it's coming from. After about four hours, it was all cooked to perfection. When taking it out you pretty much just do the same steps in reverse, just making sure not to get ANY dirt down in on the food. Ends up making the tastiest feed ever.
They had been planning on making enough for two hundred people, but made well over 300. So my companion and I ended up with a load of it afterward, not to mention another 50kg of raw meat that they didn't need. Our freezer is full, our fridge is full, and I'm happy.
It ended up being a blast to help with, and we were able to spend some really good time with all of the locals. I think now they pretty much consider us as part of the Kawhia Whanau.
Hopefully the pictures work. My camera decided to die on me, so they're all from brother Apiti's camera. Not sure if they'll be too big to send, but I'll try all the same.
|This picture is of the wild pork they skinned the day before.|
|So on top you have the bags of stuffing and veggies. Then under that the baskets with the chicken, and under that are the bottom baskets with the pork n whatnot.|
|The fire with the stones|