How to make it

  • The imu, phase 1:
  • 1. Dig the pit. We make ours square sided and that works best.
  • 2. Assemble all the” stuff you’ll need”.
  • 3. Ball up the pages of last Sunday’s newspaper and toss them into the pit.
  • 4. Put about 2/3 of your wood on the news paper and then stack your stones on the wood See Photo. You can add the rest of the wood as needed to keep the fire going for at least two hours.
  • 5. Pour the BBQ starter fluid over the lot and light the thing up. We normally do this about midnight. Don’t get in a hurry about the fire. The rocks do need to be REALLY HOT or the thing won’t work
  • 6. Go have a beer and get the food ready to go into the imu.
  • The food:
  • 1. The pig is easy. The villagers did most of the work for us and your butcher will do that for you See Photo. Cut a slit from the anus up to the rib cage and from the top of the rib cage up to the chin. Rub the beasty inside and out with coarse salt and line the cavities with ti or banana leaves. Keep moist.
  • 2. All the other stuff you decide to put in the imu should be portioned out into serving size packets and wrapped in fresh, green banana or ti leaves See Photo . These are usually secured with bamboo skewers. If you can’t get enough banana or ti leaves wet corn husks will work and as a last resort you can use foil. The breadfruit, taro and potatoes, etc. Do not need to be wrapped but they come out better if they are. You can add a bit, or a lot, of peepee (coconut cream) to any of the veggies but the taro leaves and green banana really need it.
  • The imu Phase 2:
  • 1. Okay, the fire has burned down and the stones are hotter than the gates of Hades & everything that is going in the imu is close at hand. See Photo
  • 2. Take a few stones out of the pit to go into the cavities of the pig and even out the rest.
  • 3. Place a few layers of banana and/or ti leaves on the stones. Make sure these go all the way to the edge of the pit.
  • 4. Place two layers of banana stump strips on the leaves See Photo. Make sure these go all the way to the edge of the pit. If you just can’t get these you can use wet burlap sacks, or like that.
  • 5. Put the chicken wire over the pit and press down to fit. This makes getting all the stuff out of the pit, once it’s cooked, easier.
  • 6. Add a layer or two of banana and/or ti leaves.
  • 7. Put the hot stones in the leaf lined cavities of the pig. Use the shovel.
  • 8. Lower the pig into the pit belly side up; you can turn it over when you take it out, if that’s important to you. You do need to move right along here as the stones are cooling.
  • 9. Add all the other goodies you’ve decided to cook around the pig.
  • 10. Add another layer, or three, of banana and or ti leaves See Photo. Make sure these go all the way to the edge of the pit.
  • 11. Fold the edges of the chicken wire over the whole shebang.
  • 12. Cover this with the old bed sheets. You can use a poly tarp but we don’t want any plastic in our imu so we use old sheets.
  • 13. Cover this with the dirt you dug out of the pit to begin with. Make sure your dirt layer is as thick as possible to hold in the heat See Photo. You can cover this lot with burlap sacks, a tarp or cardboard boxes to help hold in the heat, optional.
  • 14. If you’re like us, it’s about 3:00 AM and time for the last beer and a bit of sleep. Don’t forget to put more beer on ice for the imu opening.
  • 15. It’s about noon and the smell coming from the imu has your gastric juices flowing nicely. Things will be cooked in about 6 hours, depending on how much you put in and how hot the stones are but we usually leave it longer and if you do it right the food never burns. You could start early in the AM and be eating in the afternoon, if you’re in a hurry.
  • 16. Get as much dirt off the imu as you can. Things have cooled down a bit so you can use your hands for the last little bit.
  • 17. Off with the sheets and the leaves.
  • 18. You can take the packets of food out of the imu one at a time if you like and then use the chicken wire to hoist out the pig. You will need a suitable platter or plank to hold the pig.
  • 19. Remove the stones from the cavities.
  • 20. You can take the pork off the bone if you like but we let people help themselves. The meat is so tender that it just falls off the bone.
  • 21. Unwrap the rest of the goodies and dig in.
  • Obviously, with a 70lb pig and all the other stuff that went into the imu we had more food left over than we ate. All of this keeps well in the fridge or freezer and you eat Hawaiian again next week. Is this better/different than pork roasted in an oven? Yep. As for condiments and such, I leave that up to you.

Reviews & Comments 11

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  • chefmal 9 years ago
    [O_o] Dude, you took a picture of it's face, that's harsh. I have no concept as to what emu tastes like but I'll bet this was amazing.
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  • otterpond 9 years ago
    EPIC! I wish I could have been there. I believe I can smell the smoked fish all the way here. Wonderful post thank you.
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  • jeef_boner 10 years ago
    Fantastic stuff. I particularly enjoyed the 'use the shovel' instruction! This is what food is all about - sharing.
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  • chuckieb 10 years ago
    Recipe, picture and story....all simply incredible and wonderful at the same time. Great post. Thank you for sharing.
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  • mrjwjohnson 10 years ago
    Now that's a happy Fathers Day! I've done some pit cooking on a much smaller scale with wild ducks, potatoes and veggies. Mother Earth cooking is better and different than cooking in an oven. The picture of the pig looks so good that I can almost taste it...I am envious ! The villagers here in Delmar, MD would never clean a pig and help dig a pit :( Oh well maybe I'll get a clambake going this fall. Thank you so much for sharing your Hawaiian Imu with us.
    Mr. J
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  • sosousme 10 years ago
    Wow, that is a great recipe and so detailed I think anyone who had the gumption would be able to pull it off. Thanks...
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  • crabhappychick 10 years ago
    What time is dinner? Bring on the pig!
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  • gourmetana 10 years ago
    This is an amazing recipe! In Portugal we roast pits and it is a national favorite. I love it! Yumm!!
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  • shandy 10 years ago
    I have what is called a Cuban grill to cook up to a 100 pound pig (takes about 5 1/2 hours because the pig is flattened out)but love the idea of grilling in the ground! Great Post!
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  • jkirk 10 years ago
    Hi RJ,
    I don't think I will ever be able to do this the right way here in Wiisconsin, but I sure would like to be a part of making one of these some day. (I guess I can at least dream about it). Let me know when make this again, and if I am in your area I will stop by and try it. In the mean time, I will sit back and enjoy the beer/wine drinking part of this recipe.
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  • 22566 10 years ago
    Good Morning RJ,
    Did I hear someone ring the dinner bell?
    Perfect....I'm hungry ~Grin~
    King of the Jungle.
    Thank-you for the Pork-n-the-Pit,sounds delicious.Your did that pig proud.
    Do I hear you yawning?
    That was a lot of work.
    Bed time....Here's your blankie.
    Sweet Dreams
    Kind Regards
    P.S. Thank-you for the stop by on 'The Fly' I never forget the Rum :)
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