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How to Make an Underground Oven (Dirt Oven DIY)

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We are now prepared for the coming Zombie Apocalypse. And if the Mayans ever get it right, we’re ready for them, too. We wouldn’t have been back in 2012, but NOW we can be secure in the knowledge that we are going to survive. No, we haven’t stockpiled weapons, but we DO have a really cool underground oven! Yep, we can cook in the dirt. It’s no microwave, but it makes for very tender pork ribs, that’s for sure!
First we (and by we, I actually mean the men in the family) dug a hole in the ground wide enough to accommodate the grill racks. Ours was 5′ by 1½’ and 2½’ deep. They used bricks to lift the racks off the ground and leave room for the hot coals. Then the sides were built up with cinder blocks so it was completely lined all the way around. I’m more of a visual learner, so here you go:
The next step before putting the food on the racks and closing up the oven is to build a roaring wood fire in the pit. Let it burn high and hot (continually) for 2 hours and then rake out the coals until there’s no flame and it’s just coals and ashes under the racks. While the fire is burning, it’s time to prepare the meat! Just look at that beautiful rack of pork spare ribs! Make a tasty dry rub and massage it into those babies! Then wrap the racks tightly in at least 3 layers of foil, making sure there is no meat exposed. When the fire is out, place the meat on the racks. Be careful- it is REALLY hot in there!
So now that your fire is burned out and you put your foil-wrapped ribs in on the grates, it’s time to commit. There’s no going back after this point, so be sure everything is ready and in there! (We should have done our corn on the cob and beans in here, too. Next year.) Place a sheet of tin over the oven and then grab a shovel- it’s time to bury it all! Cover the whole thing in 4″ of dirt.
Now, walk away and enjoy some family time for 2½ hours. Then send down the manly men to go dig up meat from the ground. This is very cool to them and they are happy to do it. Just like they are happy to play with fire. (Don’t tell them, but next year when we roast the corn and put the beans in Dutch ovens to cook, they will actually be taking care of the whole meal.)
For more details, photos and an update, please visit my blog post link below!

To see more: http://www.365ishpins.com/vol-2-day-15-how-to-make-an-underground-oven/

  • Lightfeather
    Lightfeather Bowling Green, KY
    on Apr 13, 2015

    My people have used this way for a long time. It's actually called an earth oven yet we don't use foil or cement blocks. We use large stones to make the walls and have two areas. Food is wrapped in leafs.

    • Teresa McDonald Neville
      Teresa McDonald Neville Collinsville, IL
      on Apr 14, 2015

      Lightfeather, maybe she was just wondering what people you were referring to. that was the way I took her question.

  • Stephanie Horsting Shoultz
    Stephanie Horsting Shoultz Loogootee, IN
    on Apr 13, 2015

    Love this!! I can't wait to try this. So much simplier than the deep hole pit

    • Nicole Burkholder
      Nicole Burkholder Murrieta, CA
      on Apr 13, 2015

      @Stephanie Horsting Shoultz Yes, you don't need too much space-just enough for the racks and room for the coals underneath!

  • Fred LaPoint
    Fred LaPoint Livermore Falls, ME
    on Apr 13, 2015

    first time ever seeing this type of cooking done was on a Thanksgiving while working at a youth camp..We celebrated Thanksgiving with a "Turkey in the Hole" dinner..it was awesome and the bird just melted off the bone and in your mouth.. Best Turkey I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

    • Nicole Burkholder
      Nicole Burkholder Murrieta, CA
      on Apr 13, 2015

      @Fred LaPoint The second time we used the oven we did turkeys and they were SO GOOD! We've also done several chickens in it and the meat stays tender and juicy. What a fun thing to do for youth camp!

  • Amy W.
    Amy W. Clermont, FL
    on Apr 13, 2015

    We have had an earth iven for years, l still remember my dad cooking whole suckling pigs for family reunions we use ours all during the year l have cooked many turkeys, hams, boston butts etc...we too used stones to line ours and also we cover the top with a sheet of aluminum and cover it with more stones, not dirt...hopefully you will eventually start using yours more than once a year...

    • Nicole Burkholder
      Nicole Burkholder Murrieta, CA
      on Apr 13, 2015

      @Amy W. We actually have! We liked it so much that we used it all summer for cookouts and even did a turkey in there for Thanksgiving. Oh yum!!!

  • Cindy
    Cindy Colorado Springs, CO
    on Apr 13, 2015

    I have never hear of that before (& Im not young) I live in the west coast. I must say that you have a great thing going on :) Around here we use BBQ's LOL

    • Nicole Burkholder
      Nicole Burkholder Murrieta, CA
      on Apr 13, 2015

      @Cindy we are in southern California! :) So you can do it anywhere. You just need a little space. Having some property helps. (And yes, we have a gas grill, too for those quick backyard parties) :)

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