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Backyard Imu
Sparkle Mark
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 05, 2004
Posts: 301
From: Porter Ranch, CA
Posted: 2009-07-02 6:08 pm   Permalink

Mmmmmmmm......... where's my shovel?

I'm gonna have to make a pit, thanks MDMike!

Best
Mark
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7263
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-12-03 6:25 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-06-18 06:21, Johnny Dollar wrote:
this forth of july, my brother and i are cooking an 80 lb pig in an above-ground "imu" of sorts made by stacking concrete blocks. pictures soon



J$, do you remember how that worked out? Any tips for me?

My brother and I are getting ready to cook an 80-100 lb Luau Pigs for a Christmas party. We had looked at a Caja China and decided to make one from concrete block. So today we picked up a couple of chickens, a 15 lb brisket and 100 lbs of mesquite charcoal to do a trial run. We started with 2x4 foot block box 3 rows high and a iron lid. We put the meat inside, built the fire on top and watched the thermometer. After a couple of hours we could just barely keep the telp at 200 and we wanted more like 250. So we shoveled off the coals and removed 1 layer of blocks (they were not cemented together). With less air to heat, temp was easy to maintain in the 250 range. After reaching proper temp, we cooked for about 3 hours. Cooked perfectly- the chickens were falling apart with a nice crispy skin. The brisket was still a little too pink on the inside. I could have put it back in the pit for another hour or so but I wrapped it in foil and popped it in the oven at 300 for a while. Overall, it was a good learning experience. Figured out how to maintain the temp, how to move the coals so we can turn the pig and glaze it at the end, learned that dragging the lid off drops grit in the meat.

The plan to split the pig down the middle, cook half for a party next Friday and then cook the other half the following Saturday for another party. Brush it good about 30 minutes from the end with Teriyaki glaze and cover with pinapple slices. When we pull the pig from the pit, we'll dump the leftover hot coals into the pit, replace the iron top, and put the serving platter on top of the iron lid - should work like a warming table to keep the pork toasty during serving. (Serving platter is a 2x3 foot metal driveway oil drip pan ) I will be sure to post pictures of the finished piggie.




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[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2011-12-03 18:30 ]


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4672
Posted: 2011-12-04 11:35 pm   Permalink

MDM what can't you do? That's so impressive. Wendy

 
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2953
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2011-12-06 07:48 am   Permalink

my brother (who is an engineer) ended up salvaging some switch gear equipment and building this pig-roasting box. here is a 65-lb pig on the rig. coals went inside with sheet metal/foil to reflect the heat back on the pig. it was rotated manually on the axel, although he has plans to rig up a motor to turn it continually.






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Q-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 195
From: East TN
Posted: 2011-12-06 09:35 am   Permalink

Nice looking pits!

I've never built my own (in either fashion), but I do know that you should try to keep the coals in the corners for the block pit since the hams and shoulders require the most heat. In theory, this will keep the ribs and loin from overcooking. I guess you could do something similar for the spit with coals primarily at either end.

I'd love to see the finished result.

CHEERS!


 
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Tiki Zen
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Joined: Mar 15, 2007
Posts: 352
From: Too far from the beach Bowling Green, KY
Posted: 2011-12-06 11:54 am   Permalink

Everything you could want to know about building a temporary concrete block pig cooker in the Cuban style.

http://cuban-christmas.com/pigroast.html

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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7263
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-12-06 6:37 pm   Permalink

That's a good looking pig Johnny D. Q-Tiki & Tiki-Zen, thanks for the advise. I had seen that 3 Cuban Guys website and got some good info from there. They are cooking their pig above the fire (but still indirect), we are building our fire over the pig similar to the Caja China

Since we are cooking for 2 parties, 8 days apart we were originally going to split a 100 lb pig and cook half for each party. But we decided instead to get two 50 lb pigs instead. For one thing it solves that "where am I going to store half a dead pig for a week" problem. We were going to put a handful of chickens in the pit too and glaze them with spicy orange sauce. But it turns out that whole uncooked chickens cost $5.50, cooked chickens are $5. Instead of worrying about the chickens cooking at a different rate than the pig, we'll just use the precooked birds and glaze them at the last minute

1st pig is this Friday, I'll post pics.
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VanTiki
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Nov 25, 2005
Posts: 1016
From: Hawaii
Posted: 2011-12-06 6:56 pm   Permalink

Great home-grown imu!

Wanted to share that just up the street from me is Kailua Elementary School. Every year they do a MASSIVE community imu fundraising project. They dig out a BIG imu in the middle of the playground, and (for a fee) you can bring anything you want for them to bury in it and cook. They let it go all day long, and when they open it up you can smell it all the way over here at my house! A fantastic community fundraiser that brings folks together and raises cultural awareness.

Today I rode by the school on the way to lunch and snapped a quick shot of the yearly snow delivery. This is the only way island kiddies get to experience snow!



Someday I wanna come to one of your luaus!

Henrik "VanTiki"
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7263
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-12-10 11:51 am   Permalink

Van, you're welcome anytime! We're having one this Saturday - climb aboard the friendly skies and come on down!

Well, we got the first of 2 pigs done last night. I'm recording this here for anyone who wants to try this method (also to have it written down for me next time, my brain isn't what it used to be )

The hardest part of re-creating this would be the 1/8 steel plate we used for the top. I just happened to have a piece laying around that was 30x48 inches, so we made the box to fit using 23 concrete blocks stacked 2 high. We poured the bricks full of sand and wet them down, seemed like it would help hold the heat in but I don't know if it was neccesary. There are 8 red clay bricks in the bottom of the oven to hold the roasting pan off the ground. Be sure built your oven over bare dirt or sand, not asphalt or grass. You could built it over concrete but it might stain the concrete.



You can see on the right hand side there are 2 half bricks - one was not filled with sand and had a wire handle wrapped around it. The ideas was to use it as a peep hole but we didn't need it.

We bought a 50 lb pig already dressed. We butterflied him using a cleaver and a hammer to split the spine, but not the skin underneath - he laid out nice and flat when we were done. We seasoned him with garlic cloves pushed into slits cut into the muscle, lots of dry rub, pineapple juice injection, and a little Liquid Smoke. The "roaster pan" was a new 2x3 foot galvanized driveway oil drip pan we picked up at an automotive store. (Note; TikiZen mentioned below that a galvanized tray may give off toxic fumes. The temp in the pit is 250 degrees max, that should be well below zinc's vapor point - but I am not expert, if you want to duplicate this you'll need to assess the risk for yourself) You cannot see it here, but we put an apple-sized ball of foil into the mouth to hold the mouth open and later be replaced with an apple.



We started with the rib side up, the back (skin) side would be last so it would get browned and so we could glaze it. We put a digital thermometer on a cable in the thickest part of the shoulder and put the steel lid over the top, we put some wire handles on the ends of the lid so we could lift it off later. On our trial run last week, we got some sand in our brisket, mostly because we drug the lid off. Using the wire handles to lift the lid helped. This time we had put foil over the pig to help shield it from any debris, but the foil was reflecting too much heat and the pig was not cooking so we removed it. We poured a bunch of lump charcoal to top of the lid and lit it up. The steel lid warped some from the heat, the 2x6 boards around the lid helped fill the gaps between the warped lid and the bricks. We just had to be careful that the coals didn't get too close to the wood.



You can also see that we stacked another 4 bricks next to the oven so we would have a place to set the hot lid and coals when we moved the lid to open the oven. We kept adding more charcoal as needed to keep the oven temp at about 250 degrees. We stirred the fire occasionally and removed some of the ash (ash is a good insulator). We also ended up putting a fan blowing on the coals to bring the temp up a little.



After about 3 1/2 hours of cooking time the internal meat temp was 140 degrees, we moved the lid over, flipped the pig, and put the lid back. We continued to stoke the fire to keep it to a constant 250 degrees. After about 2 more hours, we opened the lid, injected under the skin with some Teriyaki glaze, brushed the pig liberally with the glaze, and layed down a bunch of pineapple slices and cherries. We put the lid back on for another 30 minutes to brown the glaze a little and the pulled it out, meat temp was about 170 degrees.


It was cooked perfectly- the meat was falling apart and good flavored, the skin was brown and crisp, everyone really enjoyed it as you can see in this "after" pic


When we were ready to serve, we removed the pig, dumped the hot coals from on top into the pit, replaced the steel plate top, and put the pig and the tray on top of the steel plate. It keep the meat steaming hot in 50 degree weather for more than 2 hours.
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Life is short, smile while you still have your teeth.


[ This Message was edited by: MadDogMike 2011-12-17 22:15 ]


 
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danlovestikis
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4672
Posted: 2011-12-10 1:03 pm   Permalink

Wow wow wow wow wow, that was a fun ride to see something requiring so much thought and work. Such manly work! Wendy
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Johnny Dollar
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2003
Posts: 2953
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
Posted: 2011-12-12 05:01 am   Permalink

impressive, thanks for sharing!

 
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TikiDaye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2010
Posts: 137
From: Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Posted: 2011-12-12 11:51 am   Permalink

Awesome, Mike... Now I'm hungry!

Can't wait to see pics from pig #2

Peace,
Jason <><


 
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Tiki Zen
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 15, 2007
Posts: 352
From: Too far from the beach Bowling Green, KY
Posted: 2011-12-12 12:03 pm   Permalink

Great looking cook. You might avoid using a galvanized tray next time. I'm certainly not an expert, and am just passing on what I've read elsewhere, but I've always heard that galvanized metal is not food safe and there is a risk of zinc poisoning. I've seen several sites devoted to whole-pig roasting that use chain-link fencing as a grilling grate, and they all warn against using the galvanized product.


 
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Q-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 195
From: East TN
Posted: 2011-12-12 12:13 pm   Permalink

Looks great! Thanks for posting the pics.

Cheers!


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7263
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2011-12-12 1:14 pm   Permalink

Thanks all, more pics this Saturday. Zen, I had seen those warnings against galvanized too but I think were OK (or at least I hope so ) Zinc fumes are pretty nasty but maximum temperature that it is exposed to in this pit is 250 degrees which should be well under zinc's vapor point. I definitely would not use galvanized metal as a grate above a fire where temps can reach 1500 degrees or more.
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