A Luau

The idea of building a pit to cook in is as old as time. What you cook in it can be as complicated or as easy as you want, and its size can be whatever the labour force allows – a much better usage for bob-a-job week than ruining the paintwork on your car. Suggestions for food to cook in the pit are ears of sweetcorn, potatoes, fish fillets wrapped in foil with butter and seasoning, chops or sausages wrapped in foil, clams, mussels or lobsters. Use your imagination and experiment.


  1. Drive four posts into the ground to delineate a rectangular area about 1.5 × 1.75 m/5 × 8 ft. Dig out to a depth of 45 cm/18 in, banking the sand or earth round the edges.
  2. Line the pit with smooth, dry pebbles (bricks will also do).
  3. Start a small fire on top of the stones in the middle and gradually add logs until you fill the whole pit.
  4. Keep the fire stoked for at least an hour, then allow to burn down for another hour to ensure the stones are properly heated.
  5. Carefully rake the embers from the pit without disturbing the stones.
  6. As quickly as possible, spread well-rinsed seaweed or non-poisonous green leaves over the stones in a layer about 15 cm/6 in. deep.
  7. Lay the prepared food in a single layer on top of the seaweed or leaves.
  8. Spread a 15 cm/6 in. layer of seaweed or leaves over the food. Make sure the food is completely covered.
  9. Cover with a tarpaulin that extends at least 30 cm/12 in. beyond the sides of the pit.Weigh down the edges with stones. Let the food cook for at least 3 hours.