All of this pit cooking is not done with fire in the pit. You let the fire basically burn out and you’re only cooking with residual heat of the rocks in the pit or in this case from the bricks around the pit. You build your shelf in the pit, and we’ll show you stuff as it comes out, and you put a steel plate on top of it, and then you cover it very, very generously with dirt.
The dirt actually cuts off all oxygen and what we all know about fires is that they have to have oxygen to burn. Basically by covering it with this top here, or with this dirt, is you’re cutting off all air, putting out the fire, but you’re also insulating it from the top.
You will see this as we’re unearthing it here. In traditional Oaxacan style, we have a cross that’s put on top of it so it looks like a grave for the animal. They will also put a bottle of mezcal there.
-Chef Rick, from the video, Barbacoa