Maui, Hawaii

Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

Imu roast for Thanksgiving!

We were fortunate to be able to participate in an imu again this year. An imu is an underground oven, a traditional Hawaii style of cooking. For much more information and ‘how to’, check out this link. When you go to a luau, typically a whole pig is roasted in an imu and unearthed during a special ceremony. One of the schools built an imu as a fundraiser – a few parents, teachers and the kids did all the work, while I happy bought my tickets, dropped off my prepared turkey yesterday evening and then picked it up again this morning. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy! It’s a really neat experience.

A few tickets? Well…. I thought we’d do a turkey and some pork (two wrapped containers) but as Sig pointed out – we had two turkeys in the freezer, so why not just cook them both? The good news is – our Christmas turkey is carved, packaged and in the freezer!

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raw turkey glam shot!
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my turkey rub – butter, poultry spices, garlic, salt and pepper – not traditional Hawaiian, but the way I like it

 

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First students dug a pit, stacked keawe wood, surrounded by lava rock. Once the fire burned down, the rocks fell onto the fire/ashes. Then they layered banana stalks, turkeys, banana leaves, wet burlap bags and a plastic tarp, weighed down with dirt around the edges.

 

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the imu pit in the morning

 

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unearthing the imu

 

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imu with tarp off (you see the burlap sacks)

 

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opening the imu

 

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the first turkey to come out

 

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unloading the imu

 

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turkeys and other meats/vegetable dishes with the imu in the background

 

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the emptied imu

 

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glam shot – imu roasted turkey. One of our friends calls it ‘haole’ turkey (haole being a Hawaiian term for Caucasian). Being cooked in an imu means no browned crispy skin

 

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carved turkey with pan drippings

 

How is it?

The meat is deliciously moist. It has a bit of a unique smell – a bit smokey from the keawe wood fire, and a little different from the banana stalks/leaves. It is absolutely delicious. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in an imu, do! Also, word to the wise, choose a smaller turkey. Our friends’ 20 lb turkeys still needed to spend some time in the oven while the meat just fell off the bone on my 13 lb bird.