Beginners guide to Hangi using your Whanau Cooker

Things you will need:  (*available on our website*)

  • Whanau or Whanau Plus cooker (KC1/ KC2)*
  • Double Ring Burner*
  • Damp Muslin Cloth* filled with stuffing (recipe available on our website) 
  • Damp Hessian Cover* 
  • Fine Manuka Wood Smoking Chips (soaked for an hour)
  • Volcanic Rocks*
  • Kawakawa herb seasoning*
  • Horopito herb seasoning*
  • Sea Salt
  • Kitchen Scales (handy to get a rough idea of portion sizing)
  • Veggies: 1x large head of cabbage, potatoes, kumara, corn, pumpkin or your choice
  • Meat of your choice (see our suggestions below)
  • Option 1: For a quick no fuss Hangi in your Kiwi Cooker, we use chicken drums, thighs, pork belly strips and lamb neck chops.  It is important to make sure all the pieces are roughly the same size to ensure a quick, even cook.  We recommend 100g size portions for beginners. 
  • Option 2: This option can take up to an hour longer and can be slightly tricky. We recommend lamb leg roasts, pork shoulders and whole chickens (each item averaging 2kg). For the best results we use bone-in roasts from a local butcher, ideally rested at room temperature.

Prepping a Quick Hangi for beginners 

Meat option 1: Using 2 Baskets

  1. As a rough guide we like to cut our corn cobs in half, potato and pumpkin no bigger than 100g (just half a medium sized potato), we have found it pays to cut the kumara slightly smaller for the best results
  2. In a large bowl generously season your meat portions with salt, Kawakawa and Horopito seasoning and set aside
  3. Remove leaves from your head of the cabbage, and use to line the bottom of your first basket
  4. Evenly distribute the desired amount of meat portions in the one basket, leaving gaps in between for air flow
  5. Take your second basket and line it with remaining cabbage leaves
  6. Add veggies to your basket and season with Kawakawa, Horopito and salt
  7. Quarter any leftover cabbage and nestle amongst your veg basket, with the cut side facing up
  8. Place your damp muslin cloth filled with stuffing on top of your vegetables, so they are covering your vegetables
  9. Now it's time to setup your cooker for pre-smoking

Prepping a Longer Hangi for Beginners (Option 2)

This method is what we use at Kiwi Cookers to achieve the real Hangi taste we crave.  Although this technique (seasoning, stuffing bag, smoking, rocks) is essentially the same for the double basket setup, we prefer the single basket for larger cuts of meat and veggies. This can be slightly tricky and we recommend building up to this for beginners.  The key to a perfectly cooked Keg Hangi is the steam circulation inside your cooker, and the correct portion sizing.


  1. Line the bottom of your single basket with cabbage leaves 
  2. Generously season your roast cuts with Kawakawa, Horopito and salt, and place in the bottom of your basket
  3. Cut leftover cabbage into quarters and loosely pack in between your meats facing up if possible. The idea is to create some air flow between your meats and your veggies on top.
  4. Now add your potatoes and kumara, we aim for an average portion size of 150g (usually 1 med size potato or a small sized kumara cut in half or thirds)
  5. Now add larger roast size chunks (200g+) of pumpkin
  6. Season well with Kawakawa, Horopito and sea salt
  7. Place your muslin cloth filled with stuffing over your veggies
  8. Now it's time to set up your cooker guys! Note: we have found best results with a 3.5 hour cook time.

Setting up your cooker

We recommend always using your Kiwi Cooker in a well ventilated area. Ideally covering your cooker from the elements 

With your ring burner on the ground, attach the hose to the gas bottle then check that all connections are nice and tight. It's important to check your gas and hose connections for leaks before each cook, you can use soapy water. Spray hose connections and check for no bubbles.

You can now place your stand around the burner, Turn on the outer ring and then ignite your burner and then place your Keg on the stand with the Volcanic rocks spread evenly around the bottom of the Keg.

Pre Smoking 

For a delicious, mild smokey flavour add 1/3 of a cup of pre soaked manuka dust or fine chips to the bottom of your Kiwi Cooker, then add your meat and your vegetable baskets on top. 

Put your damp muslin cloth filled with your stuffing on top of the vegetables, then cover with a damp hessian cover.

Pop the lid on your cooker and gently smoke on a low heat for 10-15 mins. Turn off your burner and leave your cooker closed for 10-15 mins giving the smoke time to settle in.

Cooking Your Kai

  1. Now your keg is set up and you have smoked your Kai
  2. Remove the lid and hessian cover and set aside, now remove the baskets and add 1.5 litres of boiling water to the base of your cooker.
  3. Now add your baskets, we put meat on the bottom, followed by veggies, a wet stuffing bag and a wet hessian cover. The damp hessian cover will create a low pressure seal around your lid as well as locking in the flavour.
  4. Pop the lid on your cooker and ensure that it sits nice and snug. 
  5. Set a timer for 2.5 hours for option 1 and 3.5 hours for option 2

Note: For best results, we recommend not opening your cooker until the recommended time has passed.

Pro tip: You want to keep a close eye on steam coming from your cooker, once it's reached boiling temp (you will see a lot of steam coming from under the lid) it's important to turn the burner on half, then back up to full 30mins from the end of the cook.

Easy Cleaning

  1. Fill up your Kiwi Cooker with detergent and water and soak baskets inside 
  2. Turn your burner on low and pop the lid on
  3. Simmer for upto an hour
  4. Remove baskets and scrub basket with steel wool
  5. Drain out most of the water and scrub out your cooker with steel wool
  6. We recommend scrubbing the wind breaker stand and outside of your cooker with stainless cleaner and a scourer pad for best results

We hope you enjoy your Hangi and your Kiwi Cooker. Feel free to join our community “Kiwi Cooker Korero” on Facebook for more ideas on how to use your cooker