I know a lot of you have done some cooking like this but I thought I'd toss out the idea for those that might not have seen it before. The idea is pretty simple. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate a thick layer of hot coals, add the item(s) you are cooking, cover with hot coals and then a layer of dirt.
In the past I've done this with pork roast and beef roast. We dig a pit. Toss in the hardwood of our choice, usually Hickory, and let it burn of a couple of hours. We would keep adding wood until we had a layer of hot coals about 6-8 inches deep. We wrapped our roasts with aluminum foil, tossed them on the coals then cover the hole with something like roofing tin then dirt on top to hold in the heat and keep out the oxygen. Let the roasts cook for about 8 hours and when you open it up you have some pretty tasty grub. If you use beef try to keep it to the edge of the hole and don't have quite as many coals under it. Pork has plenty of fat to keep it tender and prevent it from burning but beef is too trim to protect itself from the heat. So go easy with it.
You can do the same with beans in a dutch oven. Dig a hole about three feet deep and wide enough to have about six inches all around your dutch oven. Burn you wood down to coals like above then remove about 1/3 of the coals and sit the dutch oven down on the coals. Place aluminum foil over the oven then put the lid on. Return the 1/3 of coals to the sides and top of your oven then cover with dirt. If you have a bail on your dutch oven don't forget to place it up the up position so you can retrieve your oven without having to burn your pinkies trying to get to the bail. Again, let it cook about 8 hours.
Here's a menu for Bean Hole Beans from coldsplinters.com
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10 cups dried Great Northern beans
1 pound Salt Pork
2 1/2 cups molasses
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons dry hot mustard
1/2 cup butter
1. Dig a hole 3 feet deep, and wide enough to leave 6 inches around your pot on all sides. Line the hole with stones prior to starting the fire.
2. Build fire in the hole with dry hardwood, and keep it going for 3+ hours, until the hole is 3/4 full with hot coals.
3. Once the fire is about an hour old, prep pot by boiling beans for 45 minutes until their skins begin to peel back.
4. When fire is ready, line the bottom of the bean pot with thin strips of salt pork. Peel and cut the onions in half, and place them on top of the pork. Pour the beans on top into the pot, and mix in the molasses, black pepper, and dry mustard. Slice the butter and place on top, and then add enough boiling water to cover the lot of it by an inch. Cover it all with aluminum foil, and then place on the lid of the bean pot.
5. Remove 1/3 of the coals with a shovel, lower the pot into the hole, fill in the sides and top with coals, and then cover it all with dirt. You should end up with about 2 feet of dirt on top.
6. Let the beans stew overnight, dig ‘em out the next morning, and enjoy.