After the agaves are harvested, the pencas (leaves) are shaved off with machetes, revealing the piña (body).
A conical pit oven is dug into the ground, and a wood fire is lit in the bottom. When the flames are reduced to barbecue friendly embers, river rocks are piled on top of the wood, then the piñas, then palm fronds or woven mats, and finally the top is covered with dirt sealed with dirt. Depending on the size of the piñas, the ambient temperature, and other factors, the oven will be left to roast for somewhere between 3 and 10 days, with the piñas soaking up the flavors of the earth and smoke.