Weekend entertaining: meat & fire

Nothing says celebration more to me than a whole animal for roasting on a spit. The longer process, the time taken to prepare and then cook the meat over many hours not to mention the visual spectacle makes for a very special occasion for a gathering of friends.

We were lucky enough (a little while ago now) to be a part of a special birthday for a local friend of ours who hosted a wonderful evening for friends and family. The highlight of the celebration was the whole lamb on the spit – marinated in herbs and wine and roasted slowly over coals for many hours – producing some of the sweetest, pink, tender flavoured meat I’ve been lucky enough to sample.

The lamb preparation started well before the first champagne was poured for guests and I was lucky enough to be there to see all the action. The lamb was massaged with a mixture of finely chopped herbs, oil and wine by hand and then brushed with the same mixture with a large bunch of rosemary. The inside of the meat was treated much the same way but also had about a loaf of sliced bread placed inside to act as a sponge for the red wine poured in after the sides had been sown together. The meat was then placed on the spit to roast over the coals for approximately 4-5 hours. While it cooked Col made sure that the lamb was brushed with the herb marinade to keep it moist and evenly seasoned. There was even the occasional bunch of rosemary thrown onto the coals to give the smoke some flavour.

By the time the guests arrived the lamb was cooking and smelling sensational. You couldn’t help yourself but stand by and watch the cooking while sampling some simple, delicious canapes prepared by the Birthday girl herself: chorizo & prawn skewers, an array of beautiful soft and hard cheeses while the champagne was flowing and the evening mists rolled in.

The lamb was ready after about 4 and a half hours and was left to rest for about 20 minutes giving it a chance to soak up all those juices and tenderise. Guests were given heaving piles of tender meat alongside some simple and delicious sides – a medley of fresh tomatoes & oregano from the garden, some zucchini and chili and a simple green salad popping with sweet pomegranite seeds. It was simple. Delicious. Fabulous. And the perfect way to feed a large group of friends for a special occasion.

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This was originally posted in the Autumn 2013 issue of BEVERLEY Magazine back in the day.

Do you ever cook meat on a spit? Nothing better!
Got any tips you’d care to share?


  1. What an amazing process! Something quite beautiful about watching someone perfecting a craft. Thanks for sharing again for a newish reader like me 🙂

  2. My brother in law did a pig on a spit as the main event for Christmas lunch. It was rather sad when I walked into his back garden & there was a little piggy on a pole ( I have a glass cabinet with my pig collection in it, yes I am a bit odd

    • No I get that! It can be quite confronting seeing the whole beast and certainly looking like ones you have a collection of…I get it!

  3. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Great pics Beth ,we have had lamb on the spit quiet often but never as fancy!

  4. Sensational

  5. Oh my god! That looks like heaven! Filing that away for when we next host a “do”

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