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Cooking a whole lamb on a spit roaster is tradition in many cultures which seems to be spreading throughout Australia. A whole lamb is a great way to cook for a medium sized gathering, it tastes delicious and it provides a spectacle for everyone to drool over. 

In this post, I'd like to share with you a great recipe I've used many times for cooking a whole lamb on a spit. 



  • 17kg (approximately) whole lamb
  • 200g salt
  • 100g papper
  • 50g cumin
  • 50g oregano
  • 15 garlic cloves
  • 3 large crushed onions
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Basting mixture:150ml lemon juice, 250ml olive oil


  • Lather all the ingredients over the lamb both inside and out.
  • Put the crushed onions and rosemary into the stomach cavity
  • make small cuts in the legs and insert the garlic cloves

To see a previous blog post of how to marinate a whole lamb, click here

Attaching it to the spit:

  • You'll need a skewer at least 1300mm long, 2 large prongs, 1 back brace, 2 leg bracketsstainless steel wire and a basting brush
  • Pass the skewer through the front and back cavities of the lamb
  • Pierce the back brace through the spine of the lamb so that the U shape of the back brace straddles the skewer and the flat plate is on the back of the animal
  • Insert one large prong through each set of legs
  • Bend the legs to fit inside the V shape of the leg brackets and use some wire to hold them in place. 
  • Stich up the stomach cavity either using wire or a needle and thread to seal in the juices from the onions
  • If the neck on the lamb is long, I'd recommend tieing it down with some wire, otherwise, you'll find that it'll burn
  • Once the lamb is correctly affixed to the skewer, you're ready to add the whole lamb to a spit.
  • Make sure the animal is balanced to ensure even cooking. Click here to learn how to balance the lamb correctly


  • Using a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and salt, baste the animal every 20-30 minutes to keep it moist from the outside. Ideally use an enclosed basting jar so that flies and/or other nasties don't help themselves to your marinade

Cooking time:

Many things will affect your cooking time, however, allow around 5 hours to be on the safe side. If it's ready a little earlier, you can always push the charcoal to the side and raise the lamb to the top of the spit roaster so it stays warm but doesn't actually keep cooking. Use a cooking thermometer to test the internal temperature of the fleshiest part of the meat (the legs) and once it gets to 75 degrees, you know it's cooked. 

Trust me when I say, once you've cooked a whole lamb on a spit, you'll never be satisfied with a basic leg of lamb in the kitchen oven ever again!


  Rhiannon Peterson   By: Rhiannon Peterson


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