How to Marinade a Full Lamb for Spit Roasting

How to Marinade a Full Lamb for Spit Roasting

A guide to seasoning a full lamb for spit roasting



Cooking a whole lamb on a large spit roaster is my favourite type of spit roasting. Sure there are specific cuts of lamb that also taste delicious on a spit roast such as a leg of lamb or lamb shoulders (used for gyros), but nothing beats a whole lamb on the spit.

Because it's something that even the most avid spit roasters don't do every week, it's easy to forget what herbs and spices you used to create those mouthwatering flavours.
At the time you think you'll remember, however 6 months down the track when you're preparing your next lamb, you have no idea what you did!

This time I decided to film the process so there's never second guessing myself again.

I usually order a 17kg lamb from the butcher as I find that this is the ideal weight for the best tasting lamb. It still has a lot of meat on it, but any heavier and you'll find that the lamb can be a bit tough and it's a bit too fatty. On this occasion (2014), I paid $7.99 per kg so the whole lamb (minus the head) set me back $135. Given it's enough meat to feed between 25-30 people, it works out to $5

per head.


To infuse the lamb with delicious flavours, I put a basic spit roast lamb recipe rub all over the lamb (both inside and out) consisting of a mixture of salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and smoky paprika. If you find that the spices aren't sticking to the skin of the animal, rub some olive oil over the lambs surface to add extra moisture.

You'll probably think you're adding WAY too much, but trust me, it's not much at all. Really rub it around and fill the stomach cavity. Go to town with it. Put whatever your favourite spices are, or whatever you would put on a leg of lamb in your normal oven. 

I also like to use crushed onion and garlic with fresh rosemary in the cavity of the stomach. All of that will infuse into the lamb and create a great flavour. Just crush it up and throw it in.
After you have the lamb all nice and ready, you'll need to sew up the stomach cavity to keep all the beautiful flavours inside so they don't fall out as it whole lamb rotates on the spit skewer. You can use a needle and thread, however, I prefer to use stainless steel wire.

Ideally, you'd want to marinate your full lamb the night before or at least a few hours so that the flavours have time to blend with the meat.

Stay tuned for our next video on how to attach a whole lamb to a spit. Or check out our related blog post How To Use a Back Brace for Spit Roasting A Lamb

If you're looking for some flavoursome recipes, look at other marinading ideas on our website.



by: Rhiannon Peterson