I have to admit I’m quite today. Yesterday was a huge success. Toronto basked in a glorious and sunny 20C with little wind. Greek Easter is meant to be enjoyed outdoors with song, dance, food and drink.
I tried my best to photograph food and moments of the day but I did get caught up in the food preparation, good conversations and more wine that I perhaps should have not had.
The “main event” of Greek Easter is the lamb. Our family has been enjoying lamb on the spit for 15 years after enjoying the whole experience at a friend of the family. I was hooked ion the whole experience immediately and I set out to purchase our own “pit” for lamb on the spit.
A friend of our family sold these rotisseries that were special for lamb and Greek Easter. Below you will read how my family enjoys Greek Easter and lamb on the spit.
Lamb on the Spit
1 whole lamb (15-20 lbs)
1 1/2 cup salt
1/3 cup ground pepper
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup dried oregano
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
5-7 bags (18kg) charcoal,
1 long upholstery needle
- Ensure the spit (or rod) is cleaned, free of any rust, scoured with steel wool and rinsed of any cleaning agents. Wipe the spit with lemon juice and then treat with vegetable oil.
- Either hang or lay your lamb and throughly rinse the the inside and outside of the lamb with water. Allow the water drain away and pat-dry the lamb (this step aids in getting rid of much of the gameyness people associate with lamb).
- Place the spit through the lamb (rear to head) and if the head is still on your lamb, pierce the skull to help secure the spit.
- Break the hind legs by the bending them backwards and to allow you to tie them easier to the spit. Secure the hind legs very tightly with your butcher’s twine. Repeat this step with the front legs and also securely bind the neck to the spit.
- Using your butcher’s twine and an upholstelry needle, make a stitch across the length of the lamb’s spine, looping around the spit. It’s important that the stitch enters the meat near the spine, loops around the spit and then the needle comes back out of the body near the spine again. Loop the twine through your stitch and continue securing the spine to the spit until you’ve reached the shoulder.
- Rub the inside of the lamb with some vegetable oil and sprinkle some sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and dried oregano. Rub the the spices around with your hands for even distribution.
- Using the butcher’s twine and needle, stitch and close the opening to cavity.
- Rub the exterior of your lamb with vegetable oil (olive oil tends to burn) and season your lamb well with sea salt and black pepper.
- Get your fire pit started with some kindling wood and newspaper. When some burning embers are present, Add two bags of charcoal into the pit and allow about 30 minutes for the charcoals to get white hot.
- Separate your hot coals into two piles: one underneath the shoulder end, the other pile under the hind leg side. The mid-section of the lamb cooks the fastest and there’s enough residual heat from both piles to cook the mid-section evenly with the rest of the lamb.
- Every hour, replenish your pit with another bag of charcoal with 2 piles at each far end of your pit. When your older charcoal starts losing heat, just push the newer charcoals over to your two main charcoal areas.
- Your lamb should take 5-6 hours to be cooked through and during the last hour, mix a basting marinade of 1 part lemon juice, 3 parts olive oil with some salt and dried oregano to taste and baste frequently for the last hour.
- Your lamb will show signs of being “done” when the carcass starts to crack as it revolves around on the rotisserie.
- Transfer the lamb to a large baking tray, allow to rest 15-20 minutes then cut away all butcher’s twine and carve it into pieces for your dinner guests. At this point you may drizzle a Ladolemono sauce on the meat, some sea salt and more dried Greek oregano.
- To make your job easier next year, wash and clean the rod and any other grilling utensils so that the cleaning for next’s year Easter becomes less of a task.
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