The art of spit roasting is an ancient form of cooking when meat was cooked in the open over a fire. Spit roasting is a perfect choice when you want to cook large joints of meat such as beef. However, if you haven’t tried spit roasting before, this brief guide can help you with the entire process.
Preparing the Spit
Before you start cooking, ensure all the screws in the spit are secured tightly so that the meat doesn’t fall off while you cook. Position the spit in an area that is less windy. The wind can affect the intensity of the fire.
You will need certain accessories to assemble the spit. These include skewers, charcoal for the fire, a rotisserie motor, spit frame or tripods or suspender rods to mount the skewers and butcher strings to bind the meat tightly.
Preparing the Beef Pieces
Wash the pieces clean and remove any extra fat.
You don’t want all that fat to drip down. Having just the right amount of fat helps the meat retain its juices. Marinade the meat for as long as possible.
Beef is a tough meat so be sure to marinate it overnight. This will ensure all the spices enter the meet thoroughly.
Skewering the Meat
Push the meat through the skewer and secure it in place by placing prongs on either side. Try to spread the meat as evenly as possible for better cooking. Uneven distribution also makes your rotisserie work harder while turning them over.
If using small chunks of beef, use flat gyros plates to hold them in place once you have skewered them.
If using de-boned beef pieces, wrap them tightly with butcher strings to hold them in place.
Lighting the Fire
Place the charcoal pieces pyramid-style in the middle of the cooking tray and light them at least thirty minutes before cooking. Once they have changed colour, spread them out according to the length of the meat you will be cooking.
Push the charcoal either at the front or the back of the tray so that the meat is not directly over it. This will burn the meat and the charcoal may also catch fire once the juices start dripping on them.
Cooking the Meat
While cooking, baste the meat every 15 to 20 minutes with a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, crushed garlic and sprigs of rosemary. This will prevent the meat from drying up or getting burnt too much. Continuous basting helps the meat retain its juices and you can enjoy soft succulent meat that has been cooked perfectly.
The cooking time depends on the amount of meat. Give at least 4 hours for a 10kg beef leg and 5 hours for a 15kg leg. 10kg beef gyros should take about 4 hours to get cooked.
The temperature setting depends on how you like your meat cooked. Cook your beef at 600 C for rare, at 650 C if you like it medium and at 750 C for really well-done meat both inside and outside.