This Argentinean method of spit-roasting is fairly popular, and especially when it comes to cooking lamb. It is a fun way to cook, and the equipment not as costly or complicated.
To make an asado spit, both the metal rods which comprise the spit, should be flat, rather than round, as in the case of the horizontal spit. Each rod should be about 1 inch wide, and ¼ inch thick. The crossbar, about 28 inches long, is welded at right angles to the 70 inch vertical rod 4 inches from one end. The other end is sharpened so that the rod sticks firmly into the ground. A metal hook, to which each hind shank of the carcase is fastened, is then welded to either end of the crossbar. There is nothing worse than having your eagerly awaited roast collapse into the fire just as it is almost ready, so be sure that your spit, is sturdy enough to bear the full weight of your beast!
When purchasing a lamb carcase, ask the
butcher to remove the heat and neck. For an asado spit, you should leave the
kidneys in place and let them roast with the rest of the carcase. Traditionally
they are offered to the guest of honour before the meat is served to the other
To prepare the carcase for an asado spit, force the breast open and, using a knife with a sharp point and s short, sturdy handle, cut just through the rib bones at the spine, leaving the meat intact. Apply pressure to the breast bones to snap the ribs so that they lie flat. Cut through the cartilage between the pelvic bones, then through the sinews around the ball joint of the leg and press the shank down so that the leg lies flat. Insert the spit at the tail end of the beast, between the backbone and the layer of fat and connective tissue that covers it, and guide the point gently with your hand so that it emerges through the middle of the neck. Slip the sinews of the shanks over the hooks on the crossbar and fasten them with tin wire. Then cut open the thick layer of muscle on the leg so that it roasts more evenly, and fasten it to the crossbar with wire. Green sticks can be used to open up the carcase even more.
Once the carcase is firmly in place, force the spit into the ground about 30 cm to one side of the fire and leaning over it an angle of about 25 degrees from the vertical. The weight of the carcase will bend it even further to an angle of 45 degrees. Roast the inside of the carcase fires, arranging the coals so that the strongest heat is concentrated on the thicker areas, such as the leg. Then, about halfway through the cooking time, the spit must be pulled up, turned and reinserted into the ground so that the outside of the carcase can roast and the layer of fat covering it can cook to a crisp.
A lamb of 25 pounds takes a total of about 3 hours to cook through, and one of 45 pounds about 4-5 hours.
To give your asado lamb a truly Argentinean flavour, sprinkle Salmuera sauce on the inside of the carcase when it is cooked, and on the outside when the whole lamb is ready.
5 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon pickling spice
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