If you’ve gone through your life thinking that a good lamb spit was only about oregano, aladi and pepper, then you’re missing out.
Catherine Kladakis speaks to the experts, The Spit Man George Michaels, and Stavros Abougelis who get creative with lamb, ouzo and feta cheese. Mmmm!
“The ultimate secret of a lamb spit is in the meat itself,” says Michaels, who has been cooking spit roasts with his renowned father, Petros Michailidis since he was five.
“Stick to a 17kg lamb, which will melt in your mouth. Once you start moving over 20kg, the meat gets fattier and tougher”.
His other little secret is to cook using mallee root charcoal, which releases genuine wood smoke flavours and assists with bringing out the original flavours and texture of the lamb.
“My belief is that if you use this charcoal, you will get to taste the real flavour of the lamb, without adding any ingredients to it”.
But if you prefer a bit of flavour, he suggests oregano, aladi and olive oil, as well as paprika.
“Sometimes I get exotic and layer the lamb with different ingredients, such fetta cheese, yaourti, or shavings of kefalograviera.
“To prepare at home, alternate layers of forequarter lamb pieces with the cheese or yoghurt over five layers, add salt and soak overnight. It is then ready to skewer on the spit.”
Whilst Stavros Abougelis has even used the trusty ouzo to flavour his lamb, he prefers to stick to the the basic marinade of oregano, aladi and pepper. Optional extras he suggests include garlic, lemon zest, orange juice, fresh mint, and grated onion.
If using a whole lamb on the spit, see the tips below for a melt in the mouth taste every time.
- Marinade the lamb to your liking the night before or on the day. If you want something different, you can add patates or yaorti for a tangy taste to the inner side of the lamb. Baste the inner lamb including the stomach with lemon juice and olive oil, then sow up with aluminium wire from the lower to the upper part of the lamb to prevent it from falling apart.
- It is also essential that your spit rod includes special holding hooks or spikes that hook into each end of the lamb so that it turns properly
- Use the lemon juice and oil to baste the gyro or lamb every half hour (or if if it looks dry) as it is slowly roasting.
- The perfect cooking time for a 17kg-19kg lamb is between three and a half to four hours.