BBQ: Greek style whole lamb

There is something very primal about cooking an entire animal in one go.  It also requires a lot of time, patience and beer to do correctly.


  • 15kg whole lamb
  • 12 lemons
  • 24+ beers

Animal selection & preparation

The most critical is to select an appropriate animal for cooking.  For most of us, this means speaking with your local butcher in advance so that they can find you the perfect beast.  For this recipe, I am using a 15kg spring lamb.  This is about as big as I could manage on the 120cm spit roasting pole that I am using.

Its also important to name your lamb.  Here we have "Lambert", sitting on the counter at my local butcher.  As a ball park cost, Lambert cost me about $120.

Attaching your beast to the pole is tricky.  Essentially the pole goes through the upper chest of your beast, then out its rectum.  Hooks go through the animal's spine and the pole to keep him securely attached to the pole, while its legs are hooked through the attachment.  

Place 3 or 4 cut up lemons into the body cavity and stitch him up.

In my case I didn't have any proper butcher's string or wire, so I cut up coat hangers and bent them with pliers which actually worked really well.

With your beast on the pole, all stitched up its time for the hardest part of the cook, ensuring that the lamb is properly balanced on the pole.  Once you have moved the pole onto the barbecue, start the motor up to ensure that it spins evenly.  If the weighting is not correct, your beast will "fall" down one side then get stuck as the rotisserie tries to lift the heavier side.  This will not only result in uneven cooking, but also potentially break your motor.

Rub salt and pepper all over your beast, so that as he cooks, the fat and juices have something to hang on to.


Start a nice big fire in your rotisserie, I personally try to start with paper and kindling, but if you feel like cheating then I guess you could use fire lighters.



You will want to set aside at least 6 hours to cook your lamb (12-14 beers).  "Low and Slow" is always the best for cooking any meat, and it's doubly true for doing a whole animal in one go!

Prepare a big bowl of oil and lemon in approximately even quantities.  I'd start with about 6 lemons and an equal portion of oil.  Season liberally with salt and pepper and oregano.

Cook the lamb, basting each 20 minutes (or every second beer).

Keep in mind that as you cook, the lamb will crack and shift.  This means that it may become unbalanced on the spit, so you will have to keep a keen eye on it (well as keen as your beer goggles will allow).

For extra authenticity and to impress your friends, start basting the lamb with a bunch of basil.




Carving the lamb is surprisingly friend’s enjoyable (although the hundred beers consumed may have played a role).  The key is to avoid cutting your freinds fingers off as they try to sneak a taste of the delicious, succulent meat. 

We all enjoyed Lambert on pita bread complete with tomato, lettuce, onion, garlic sauce, chilli sauce and of course, more lemon!