Cooking lamb in a barbecue pit is a slow process, requiring a full day of preparation and cooking. Often you will dig the pit the evening before and nurture the fire all night. The next morning the prepared lamb goes on the coals and you close the pit to cook until dinner time. When properly prepared, the meat will be remarkably tender and flavoured by the smoke from the coals.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Large rocks or firebrick
- Bricks or soil
- Large sheet of metal
- Kindling and small hardwood logs
- Banana leaves or burlap
- Seasonings for lamb
- Grill rack, optional
- Meat thermometer
Dig a hole to a depth of approximately 3 feet and wide enough to accommodate the whole dressed lamb with a few inches to spare on each side. The hole for the pit should be well away from overhanging trees or roof lines and nearby structures.
Place large rocks or fire bricks covering the bottom of the hole. The stones or bricks hold in the heat and cook the meat more evenly than coals alone.
Place kindling and small hardwood logs on top of the stones, filling the hole approximately 1/3 full. Light the fire and keep it going for approximately six to eight hours or until you establish a bed of coals, adding more wood as needed to keep the pit approximately 1/3 full.
Spread the coals evenly over the bottom of the pit.
Prepare the lamb, seasoning it and wrapping it securely in banana leaves or burlap and foil. Use several layers of foil so that the lamb is completely sealed inside.
Place the lamb directly onto the coals or onto a rack placed on the coals. Cover the pit with a large sheet of metal anchored with soil or bricks. In cold weather, cover the metal with soil for more insulation.
Tips and warnings
- Roast the lamb until done, approximately 62.8 degrees Celsius for medium-rare, 160F for medium and 170F for well-done. Large pieces of meat will take from eight to 15 hours or longer, depending on the size of your lamb, the heat of your coals and the weather. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature at the centre of the lamb.
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