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What Is Rotisserie Lamb?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 16, 2024
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Rotisserie lamb is any cut of lamb skewered on a spit and continuously turned over a low flame. Cooks must be sure to keep the meat moist because rotisserie lamb has the tendency to dry out if it is not basted properly. If done correctly, this method often gives the lamb a dark, flavorful crust and a juicy, succulent inner layer of meat. Though rotisserie-style roasting is a relatively ancient cooking method, it has transformed from an easy way to suspend meat over a fire to an art form. When cooking rotisserie lamb, modern cooks have a wealth of tools at their disposal, along with plenty of flavoring choices.

Cooks have several options when choosing a cut of meat for rotisserie lamb. The leg and shoulder are both good choices because they’re naturally column-shaped and should fit easily onto a skewer. This rounded shape also helps ensure the lamb cooks evenly. The whole lamb may also be cooked rotisserie-style, but this may not be the best choice for a beginner. Roasting an entire lamb requires the use of a very large skewer suspended over some kind of fire pit because many grills are not large enough to accept the whole animal.

Most of the time, rotisserie lamb shoulders and legs should fit easily onto rotisserie assemblies made to sit inside grills. Some grills come with these accessories, though many hardware and home supply stores sell rotisseries separately. Lamb to be roasted this way should typically have the bone removed. Experienced cooks may do this at home, but most butchers can do it for the inexperienced home chef. When the meat is prepared properly, the cook must merely slide it onto the skewer and secure it with a little trussing string.

In most cases, cooks should set the rotisserie lamb onto the grill, about 6 inches to the left or right of the heat source. This usually prevents the lamb from scorching and gives the cook plenty of room to place an aluminum tray under the cooking meat. The tray catches fat drippings, allowing the cook to collect them with a tube baster and squirt them over the meat. Basting every 30 minutes or so should give the lamb plenty of good flavor and keep it from becoming dry.

Though some cooks might enjoy rotisserie lamb without any additional seasonings, most people use a marinade or dry rub to infuse the meat with more flavor. Lemon pepper, rosemary, spicy yogurt, and mesquite seasoning are all viable options. Fruited marinades, especially those containing pineapple and a little mint, might also be delicious on rotisserie lamb.

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Discussion Comments

By Krunchyman — On Jul 10, 2014

This may seem a bit unusual, but I use rotisserie lamb for Memorial Day, instead of traditional meats. Even though it's a lot more complicated than grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, it's a nice change of pace. It really helps you to expand your horizons, as well as giving you much more experience with cooking meats.

By Viranty — On Jul 09, 2014

Does anyone know if rotisserie lamb is available at restaurants? At the places I've been going out to eat at, it hasn't been on the menu. However, this may be due to the fact that it's not a "casual" dish, and it has to be prepared a certain way.

By Chmander — On Jul 09, 2014

Normally, I don't buy lamb because it's way too expensive for me. However, I think it would be good to have around for the Holidays, and it would certainly be a nice change of pace from the traditional chicken, turkey and duck.

On another note, one thing that I really appreciate about this article is the tips that it gives on how rotisserie lamb is prepared, among other things as well. Obviously, there's a lot more to meat than just making sure it's cooked all the way through, right? The article does a great job of explaining that.

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