Whole Lamb Al Asado
Roasting a whole lamb Asado style is one of the most impressive ways to serve lamb, it also isn’t for the faint of heart. This is a special event for friends or family members and especially for those on a paleo diet. The tools and ingredients are simple and you need nothing more than the addition of a few vegetables to complete the feast.
There is a bit of a time commitment: 5-7 hours plus preparation, and it’s best not to be in a rush. Sourcing the correct size lamb (or goat) is best done through your local farmer as it will require a smaller option than is normally sold at the market. Cooking whole, small lamb is more common during Easter and Passover or by custom slaughter. Of course, Shepherd Song does custom slaughter of our grass-fed lamb and goat, send us a message to source one for your gathering or special occasion.
This recipe is by chef Ben Spangler. Hailing from Minnesota, Ben draws from his Midwestern roots to create dishes that are unpretentious and delicious. Ben has competed on national television for the Food Network and appeared on local Minneapolis food networks. He is currently executive chef at Mercy in Minneapolis.
Lamb al Asador
- Stainless steel wire
- Pliers/ wire cutters
- Hatchet and pocket or chef knife
- 45-70 logs kindling wood (depending how fast you burn them)
- Steel peg post with cross bars
- Large stick to move embers
- Fire pit
- 1 whole lamb Custom Order 20-30 lbs
- Assorted vegetables as desired
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup salt
- ½ cup red vinegar
- ½ c sugar
- 1 orange zest
- 1 oz oregano
- There is more than one way to build a pit, so feel free to be creative and go with what you have. But if you can, channel the fire to one side and concentrate heat.
Preparing the lamb
- Cut through the sternum. Spread rib cage open. Break the inner clavicle bones. Apply pressure until ribs stay open. Separate the bone connecting inner thighs on the hind legs and make sure they are not touching. Tie all legs to cross bars with steel wire. Do not make it so tight the wire tears through the flesh. Provide additional support by tying metal wires through the mid-back and around the cross bars (see video below). The meat should be tilted on the stake toward the fire exposing the bone side to face the heat.
The seasoning brine
- Prepare the brine sauce and smother the meat with it halfway through cooking. Continue to apply every 30 minutes until done. Cook 5-6 hours on the bone side, then 1 hour on the skin side. Ensure direct heat is on the meat and watch carefully. Heat may need to be adjusted depending on how fast it cooks.
Grill Assorted Vegetables
- When the lamb is finished and cooling, take the opportunity to grill assorted vegetables on a simple grill over the remaining embers. Carve and serve to friends and family for an outside meal event that will be long remembered.