There is possibly no greater culinary spectacle than a whole animal turning on a spit over hot coals. Roasting the whole goat also makes it easy to feed a crowd. The flavors in this recipe are some of goat’s favorites: rosemary, garlic, and lemon. The garlic and rosemary are inserted into slits in the meat to infuse the whole goat with their flavors.
Plan to make an entire day out of the spit-roast. It takes about an hour or two to set up the spit roaster, season the goat, and attach it to the spit rod. After about 5 hours of slow roasting and tending the fire, you’ll be feasting on some of the finest meat you’ve ever tasted!
- Category: Goat Recipes
- 12 branches fresh rosemary
- 3 heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 1 whole goat, 25-30 pounds
- 2 lemons, halved
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 3 scallions, roots trimmed
- stainless steel or copper wire
- Strip the leaves from 8 of the rosemary branches and put them in a food processor, along with the peeled cloves from 2½ heads of garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. (Make and refrigerate up to 2 days ahead).
- Put the goat on a large work surface with the chest cavity up. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a bowl, discarding the seeds but saving the rinds. Rub half of the lemon juice all over the inside of the goat cavity and inner thighs. Rub the entire cavity with ¼ cup of the olive oil. Sprinkle the cavity with one third of the garlic mixture, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 2 teaspoons of the pepper. Put the scallions, remaining 4 branches of rosemary, remaining peeled garlic cloves, and the spent lemon rinds into the cavity.
- Push the spit rod through the goat’s rear, along the cavity parallel to the backbone, and out through the neck or upper chest. Lay the goat on its side with the cavity facing you so that you can wire the backbone to the spit rod. Position an 8 inch length of wire in the center of the cavity. Insert the wire through the inside of the goat near the backbone and rod. When the wire pokes through the outside of the goat, bend the wire around the outside of the backbone and push it back through the goat so that the entire length of wire is wrapped around the backbone and rod. Use pliers to twist the two ends of the wire together, securing the wire very tightly around the spit rod. Repeat this process at roughly 4 inch intervals toward the rear and front of the goat until the backbone is securely fastened to the spit rod.
- Slide the spit rod’s skewers over the front and rear ends of the rod. Push the skewers firmly into the shoulders and thighs or hips of the goat, then tighten the skewers onto the rod.
- Attach the hind legs and forelegs to the rod with wire, twisting the ends of the wire until secured. Attached the neck to the rod in the same way.
- Wire the goat cavity shut by sewing from one end to the other with one long piece of wire. Twist each end of the wire with pliers to secure it.
- Make 20 to 30 small, ½ inch deep slits all over the outside of the goat, especially around the shoulders and legs. Use your fingers to stuff each slit with the remaining garlic mixture. Rub the remaining lemon juice all over the outside of the goat. Rub all over with the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, then sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons salt and 2½ teaspoons pepper.
- If using wood chucks or chips, soak them in water for 1 hour. If using charcoal, light about 30 pounds of charcoal. When the coals are just ashed over, rake them into 4 piles near the corners of the firebox.
- Attach the spitted goat to the roaster so that the goat rests 1 to 2 feet above the coals. If necessary, re-rake the coals to position the 4 piles just outside the shoulders and thighs so that the goat cooks by indirect heat.
- Roast over indirect heat for 5 to 5½ hours, turning slowly buy constantly. Add a few pounds of charcoal to each pile when the old coals begin to burn low, about every hours, letting the charcoal ignite naturally. If using wood chunks or chips along with charcoal, ass the soaked chunks to the hot coals every hour or so. After about 2 hours, re-rake the coals to position them directly beneath the goat. Make two large pile beneath the shoulders and legs, connected be a shallow, narrow strip of coals beneath the ribs. During the last hour of cooking, if the goat in not browning sufficiently, baste it all over with additional olive oil. When done, the meat should be well browned on the outside and tender on the inside, with some pink meat only near the bones. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest parts of the thighs and shoulders should register about 150° to 160°F.
- Transfer the goat to a large, clean work surface and let rest for 20 minutes. Using wire cutters and pliers, remove the wire from the legs and neck. Remove the wire that sewed the cavity shut and the wire from around the backbone. Remove the spit’s skewers, then pull out the spit rod. Be sure all of the wire is removed before serving.
- Carve the meat from the bones, or scrape it off in chunks, and serve.