How to Balance a Lamb on a Spit

How to Balance a lamb on a spit

One of the biggest problems people have when cooking a lamb on a spit, or any whole animal, is that they are unable to correctly balance the load. The result of not correctly balancing the animal is that the meat will cook unevenly and you run the risk of stripping the gearbox on the motor.
For meats that are cylindrical such as rolled roasts, gyros and chickens, it is pretty easy to get the load balanced by simply passing the skewer through the middle of the meat. Legs of lamb are a bit more challenging as you have to pass the skewer around the bone as are large top-sides.
When cooking a lamb on a spit, it is recommended that you counter act the weight of the animal's torso which will always flop to the heavy side. This is because if you pass the skewer through the front and back openings of the animal, you'll always find that the rib cage hangs down. Balancing can also be made a little more complicated with one side of the animal is particularly more dominant than the other, causing additional weight to be added.
The process for correctly balancing a lamb on a spit can be simplified into 3 steps
1. Once you've skewered your meat, turn the meat around as if it was on the spit itself until you find the heaviest part of the meat drops suddenly. It is easier to do this if you have it propped up on something (like your spit without the fire going), or if you have 2 people at opposite ends of the skewer with the skewer in the palms of their hands.
2. Once the lamb on the spit flops to the heavy side, side the counter balance weight on to the skewer, pointing it directly up (so it's opposite the heavy side) and tighten it.
3. Repeat the turning of the skewer to check if you need to adjust the counter balance weight. The further the weighted section is away from the skewer, the greater the weight it counteracts. You will get to the point when the load is not dropping to the heavy side.
While it is possible to balance a lamb on a spit without using a counter balance weight, we recommend you make things easier on yourself and get one anyway. If you insist on giving it a go without one, just be prepared to spend a bit of time doing trial and error re-skewering and re-pronging in multiple positions until you get everything in the right spot. For the sake of $30 or so, I not only see it as an insurance policy for my motor but something that takes the stress out of the process. With so much more going on, it's just one less thing to worry about.
More information how to marinade your whole lamb.
Also, check out our previous blog post on How to put a lamb on a Spit Roaster.





by: Rhiannon Peterson