Easter Lamb on the Spit

Easter Lamb on the Spit

Easter Lamb on the Spit


On Easter Sunday Morning, the fire is started at about 7.00 am to ensure that the wood is reduced to glowing embers by the time the roasting starts. The lamb or goat, having been properly cleaned, is rubbed with lemon all over his skin and seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme both outside and inside.

Then the souvla, the long round iron stick, having also been properly cleaned and rubbed with lemon, is passed through the animal from one end and out through the head. The back feet are secured by passing one through the muscle of the other and are then tied with wire. It is also recommended to tie with wire the spine of the lamb on the spit.

Two iron poles with forked ends are inserted in the earth by the fire. At the beginning of the roasting session the lamb is at about 60-70 cm from the fire. Later the poles are lowered so the meat rests at a distance of 30-40 cm from the fire. The long iron spit ends in a handle and members of the family take it in turns to sit and turn it almost continually (Now there are machines doing that for us!).

While the meat is cooking they brush on a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano.  A lamb roasted like this takes about 4 hours or less, presuming that it is of the desirable weight of 5 kgr maximum. It is vital that the lamb cooks very slowly, even if it takes longer than three hours. A clear indication that it is nearly cooked is when the flesh shrinks away from the bones.

Please note that the fleshy parts (legs and shoulders) take longer to cook, so they draw most of the glowing embers to the two ends, making two small piles of them under the fleshy parts which gives those parts the extra heat they require, while the thin body is cooking at a slower speed.

Serve with a lot of fresh season salad, taramosalatamelitzanosalata and Scarlet Easter Eggs. For those who can’t roast a lamb on the spit, there’s also a recipe for Roast Lamb in the Oven.


  • To serve 6-8 persons, you need a lamb that weights about 5 kg!



  1. Anonymous says:

    I would like to try roasting a lamb, but I don’t think I will be able to find an entire lamb (I’m in Los Angeles, lambs are scarce around here). Instead I will scewer two boneless legs of lamb on spits, following the seasoning directions given here. I will post here and let you know how it turns out :)

    • if you call a greek market, you’ll be able to find the entire lamb… we’re in new york city, and get one every year…. happy easter :)

    • good luck with the leg of lamb, i would recommend going to a greek restraunt where you know the owner and he can order food for you. It always works out well for me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am using this recipe for a culinary class I have just started, and because I have to make conversions and type out a format, I was wondering if anyone can tell me exactly how much lemon and olive oil should be used.

    • jus do it greek style and use as much as you need, i know that doesnt help you much but i know whenever i cook a lamb i never measure what i use i just put it on and then i end up seasoning the lamb many times over the cooking process.

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