DIY Spit-Braai


A spit braai is a familiar favourite, and chances are you have experienced at least one at a huge kuier. It is one of my favourite ways to entertain around the fire, and don’t think that it is impossible to build – my friend and I used this guideline to build one in 10minutes!

You will need:

  • 2 x uprights of hollow square steel with a 4cm diameter – 100 cm long.
  • 1 x spit pole made from hollow square steel with a 2cm diameter 200cm long.
  • 2 x crosspieces of solid round steel with a 0.5cm diameter 20cm long
  • 2 x butcher hooks (or bend your own from pieces of steel)
  • small roll galvanised wire with a 1.25mm gauge

Step 1

Drill three holes 5cm apart and 5cm from the top of the 4cm diameter uprights, big enough to fit your butcher hooks.

Step 2

Dig a pit about 20cm deep and 50cm by 180cm wide and long.

Step 3

Using a mallet (or a big piece of wood) hammer the 4cm diameter steel into the ground on either side of your pit until only half the upright is sticking out. Remember, the holes must face the length of the pit, and be on the same side.

Step 4

Insert butcher hooks into the drilled holes. These holes are used to adjust the height of the lamb above the fire. Up is cooler. Down is hotter.

How to Attach the Sheep

Before you attach the lamb to the spit, clean off all visible fat.

Step 1

Push spit pole through the lamb’s rear-end until the lamb is centred on the pole.

Step 2

Secure two crosspieces in front of chest, and behind back legs with the galvanised wire.

Step 3

Secure two legs together (intertwined) through the hooks with the galvanised wire. Repeat for both front and rear legs.

Step 4

Poke wire through the back of the lamb to secure the spine to the spit pole in four to five places from the neck to the pelvis and twist tight with a pair of pliers.

Once attached, check again and remove any fat without damaging the meat.

After you’ve built your spit like an expert, and once you’ve decided what meat to use (I used lamb), open the carcass, wash the meat thoroughly with water and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Do the same to the centre of the carcass, then carry it to the fire (you’ll definitely need some help with this!). Balance the spit at a 45 degree angle over moderate coals, with the inside of the carcass towards the heat first. If any part of the carcass starts to burn during cooking team, it’s a good idea to cover it with foil.

How long you braai the meat for depends on how hot your coals are, the consistency of the heat and, of course, the size of the carcass. A lamb of 10kg takes about three to four hours to cook through and a bigger lamb weighing in about 20kgs takes about five to six hours. Another easy way to test if it’s ready is to use a meat thermometer: stick it into the the thickest part of the meat; if the temperature reaches 65°C, it means your meat is medium and if it reaches 70°C it’s well done.
The basting –  which kind of makes the spit – is completely up to you. The possibilities and flavour combinations are endless, but once you’ve decided, make sure you have enough of it. You will be adding your basting throughout the entire braaing process, ensuring that the meat stays moist and succulent. It always a good idea to have a syringe on stand by to inject some of those beautiful flavours deep into the flesh of the meat. In fact, I highly recommend you do get one!
If you want to know Chef Bertus Basson, Marthinus Ferreira and my basting recipes for lamb, pork and goat you should buy my second Ultimate Braai Master Book: The Roads Less Travelled – no spoilers!
Once the meat is cooked to your liking, carve it straight off the spit and enjoy with some lekker side dishes and salads!

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