Spitbraai – a lamb, a party!

Ok, so the message is clear. If you hear the word Spitbraai you know there is a party coming. This is one of the most sociable events for a South African, and assuming for most of other South Americans, Australians and New Zealanders. But definitely most prominently in South Africa.

I have also been a huge fan of spitbraai since I can remember. Let me explain to you how I got started, got addicted and love the flavours of the lamb. To date, I cannot remember the amount of spit braai lambs I have done. I lost track of this number for some reason.

When I arrived in Doha, Qatar in 2015 (May) I didn’t know anyone, and then firstly didn’t want to buy a cheap braai, I made my own 3mm steel plate braai that was functional between meat grilling and smoking. An all in one. And so, I did. I made one of the best-builded masterpieces out there.

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As you can see its multifunctional and so versatile. I love this braai !

As I made more friends, people were asking about where to buy the same one, but unfortunately, there is only one and this one will not be replicated. it is my one of kind.

One evening we were chatting away, about the design of this braai and the guys were keen to understand my craftsmanship. And the idea came up if I was able to build something that could host a complete lamb…certainly, yes I can!

we left the conversation there and I went back to the drawing board to come up with a design that is robust yet functional and easy to set up. The next 2 months I was designing and welding another piece of master craft.

Let’s look at the basic set up, the very first one. This was fun. Everything was working well and until the added the 20+kg lamb weight to it, and then we encountered various other problems of weight distribution and functionality with gravity. But quickly able to sort it out!20160929_163253

By the looks of it, this thing should be potent ! and It was. Youll see in the middle of the fire tray is a small tray covered with lit. Initially, this was designed to capture most of the lamb fat as it drips down and then you can add some veggies, bake bread, do other meats stews all in one design. For the first couple of times, this was working wonderfully. with one exception to the concept. This was taken away the middle fire heat and thus of this result. The meat took much longer to cook and to get tender. The additional time was one hour.

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We also tried half a lamb, that would feed fewer people for the party. 
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Note on the additional wire, we used to tie it to the frame. But I was happy and the meat must cook. The guys are hungry. 

Every so often, we bought another lamb and give it another try. So, I learned and took technical photos and video and studied the complexity of each one between weight and heat.

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My brother turned 30, and we hired this one. Again many lessons learned and photos taken. 
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Took it to work for more modifications and testing.
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Back home fot more testing after modification.
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Flavours of supreme! 

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Learning from the master – Frank jou champ ! 

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So one day Frank invited me to go and see his basic Spitbraai. From there we had yet another great discussion on the lamb. The secondary debate is age-old, and the deeper lies within to understand what type of sauce or recipient to use for the lamb to keep it soft and succulent for the hungry gangs. Well, touch on this later on again.

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Thanx Frank – your skills are taken seriously here. 

We have learned that gravity and heat plays a major role in the mechanical components of the whole deal. We even incorporated a structural engineer to look at and advise of what will be the best ways for the concept.

And yet again back to the workshop where I redevelop certain parts. By now I have fundamentally changed 80% from the original in the small matter to ensure a smooth and stress frees lamb is roasting without stop for 4 to 5 hours.

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Here is the first major change. where i have added a frame to secure the lamb with ease.

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You will note the middle tray have teen taken out. 

20170608_17271720170617_13215820170916_093337We have finally reached a place of common agreement. Now we have the most stable spitbraai in the middle east. It is so stable that no counterweight is needed in the process. The frame is permanently fixed and the lamb lays down easily and then tied with no more than 10 cable ties.

This system was so efficient that, once the coals are hot. The lamb can be placed into the frame, cable ties the major ends and put it onto the splined motor that will run at a very slow speed of automation. This means you just have to check out the coals from time to time, and the next 5 hours is all yours. There is no need to retire or to rebalance anything. You can now spend more time drinking your favourite beverage and relax around charring to friends about the concept and design.

I know there are many other concepts and ideas out there. But believe me, this one is the best. You can enjoy everything about it. We have successfully prepared more than 80 limbs on this particular spit anything from 9kg to 30kg.

The automated motor; This is a motor that is specifically built for the purpose and sold by a company in Johannesburg. The units are affordable, I don’t remember the company name now but will certainly update this link when I do. Please be patient.

The recipe to a succulent spit braai. 

I am sure you have heard so many fireside stories on spit braai and how to prepare the lamb and and and… I have also participated in this discussion and actually seen guy and men of old fighting about this topic. HAHA it is hilarious to know how everyone has developed their own style trusted flavours. I have no intention to criticise anyone else recipient, and was thinking about it…maby, I should write about the stories I have heard before. But decided not to, I would rather give you the straight up facts of my experience.

From the photos, you can clearly see I have prepared, a significant amount of lambs and people have devoured these for the better. It has ales been eaten right to the bone. Clean to the bone.

I just remembered i have also prepared a double lamb on the spit for a friends birthday party. Bought the 2 lambs and them placed them back to back on the very same frame and slow roasted them for 8 hours until super perfection. It was a first for me and most possibly for them as well. It has started out when we could not get another spitbraai for the birthday party and had to cater for more than 40 people. So, I came up with the initiative to do this…it was a successful trial.

Let’s get back to the actual recipient for the lamb.

Initially, I was making a concoction of olive oil, spices, herbs, salt and pepper, the problem was that the oil was encouraging the flames and burned the whole lamb from time to time. and it was hard to control the fire that is full of oil and fat. As I progress, I decided to use less oil and more spice back concentrate on the meat.

Finally, my one and only very simple yet super delicious spice i use is the one and only Ina Parman – olive and rosemary spice. It is the purple bottle.

Here is the process;

Light the fire and wait for fo the coals to reach a good hot heat, then put your lamb on and let it start to turn slowly and keep it going for the next 1 hour.

The skin gets nice and crisp, don’t cut the skin as this hold all the juice and meat flavour, ok. Now you sprinkle half the bottle on to the lamb and make sure it gets into every part of the lamb.

Let it go for another 3 hours and regulate the heat as you wish, also be careful as at this time the guys are getting hungry and will tear the meat of like vultures. So cook them something nice on the side to take care of that appetite.

30min before you take the lamb off, sprinkleanohter hand full o spice and then let it go for 30min and remove from the heat.

Let the lamb cool until its good enough to handle the meat and enjoy the super soft and succulent meant!

Thank me later for the advice! Simple yet effective.