Preparation / Directions:
Easter in Greece is the biggest holiday of the year and damned near EVERYONE roasts a lamb or kid (goat that is, although I've been tempted). Every family has it's idea of the best way to cook the Easter meal but in general the animal is spitted and cooked over an open charcoal bed for about 6 hours. Constant turning of the 'souvla', Greek word for spit, is required so if the family is traditional and doesn't use an electric motor a lot of friends come in handy. I've found that the best way to obtain help in turning the lamb is to have LOTS of beer and Greek wine on hand. The 'souvla' is about 8-9 feet long with a handle for turning on one end. It's placed on a pair of spikes driven into the ground about 7 feet apart. The spikes have several different 'U's welded to them for raising and lowering the spit. If you try this recipe, start a charcoal bed about 6'x2' before preparing the lamb or kid and have a separate charcoal fire going to add to the bed later on. By the time you get the animal prepared the fire should be just about right. You'll probably need 20 pounds, or more, of charcoal to complete the cooking. Have more than you need on hand.
Wipe lamb inside and out with a damp cloth. Rub cavity and outside of lamb with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cut a small opening in the shoulder and hip joints and pour a small amount of salt and pepper into them. Run the spit through the anus and out of the top of the skull. A hammer may be needed for this. Use baling wire to secure the spine to the spit in two or three places. Sew up the cavity with white string. Push foreshanks back towards body and tie in position. Wire the back legs to the spit. This will prevent them splaying out.
Rub outside again with lemon juice, salt and pepper and place on a rack set in a large catering-size baking dish.
Combine melted butter with olive oil and brush half of this over the lamb or kid. Baste with the remainder at times during cooking. Place the spit over the fire with the lamb or kid approximately 18" over the fire. Adjust the height according to the heat of the fire during cooking. Turn the spit constantly for 6-8 hours, lubricating the person turning liberally with wine or beer, then enjoy your Greek Easter Feast.
The innards aren't wasted. They're used to make a dish called 'Kokoretsi' also cooked over a charcoal bed on a small souvla, but that's another story and this is too long all ready. H