Lamb al Asador is a classic South American cook that consists of lamb being flayed and hung on an Asado cross over open pit fire. This show stopping way of cooking is a centerpiece in Argentina. It is associated with guacho/cowboy styles of living and is one of the core main dishes for every aspiring fire cook. Let’s start with some tips and tricks that will help you conquer this amazing cook in your backyard. 

Getting the Lamb Ready

Find a whole lamb around 27kg which is not too big, smaller is better as it will cook faster over the fire. 

Ask your local butcher to butterfly the lamb. This will help you from having to break bone with improper equipment to get the lamb ready for Lamb al Asador. If you don’t have a butcher, use a hatchet or a saw to open up the top and bottom part of the spine so that the lamb will lay flat. 

Once you have gotten the right lamb, make sure to store it appropriately, get plenty of sleep the night before and have all your equipment ready for the day of the cook. This is a 7+ hour cook, so get going early.

Securing it to the Cross

Getting the lamb secure on the cross is a massively important part of the process. I high recommend getting food grade stainless steel wire

Whatever you do, do not get galvanized wire! This is not an ideal metal for cooking with and might discolour your food where it touches.

Once you have the right wire, secure the Lamb al Asador in a couple of places: ankles, wrists, spine and neck. Make sure to secure the legs and the spine super tight as these will be where a majority of the weight is kept while the animal is hanging.

Once it is secure and fastened, it's time to start cooking!

Maintaining the Fire for the Lamb Al Asador

So you have the lamb on the cross secured and tight, let’s build the fire!

Having a medium-high temperature fire at all times is the key to this whole cook. You want to cook evenly and consistently, so you have to build the right fire. One way to know if you have a medium-high temperature fire is to do the hand check. Safely place your hand 10cm away from the food and hold. If you can hold it there for 8-10 seconds then you are golden. Anything under or over, and you are too hot or too cold. Keep the fire right there between 8-10 seconds using the hand trick. 

Throughout the cook, drag coals to areas that need an increase in heat and more cooking (under the legs and shoulders for example).  

Fire is set, place the Lamb al Asador on and you are cooking!
What about making sure the lamb is juicy?

Making the Brine

Moisture will leave the lamb very quickly with this style of cooking. One way to prevent that is buy making a brine. In cast iron, add all the ingredients stated below for the brine. Make sure to let simmer for 10 minutes and then start basting the lamb. The brine will add flavour to the crust making sure the meat stays juicy.

Serves: 15 people


Lamb Ingredients:
  • 1 Whole Lamb butterflied
  • Salt
Brine Ingredients:
  • 1L Liquid beef stock
  • 100 grams of salt
  • ½ cup Red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 1 White onion - cubed
  • 2 Lemons - sliced in half
  • 4 Rosemary sprigs
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Mint leaves - handful
  • 6 Garlic cloves - unpeeled
  • 2 Tbsp Red pepper flakes - crushed


  1. Trim any excess fat on the lamb, then score the back side fat to help cook faster. Season the outside with ample amounts of salt. Using stainless wire and cutters, secure the butterflied lamb to the Asado cross around the legs and along the back.
  2. Having built a medium-high temperature fire, place lamb over fire with the flayed / bone side towards the fire. Cook at a consistent medium-high for 3-4 hours. Move lamb away from fire if it begins to burn.
  3. While lamb is cooking, add all marinade ingredients to a cast iron skillet and let simmer over fire for 10 minutes. Baste lamb all over every 30 minutes of the cook to maintain moisture.
  4. After 3-4 hours, carefully flip lamb with back towards fire and cook for another 2-3 hours. Internal temperature is anything over 62 degrees, but ideally would be 85 degrees as the lamb will melt off the bone here. Continue to baste throughout.
  5. Pull lamb off of Asado cross, slice and serve!

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