It was a much needed day of glorious Oxfordshire sunshine, I had two bags of lamb chops in the freezer and some good quality charcoal sitting waiting. Lamb chops are traditionally grilled, but the large amounts of fat released can create unmanageable flames that leave sooty marks on the food plus the unnecessary stress of trying to prevent them from burning.
Being a Sunday, I had plenty of time to think of something a bit different and more relaxing. Spit roasting is slower, and without coals directly below the meat so fat fires are much less likely. The idea reminded me a bit of some kebab shops, where lamb is layered in slices on a vertical spit in front of a gas grill, and the cooked meat sliced directly off the spit. I thought that if I layered the lamb chops on my spit, with some garlic and rosemary between each chop, the slower cooking would allow the flavours to better infuse, and the self basting would create delicious sweet crunchy bits around the outside. And besides, I'd get to sit in the garden with a cold drink listening to the sizzle and taking in the smells.
As it happened, it worked. Once the spit was removed, there was no carving needed, and my 1.2 kg of prime lamb chump chops made five decent servings. The flavours were intense and the sweet crispy bits on the outside a real delight. I served ours with mixed roasted vegetables and cous cous.
- Lamb chump chops (allow about 3 per person)
- Garlic cut into thin slices
- Fresh rosemary stalks
Layer the chops on the spit with a few pieces of garlic and a sprig of rosemary between each one. Pack them together tightly and then sprinkle the outside with salt. Prepare the charcoal fire so that there are no coals below the spit. Lumpwood charcoal starts off really hot and then reduces in temperature gradually, which is ideal for this type of cooking. I used about 2.5 kg of charcoal, and the chops were on the spit for just over an hour.