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cooking with Fire - Homemade spit roaster

by RedHand published on
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Homemade Lamb Spit Roast – how to make a DIY kit from simple parts.

To keep things simple I’ve gone for a hand cranked spit, made using a few hand tools (no welding) with easily obtainable parts.

I didn’t want to mess about with motors, batteries and pulleys. In theory this design can all take apart and fit in the back of an estate car move or the back of a shed for easy storage.

I decided to follow Hugh's example in his Meat Book to feed a bunch a friends for a summer BBQ with a whole roast lamb. My challenge was to create the kit cheaply with only hand tools and no welder. My solution cost approx £50 although did include a few donated parts. Equipment to make was only a elec hand drill and a std hand hacksaw.

Corrugated iron sheetsx2  - about £14 ea - came from Mole Valley farmers agricultural supplier - 

6x 300mmlong wire eye boltsnuts and washers £1.50 ea

6x 6mm x 1msteel rod- £1.45 ea from B&Q

1x 2mx 25mm sqsteel tube- £16 – from B&Q

1x 1m 25mmsteel bar– from B&Q

Paint/plaster mixer( steel ) - £1 from local tip (£13 new)

Various shortsteel tubeoff cuts from the back of the shed or £1 from the tip

2x steel adjustable height builders trestles– donated by a friend but would be about £25 ea new – can be raised up about 60 cm, by pulling out simple pins and lifting top cross bar up. These provide a strong, stable adjustable stand for each end – simple and no welding, also BSI tested to take that the weight of a couple of builders standing on planks so will hold a pig or lamb no problem.

random nuts, bolts and washers.

First make your roaster.

Drill 6x holes in each corrugated iron sheet as below



Bend sheets and fit bolts to create a couple of steel channels for the fire pits – this is the same stuff the galvanised metal dustbin style incinerators from your local garden centre are made from so I’m pretty confident it will stand the heat.


Cut short lengths of tube about 5cm shorter than eyebolts

Cut 6x steel rods in half to give 12x 50cm lengths. Set aside 4 lengths for later. Take 8 lengths and bend one end round on itself to form an eye, and the other end to form open hook. – I drilled a small hole in the builders trestle to insert one end into it then pulled rod round to form bends.


Refit bolts with tubes and hooks to each end of the corrugated sheet channels.


Cut steel bar in half to give 2x 50cm lengths. Mark out centre and 5cm sections. Drill hole on each section mark to create weak point, then bend bar into M shape.

Bolt each M onto the top of each trestle – these form a V to hold the Spit in place but allow it to rotate.


Hang the channels onto the Trestles. As below this forms 2 simple fire pits with a gap so that the fat does not drip into the fire and there is indirect heat onto the meat. The Trestles can be adjusted up and down as required to change the cooking temp.


For the spit take the 2m bar, fit a short 15cm tube over each end – one end fitted with removable locking pin.


For the other end I cut the handle off the plaster mixer and inserted into the tube, fitted an outer round tube over the top and drilled then bolted through.


This gives 2 round sections on the spit at each end to fit into the brackets on the top of each trestle and allow easy turning.

A couple of jubilee clips, and short tubes set up a simple handle to turn spit with enough length to give torque to manage the weight of the lamb on it.


drilled a hole int he trestle to take a somple pin through the paint mixer to stop it turning.

Finally drill 3-4 holes through the square tube for the 4x 50 cm straight rods to hold lamb in place, stop it sliding up and down the spit, and stop the spit spinning around while the lamb stays still then wired on the lamb - probably needed less wire but being careful for the first one


 fired it up with a 10kg bag of lumpwood charcoal and then topped up with hazel seasoned logs cut out of the hedge last winter, I lit up about an hour before cooking time - 18kg lamb cost about £120 from the local butcher. Turned it by hand every 15 to 20 mins and only had to add wood a couple of times to the fires. only  little fat dripped out on the the grass. it took about 4 hours from when the lamb went on



then did sausages and chicken legs for the kids 

New potatos re heated on the bbq - below the mini bbq behind me is the veggie's mushrooms stuffed with melted cheese

then got stuck in with a knife

pushed the 2 fire trays together 

and drank wine and beer into the night watching the campfire - happy days !


8 replies
Replied on

I am working on something similar and by looking at yours. I looked at another Idea to add to mine. Hope you can work it on yours.
By flattening the corrugated sheet you make them wider(do so on part of the sheet). The corrugated part, leave it for the fire wood. Bend the other part toward the meat, redirecting the heat to it. Bend part to the outside(it should look like a shelve/table. Figure out a way to hold it stable so you can use it to keep food and other item hot/warm on top of it.
I /
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For the pork shoulders, remove heat from cooked areas and leave the heat on the shoulders for longer time. By this I do not mean to add fire to the shoulders.
Using the design shown above you can close the gap between the fires and use less wood. May cook faster, careful.(The angled sheet reflect the heat toward the center)
I did not see a height adjustment for fire or for different meats.
With a slow rotating motor the meat cooks uniformly and faster.

Replied on

hi, i`d be a little concerned about the fumes from the zinc coating , when the coals are on the corrugated sheeting.


Replied on

@rctransport you should build one yourself, i built a cool bbq smoker out of an oil drum, is great for the cooking you want to go, the beer can chicken, have done butterfly lamb and lots of other similar tasty treats

Replied on

BRILLANT well done looks great,i think this is the last summer for my bbq [worn out] was thinking of buying one with a spit roast on it, because i like to do whole things on bbq,[ beer can chicken and buterfly lamb ] do you think your spit could be made smaller for suckling pigs and chickens ? once again WELL DONE.

Replied on


Replied on

THat sounds great, I really need to have a go with lamb, not sure if i'd do pork again, i think it was hard work, it takes forever to get the heat into the shoulder
Quite fancy having a go at a leg of beef on the bone
Definately the way forward cooking large joints of meat
I've built a BBQ smoker and planning on doing lots of big joints like whole brisket and pulled shoulder of pork
Love cooking outdoors
So when you going to try the hog roast then??

Replied on

Thanks Marcus - the lamb tasted great, really juicy and succulent, we fed about 30 adults and had both shoulders left un touched for the fridge and freezer, served with Baps and a light salad, hosin + garlic + onion and sweet chilli + onion sauces.

the whole process was a lot more relaxed than I expected, i think because the fire was to the sides not under the meat so did not burn it at all.

I'm sure a whole hog would work on the setup, the trestles will take a couple of builders standing on scaffolding planks so just need to make sure the pig will fit in the gap.

Replied on

This is fantastic! Good on you for giving this a go.
How did the lamb taste? How many people did it feed?
Here's a link to my hog roast I did last year, might have a go at doing lamb after reading this!
Do you think your setup would be able do a whole hog? I may well end up with something similar to yours

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