How to Cook a Whole Goat or Lamb Asador

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Roasting a whole goat or lamb “al-asador” style is a very special event, and a tradition for people from Argentina and other South American Countries like Uruguay. Expect a full day of fun leisurely cooking, perfect for relaxed conversations as there’s roughly 5-7 hours plus preparations. Don’t be in a rush and make a day out of it!

A slow roasted lamb leg cooked asador style with the meat picked in a serving bowl.

How to Cook Lamb Asador

First, the goat is prepared with a simple salmura (brine) and basted as it cooks, while utilizing the fire to create number of vegetable side dishes. We roast winter squash and cabbage by placing it under the carcass that continues to baste vegetables from the drippings of the meat.

As the lamb cooks slowly it bastes the vegetables in fat. It’s a great technique and can be used for almost any vegetable. While the lamb is cooking, onions are seared and served with fresh goat cheese and oranges. Potatoes are boiled until tender and roasted again with butter and herbs.

A bowl of picked meat and vegetable sides to accompany whole lamb cooked asador.
You’ll want plenty of seasonal side dishes for your guests to enjoy.


This recipe is by chef Ben Spangler. Hailing from Minnesota, Ben draws from his Midwestern roots to create dishes that are unpretentious and delicious. Ben has competed on national television for the Food Network and appeared on local Minneapolis food networks. He is currently working on a new ice cream concept in Minneapolis. Chef Ben Spangler

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.

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5 from 1 vote

Whole Roasted Goat or Lamb Asador

Asador is a classic Argentinian recipe for cooking whole lamb hung on an asado cross over an open fire for hours until meltingly tender.
Prep Time2 hours
Cook Time7 hours
Total Time9 hours
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Argentinian
Keyword: Al Asador, Fire Pit Cooking, Whole Goat
Servings: 20 People
Calories: 51kcal
Cost: 200


  • 1 Metal wire snips,
  • 5 ft Stainless steel wire
  • 1 Asado cross
  • 3 Fire-safe roasting pans or cast iron skillets as needed for vegetables
  • 1 pair thick heat resistant gloves
  • 1 Bonesaw


Goat Al Asador

  • 1 ea Whole Goat
  • 3 ea Mixed squash


  • 1 parsley Bunch Chopped
  • 4 rosemary Sprigs Leaves Removed
  • 3 c water
  • 4 ea Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup red vinegar vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 orange zest thinly sliced
  • 1 oz oregano
  • Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer for 5 min


  • 10 red onions
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 oz evoo
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Dried chilis
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1 purple cabbage
  • 3 oranges cleaned and sliced


Build The Fire Pit

  • There is more than one way to build a pit, so build the right fire for your situation. It's best if you can channel the fire to one side and concentrate heat. Cinder blocks work well, just put them all on one side.

Butcher & Tie the Lamb on the Asado Cross

  • Cut the sternum and spread rib cage open. Once you can get your hatchet in the chest cavity begin to break inner clavicle bones so when you push on the ribs it breaks open.
  • Apply pressure until ribs stay open. Cut out dangling pieces inside lamb and separate bone connecting inner thighs on the hind legs.
  • Secure the legs to cross bars with stainless steel wire. Be sure not make it too tight or the wire will tear the meat. For additional support secure the lamb by tying metal wires through mid back and around cross bars (see video).


  • Chef doesn't salt and pepper the whole animal, but smothers with salmura once the meat is picked and broken down.

Cooking the Lamb on the Cross

  • Start cooking the lamb early in the day and don't be scared to get some heat into it in the beginning. The lamb should be tilted on the stake toward the fire, exposed bone side facing the heat. Cook 5-6 hours on the bone side, then 1 hour on the skin side to finish. Baste the lamb occasionally from top and bottom.
  • Watch the meat - you may need to push the post up and down, depending on how it looks and if certain parts need more fire attention.
  • After about 5 hours, you will start to see the shoulders bleed and the collagen start to give on the skin side. It’s time to turn animal over on its stake and continue to cook. The whole process may take up to 7 hours and you will get the best results when you have more time flexibility. The longer it cooks, the better it will be.


  • Place squash under the lamb and allow the fat from the lamb to drip onto the squash and roast slowly. This should take 3-4 hours. if they get to burnt just distance them from the fire and slowly roast them. Any veggies will work they just need to slow roast.


  • Clean and cut the red onions in half
  • In a dutch oven sear the onions one by one and remove.
  • Once seared deglaze with water and vinegar and allow to bring to a simmer
  • Add chilis and oregano and onions back. Place next to the fire and slow cook once tender and remove onions. Shave cabbage into the pot and allow to steam inside while pot is still warm.


  • Serve the goat with the vegetable sides when ready. seasoning with the salmura sauce before serving.



A whole lamb, goat, or venison can be cooked this way. 


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 0.04mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg