A spit roast is a way to prepare meat, historically huge pieces of meat. There is a metal rod that the meat is skewed on, and there is a fire set under the meat. The meat is then rotated over the fire, allowing the meat to slow cook in its own juices.
During medieval times, this was the only way to prepare meat. In early modern indoor kitchens, the spit roasts was still a preferred way of preparing meat. In its early days this was a labor extensive method to prepare meat. Before modern mechanics took hold, a young servant boy would stand at the roast and turn the handle all day to guarantee even cooking. This young kid was called a spit jack.
As time passed, mechanical turnspits were invented these mechanical turnspits are called roasting jacks. These mechanical roasts were first powered by dogs on a treadmill, then by steam power and mechanical clock works. Modern styles are powered by electric motors.
A spit roast today is mostly used to cook big animals like goats, beef even turkeys have made the list. They are usually just used for special celebrations, where there will be a lot of people to feed. There are restaurants that concentrate on spit roast meats. This type of cooking leads to a juicy, tender meat.
In the West, an entire cow was put on a spit roast to cook. A picture of cowboys around an open fire roasting a big piece of meat is commonly associated with the West. Naturally today that practice is not quite as common. There are services offered that focus on serving a roast for special occasions. Typically the food is pre-cooked off-site, and the rest of the cooking is done at the event.
A spit roast is still in use and the favored cooking method for many countries worldwide. It is a favored cooking technique in the Mideast, where the goat is the top staple. Greece uses a spit roast to prepare their leading meat the lamb. This cooking technique is still preferred in many places all over the world as the premier technique of cooking meats. The sluggish roast procedure leaves meat juicy and extremely tender. Normally the meat is skewed onto the spit roast and left to cook a whole day. This slow cook approach is typically the centerpiece of family events.