Luau Style Pit Goat Roast

IMG_6229 - CopyAs some of you know, I’m on a mission to elevate the goat in many ways, including as a culinary staple and delight. With that in mind, I’ve wanted to try roasting a goat in a luau style pit for some time. As with many things, I’ve found if you commit to it publicly or with a contract, you’re more likely to actually follow through, so I announced that our farm’s fall potluck would also be a goat roast.

Most online information about pit roasting is about cooking a whole pig, which is somewhat easier thanks to their skin and fat layer helping keep the meat tender during the roast. Goat, on the other hand, is not only skinned before roasting, but is also much leaner. I found a couple of other articles on roasting cuts of various types of meat wrapped in everything from foil and wet newspaper, cabbage leaves, agave leaves, and of course  the traditional luau banana leaves. I chose to work with foil and newspaper as we were fresh out of agave and banana leaves (ha ha) and I was concerned that cabbage would add a cruciferous flavor.


After an initial fire that didn’t roast the meat as long as needed, we had great success with the second batch (the same day). We’ll be trying it again and experimenting with a few other ideas, but this will get you started! PS. DON”T FORGET TO CHECK WITH FIRE OFFICIALS IF YOUR ROAST IS TO OCCUR DURING FIRE SEASON!

  1. The Goat: I harvested an 18 month old, 100 pound, Nigerian/Lamancha cross dairy wether, aptly named Luau, 4 days before the feast. I butchered the carcass into primal cuts and brined those cuts. The brine mixture was 2 gallons water, 2 cups sea salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup cider vinegar, 6 bay leaves, and 1/4 cup mixed pepper corns. The meat went into pots and was submerged in the brine using ziplock bags filled with water. Then all went into a large ice chest with ice jugs to keep it cold. IMG_20180902_115250429_BURST000_COVER
  2. The Pit: We dug a 24″ x 48″ x 24″ deep hole in our lawn. I lined the bottom with concrete pavers and then placed 8×16″ cement blocks around the edges. I offset the second row, creating a ridge for a grate to rest upon. We cut the grate from a strong fencing panel with 2×4″ openings. Before roasting, wet the earth around the pit significantly to help create steam.IMG_20180902_102510729
  3. Preparing the Meat: Drain the brine and wrap each primal cut in a layer of foil, keep all of the seams at the top as you will be creating a container for the moisture. The steam must be able to build up and remain in the packet in order to keep the meat moist and tender. Wrap this packet in at least 8 layers of wet newspaper (keep track of where the top is on the inside foil layer). Then wrap this in another layer of foil, again, creating seams on top to hold in the moisture. (When the roast was over, we rinsed and recycled all of the foil and composed the newspaper)
  4. The Fire: Build a thick base of white hot coals over a couple of hours of burning. Just before adding the meat, add a couple of larger pieces of hardwood. Don’t allow them to start burning as you want to add the meat and cover it all up before flames are high.IMG_20180902_115704084_HDR
  5. Adding the Meat: Place the grate on the edge over the coals and wood. Add the packets of meat, you can stack them.
  6. The Thermometer: I was SO GLAD that I invested in an affordable, remote thermometer and hope you will too! Place the probe in one of the heavier cuts of meat and run its fireproof cable up and out of the pit. IMG_20180902_155514579_HDR
  7. The Cover: Place one to two layers of plywood over the pit. We had two small pieces cut that fit down onto the last layer of block, but were still beneath the top layer of soil. Cover that with large pieces of plywood that extend out over the surrounding ground. Cover that with a couple of pieces of roofing metal. (The plywood in the photo had an unpainted side that we put towards the meat)IMG_20180902_124634963_HDR
  8. The Cook: It took our roast about 12-14 hours to get super tender. The temperature it reached was just under 200 F. The meat was technically done much sooner, at about 150 F, but hadn’t built up the steam and heat in the packets needed to make it so succulent that it just fell off the bones. So give it time! The photo at the top of the article was after the 14 hours of roasting, there was still whole pieces of wood in the pit, which was great, it meant we had kept the oxygen level super low, creating a slow, gentle heat. IMG_6232 - Copy


When done, have some heavy duty oven mitts or welding gloves (thank you husband) and pile the packets into pans. You can up-wrap and shred it or let your guests do a bit of the work. We served ours with rolls, mustard, and optional BBQ sauce. I hear it was delicious!

5 thoughts on “Luau Style Pit Goat Roast

  1. really neat! i’m agape here at your awesome pit and roasting technique. we roast our fresh harvested (not aged) pastured lamb in a dutch oven for 7-8 hours at 200F and it DOES fall off the bone :), but that is a whole lot easier than a purebred smokey fire…

    • I often will buy a goat leg and take the time to cut away the meat in a rather non traditional method .
      By going up along the grain , totally counter to what is expected.
      Its finicky to work along all the tough tendons and sinew . But what you are left with is long lean cuts of meat .
      One would think , ” that’ll be to tough ”
      No . It is not !
      I will then get a good hot fire going with pine and other such fast burning woods .
      Then add dried diamond Willow

      That wood burns Hot !
      I finish the fire to add my deep base of cooking coals , with several small unspoilt rounds of birch ” my favorite cooking wood”

      Once I have a deep glowing bed of coals.
      I add the goat meat overtop on a grill.

      I will have dry rubbed the goat with sea salt and pepper , a bit of good smoked Hungarian paprika , garlic powder , parsley and cumin . Soaked in oil .

      I make a sauce to baste with.
      Red wine is a preferred, with more paprika , brown sugar and a bit of molasses.

      I do not cook long on each side.
      My first step is to throw some fast to light and fast to burn out dry kindling over the coals , to fire sear each side of meat .
      Flipping each side and changing position to get those beautiful grill Mark’s.
      Then continue to baste flip and repete over and over untill all the sauce is used up

      We will have made a homemade hummus .
      Have pitas on a plate ready to go .
      A nice fresh salad , lots of garlic and olives!
      And a deep red wine .

      I place the cooked goat onto a wooden platter ” I carved myself ” the goat by then is a beautiful deep red brown tone .
      I slice it then ” cross grain ”

      Hummus and salad wrapped into the pita bread , loaded with the goat meat.
      If one has made themselves some pickled turnips, do add !

      Suffice to say .
      Anyone I’ve introduced this too has been grateful .

      I grew up with a Magical influence of a Grandmother who stepped outside of the norm, to raise the last two of her 7 children on a farm with zero utilities .

      They raised milk goats ” of which the milk was used by them and the most sold to orphanages ” she wove willow baskets to sell at markets , wrote newspaper articles for the local outer city papers .
      And hosted a radio show ” she did have acess to a radio station ” the show was hosted in the neighbouring province of Saskatchewan.

      Suffice to say adventures visiting Grandma were far to few to my liking .
      But her many adventures and her free spirit has left a deep and everlasting impression.

      I know goats , love these strange and oddly beautiful animals .
      Which are also painfully delicious! LoL

      I will admit it took me some time to get used to the flavour of goat milk, but now I’d choose to drink that over any other option if I were to drink milk .

      Memories of bowls of fresh picked wild saskatoons , rinsed in freezing cold well water, with cold goat cream from condensation dripping quart jars from the ice room fill my senses .

      Anyhow, this I choose to share , in light of the love of eating goat meat .
      Such a divinely contrary animal , it created the sense to me .
      To question why one aut to cook or prepare it in ways more mundane .
      And as such , as why one would choose to live ones life the same?

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