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Old 07-14-2014, 06:28 PM   #1
dave.y
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Default Suggestions for spit roasting entire 100 lb calf

Last summer some buddies and I cooked an entire 75 lb lamb in a buried pit. Came out perfect. This year we are open spit-roasting an entire 100 lb calf. Can't find much online regarding calf roasting. Looking for suggestions on cook times, rubs/marinates, or any other practical suggestions. All ideas are welcome. Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:26 PM   #2
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A 100lb calf is fairly young. The spit roasted cattle I've seen were a bit bigger.
The one's I've been to use split barrels underneath the beef to catch the drippings and build the fire to the side for an indirect heat roast.
You'll want a motorized spit... it takes quite awhile to get the job done.

Good luck to ya!
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:31 PM   #3
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Something like this?
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowgirl View Post
A 100lb calf is fairly young. The spit roasted cattle I've seen were a bit bigger.
The one's I've been to use split barrels underneath the beef to catch the drippings and build the fire to the side for an indirect heat roast.
You'll want a motorized spit... it takes quite awhile to get the job done.

Good luck to ya!
^ Spot on!

At only 100#, you need to think in terms of roasting veal not finished beef! Just for a frame of reference my purebred Simmental calves can push 90#-100# birth weight and my Simmental-Angus cross calves routinely have birth weights of 65#-70#. My point in going into this detail is a 100# calf WILL BE VERY LEAN! I would think basting with extra fat (maybe a good herb seasoned butter) would be essential to keep it from drying out. Let us kow how it turns out.
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwfisk View Post
^ Spot on!

At only 100#, you need to think in terms of roasting veal not finished beef! Just for a frame of reference my purebred Simmental calves can push 90#-100# birth weight and my Simmental-Angus cross calves routinely have birth weights of 65#-70#. My point in going into this detail is a 100# calf WILL BE VERY LEAN! I would think basting with extra fat (maybe a good herb seasoned butter) would be essential to keep it from drying out. Let us kow how it turns out.
I've had some of my black angus hit the ground at 90lb. A bit too big for my liking but it happens.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:31 PM   #6
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Not wanting to start a moral or ethical debate but why butcher so young?
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetBlue View Post
Not wanting to start a moral or ethical debate but why butcher so young?
Let's try and avoid the debate! Shall we?

Well, think of suckling pig, cabrito (young goat), hogget (just learned this term as I looked it up, so may be using incorrectly). Anyhow, first of there is a market for the meat of these young animals.
From a ranching/raising perspective from which I'm very limited in experience, too many offspring being born and not enough land, feed, etc to maintain them. So slaughter and pack the freezer. Selling em is an option so that someone else can fatten em up over time and then slaughter them, but most times the money you can get for a small, new born animal is not worth the sale. Better off loading up the freezer with it.
When we could, we had goats, sheep, chickens, etc. If there were too many chickens for the space and feed budget we had,,,,,well, after a while, they became food. Same with the goats and sheep. If you could only feed and maintain so many, the excess becomes fill for the freezer.
It's also a delicacy. In terms of taste, texture, etc it's phenomenal.
Is it a bit sad,,,,,yes. But in the end there is a consumer market for it and if you are raising em, a whole nother set of variables come into play. There are many here on the forum with info regarding that area.

Back to the topic. The set up Aussie posted was what I was thinking about, but never done a whole calf. You can never go wrong with Cowgirl's advice either!
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Not wanting to start a moral or ethical debate but why butcher so young?
Because lifting a 900# cow on a spit is hard.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:00 AM   #9
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4 cases of Cold beer, plenty of wood and someone to dig the hole and a Bucket of Walter Jettons beef mop.

4 quarts bone stock (beef stock)
2 pints Worcestershire Sauce
1 pint vinegar
1 pint oil
3 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons MSG (optional)
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground bay leaf
Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand overnight. This mop is applied in large amounts.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:21 AM   #10
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I also think it would be kind of lean, I wonder if injections would help with the dryness?

Here is a thread from another forum talking about whole calf roasting, the mention Frances Mallman and a book too.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/773088
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:40 AM   #11
dave.y
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Default Success!

thanks for the advice folks. We went with a goat instead. For the rub, i spread olive oil everywhere and then used a mix of ground black pepper, garlic/onion powder, salt, fresh oregano, fresh basil, fresh thyme, all finely chopped and blended. I stuffed the belly with onions, lemons, whole garlic cloves, rosemary branches, and 2 small cornish hens. I mounted the goat on the spit and built two fires - one on each side, but nothing underneath (indirect heat baby!). It was on the spit for around 8 hrs. While it was cooking I basted it regularly with a blend of Guinness and the remainder from the rub.

Was a huge hit. Flavor was great. Honestly, some portions were tough and could have used an additional 1 hr on the fire. We pulled it off b/c some parts were getting overcooked. Next time, i will keep it on the spit and cover any parts at risk of overcooking with foil.

Bets part was when i pulled the hens out of the belly mid carving. Nice surprise for all. They had really taken on the flavor of the goat. All in all, it was a great success. Cant wait for next year's event. Some pics are attached.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:52 PM   #12
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:25 PM   #13
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Great topic and advise. Glad you enjoyed the results, Dave.

Love the last pics. Seems like quite a festival, wherever it is.
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