Greatest recipes ever: Mixed game spit-roast feast

‘In exchange for a wonderful day’s rough shooting on a beautiful red-grouse moor in Yorkshire, we agreed to cook lunch for the laird, Anthony Milbank, and his wife, Belinda. Anthony had warned us that he was a dab hand at cooking grouse, so the pressure was on to prove that we could cook a mean lunch with our catch without the luxury of an oven.

We had lunch in one of their old outbuildings to shelter us from the icy-cold wind and torrential rain. Luckily, there was an old grill where we could build a fire. The spit roast was a feast-marinated meat cooked directly onto flame has the most delicious taste. Guy chopped down some green hazel for our barbecue spears, but metal skewers with handles would do. Try it on Bonfire Night, when game is in season. We ate the grouse with celeriac chips and braised red cabbage. My mouth waters at the memory’

Thomasina Miers

Mixed game spit-roast feast

An extract from Guy Grieve and Thomasina Miers’
The Wild Gourmets: adventures in food and freedom
Published by Bloomsbury

Feeds 6


1 pheasant
1 mallard
3 grouse or partridge
120ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
For the rosemary salt
Leaves from 2 large sprigs of rosemary, shredded
2 tablespoons Maldon sea salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 teaspoon soft brown sugar


First joint the pheasant and mallard. With a pair of game scissors, cut out the backbone of the grouse or partridge and cut each bird down the middle into two halves.

To make the rosemary salt, using a pestle and mortar, grind all the ingredients into a powder. Put the birds onto a large plate and rub all over with the salt. Drizzle over the olive oil and vinegar and leave to marinate for at least an hour.

When you are ready to eat, spear or thread each piece of meat onto a hazel spear or skewer. Cook over a direct flame (or, if indoors, under a hot grill) for 10-15 minutes, depending on how you like your game. I think the only way is pink, but some like it better done, although flavour and a tender texture are sacrificed.

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