Spiedo Bresciano, also known as spiè in Brescia dialect, is a meat-based Lombard specialty cooked on a spit. It can be tasted in the numerous farmhouses and in the rustic mountain huts on the Brescia side of Lake Garda.
Naturally, cooking the spit is a real local tradition, common all around the Brescia area. It’s a ritual that requires slow cooking (minimum 3-4 hours), in order to make the various pieces of meat soft and succulent.
The ideal seasons to enjoy this hearty dish are autumn and winter, but you will also find the spit on the menu in the rest of the year, especially during the summer events like ‘La vita nei Borghi’.
These are steps that need to be followed to get a perfect spiedo bresciano - the different types of meat and potatoes, all salted and spiced the night before, are layered on the tambür, the traditional machine used to cook the spiedo bresciano.
You always start by putting a piece of potatoes on the “ranfie”, and continue with different types of meat, including coppa (pork neck), guinea fowl, pork loin or rabbit.
Between each piece of meat there must be some sage, which is also ‘packaged’ inside the meat.
The spit should be salted again an hour after cooking begins, and then every 15-20 minutes it should be drizzled with butter and lard while the spits turn slowly.
It’s cooked on embers, obtained from olive wood and vine, or on charcoal.
The spiedo bresciano is a culinary tradition that dates back centuries and involves the whole family - it all starts at 8 in the morning, when the fire is lit to prepare the embers to cook the spit later. Traditionally, the family sits down near the tambür on a cold winter Sunday, and everyone enjoys cooking the spit while sipping a glass of red wine.
A curious fact about the spiedo bresciano - do you know what kind of meat was used in the past? We are talking about uccelletti, small birds that were hunted specifically and that used to be one of the most common sources of protein for locals.