BBQ21/17: Grilled butterflied lamb leg
I grilled a mutton shoulder a while back and it wasn’t great, my mistake as mutton is better smoked low and slow (which I have done since!) – I don’t remember cooking too many big lamb joints on the bbq and was keen to give this a go as a Sunday roast variant.
The recipe I chose was “Grilled Butterflied Lamb Leg with Kentucky Mop Sauce” from the Hang Fire cookbook. It does tell you how to de-bone a leg of lamb but I was keen to get this one right with it being my first big bit of lamb on the grill so I asked Turner and George to de-bone and butterfly it for me when I ordered the meat (£28 for 2.5kg). The recipe calls for a 4kg boneless leg of lamb, not sure if this is the weight with the bone in but I couldn’t find one that big in any of the usual places I buy meat from but the 2.5kg was plenty big enough for us for a couple of meals, lunches and there is still half in the freezer! The butcher did a great job taking the bone out, far better than I would have achieved but I will give it a go next time, I am sure Scott Rea has a handy video on it!
I made the marinade (Yoghurt, lemon juice and zest, rapeseed oil, sliced garlic cloves, chopped mint leaves, rosemary, thyme, ground pepper and sea salt) and blitzed them with a hand blender. Then I took a sharp knife and made small cuts all over both sides of the lamb. The recipe says to put the lamb in a ziplock bag with the marinade but none of our bags were close to big enough so I put it in a tray and covered it, flipping it over every few hours.
I left the lamb to marinade for 24 hours then took it out, patted it with kitchen paper to remove the excess and seasoned the lamb with salt and pepper.
You can see it’s taken the marinade quite well as the colour has changed a fair bit.
I fired up the grill with Birch from Oxford Charcoal which they recommend for lamb and I put a couple of chunks of Hickory in which smelt fantastic as they burnt. I set the BBQ up with 2 zones as the recipe calls to cook it directly and indirectly. The recipe is a bit confused actually as it first says you will cook it indirectly then finish it over direct heat (reverse sear) but then it says to sear it first then move it to indirect heat. I did the latter and the fat caught a little bit so I would actually reverse sear it next time.
I made the Kentucky mop sauce (Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar, dark brown sugar, tomato puree, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, onion powder, ground cloves and lemon juice) – it was easy to make in a pan and just simmers for 15 minutes. Tasted fantastic though!
The estimated times were around an hour for 3-4kg of meat, mine was 2.5kg before the bone was taken out so it should have been less but that didn’t sound long enough for me! I put the iGrill in to track the temps and aimed to take it out at 65c (recipe says 60c to 65c). I was surprised how fast it was to cook as it hit 60c after 40 minutes, I gave it an extra 5 minutes and it got to 65c then I took it off and wrapped it loosely to rest in foil for 15 minutes. It was a bit quicker than expected so I was rushing the sides a bit to catch up! In the end the meat rested closer to half an hour but it didn’t seem to cause any issues.
It was time to slice into the meat, I was still convinced this wasn’t enough time and had stabbed it no end with a thermapen which had confirmed the internal temp was above 60c but I still expected to see it looking rare as I sliced it! It was a great relief to slice it open and see it nice and pink with plenty of juice coming out, it was just as I had hoped it to be!
As I was slicing the meat my family were swarming me and eating it as fast as I could slice it! Always a great sign when 2 very small children are wolfing it down and I must admit I eat a lot of it myself, it tasted so good! I sliced half of it and kept the other half as a whole to freeze to try and avoid it drying out when frozen, will see how it comes out when we defrost it. The amount of juice that came out of this as I sliced it was unreal.
My plating skills left me here and it doesn’t look too good in the photo but it tasted really good which is the main thing! I made a load of hasselback sweet potatoes using the Hang Fire recipe (1 hour indirect) and I made the Lexington Style Red Slaw with Beets that we had for BBQ12/17: Smoked Pork Belly with Pit Beans and Slaw http://kungfubbq.co.uk/bbq1217-smoked-pork-belly-pit-beans-and-slaw – I put some extra mop sauce in a dish to dip the meat in along the way.
Leftovers worked well in a sandwich the next day!
Changes for next time:
- Have a go at de-boning and butterflying the lamb!
- Reverse sear the lamb instead of direct then indirect.
- Remember it might only take about 45 minutes to cook before it rests, base the side cooking on that!
- Plate it up better so the final photos are better!