Marinated Butterfly Leg of Lamb

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I pay homage to this grilled dish as one of my most favorites, right up there with the other 100’s of tasty treats I love…Keith, a dear friend and culinary go to resource of mine says I am on a ‘Sea Food’ diet…I see food and eat it…..there is a bit of truth to this, but must admit, it’s a bit healthier than my grilled chicken wings days, which I miss terribly and will most definitely post  the recipe and rub for  (regaled by many as the best wings they have ever had)….Back to my lamb…..pictured is what they refer to now as a lamb BRT, boned, rolled and tied (usually in a net). Gone are the days when you would ask a butcher to bone a whole leg for you, which I do when feeding 6 or more people. Like the trimming post on the pork loin that I will cover separately, boning a lamb is not difficult. So you can do it yourself or ask Jimmy or Mike at Shaw’s on Eastern Avenue in Gloucester and they would be glad to help you……

These pictures illustrate the simple technique which can be applied to many different cuts of meat…..Before spearing the meat, turn it fat/skin side up and score it lightly just penetrating through the fat/skin membrane leaving a waffle pattern. If you don’t do this, the skin shrinks when, causing the meat to curl up, not allowing it to cook flat…..

Next, pat dry with paper towels on both sides…..ready for its seasoning massage and delicate spearing of sliced, length wise, spears of fresh garlic or shallots….both produce mouth-watering flavor!!…

Once you have speared the lamb with your choice of garlic or shallots, prepare and combine the seasoning in a mortise or similar bowl. This method of grinding and combining fresh herbs into a paste that you rub into the meat is the absolute best way to fuse all the seasonings together and to be absorbed into the meat, maximizing flavor. Be sure to let the meat rest after rubbing the mixture in well for at least an hour before putting on the grill….the seasoning mixture is as follows:

  • 2 large shallots well minced/diced
  • 2-3 Tbs EVOO depending on thickness of paste
  • 1 Tbs course sea salt
  • 1 Large sprig of rosemary leaves finely diced
  • 1/2 Tbs fresh ground pepper

Grind until well mixed and rub into meat and into scoring on fat side.

As shown well rubbed now for the marinade:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Dry Vermouth, preferred for its crispness of flavor complimenting the seasoning, or substitute with white wine  or a dry red for a Mediterranean flavor.
  • 4 shallots finely diced
  • 1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbs or two healthy sprigs (remove leaves from stem) fresh chopped rosemary.
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley.

Let stand in marinade for at least two hours.

Take lamb in marinade to grill when temp ready at high 300’s to 400 degrees on indirect heat, i.e. cooking with place setter if on the Big Green Egg to avoid flareups…high 300’s perfect – when you get into the 400’s the lamb cooks too quickly losing its juices. After lamb has cooked 10 minutes each side, pull and toss in marinade to baste and place back on grill. I will do this procedure again depending on how long the lamb takes to reach an internal temp of 130 degrees. Take lamb off the grill and let sit loosely covered on the cutting board allowing the natural juices to evenly distribute through the piece of meat, about 10-15 minutes….

As pictured below in earlier tests, I cooked over direct heat on the Big Green Egg with lid down producing excellent results, but requiring a little more attention, turning and basting, which turned me to cooking on indirect flame creating the perfect marinated leg of lamb…on the BGE, my absolute favorite…..

Let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Then slice on the bias, no thicker than 1/4 inch cuts…..

Some suggested side dishes, we love small white beans (or Navy beans/flageolet) or quartered and roasted baby red potatoes – both with fresh chopped rosemary. For the beans, canned beans are convenient and delicious – simply rinse and heat in a double boiler with the rosemary and some butter, salt and pepper. For the potatoes, quarter (or half depending on the size) and toss with EVOO, rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl. Transfer to a roasting pan, sheet pan, or cast iron skillet and cook in a preheated oven at 400-425 degrees until the white flesh gets evenly browned and crispy, and they are fork-tender. To balance out the plate, we love roasted or grilled asparagus, roasted green beans, or roasted carrots.

Try this you will love the flavor…

cooking with passion and reaching out of the box….
Cheers!

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