Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BAArbecue: Smoked Lamb

I've been on a lamb kick ever since I was interviewed about lamb for the Tri-City Herald. That's that way it is with me and lamb - I go on a baa baa binge and then stop cold turkey for long periods. So we are in a lamb phase presently. Last night I smoked a small boneless leg of lamb. I picked one with a nice fat cap covering it. Lamb is pretty lean meat, with pockets of fat inside and on top that add moisture and flavor.

Lamb begs to be smoked, in my opinion. I prepared this one simply, as I always do lamb. The meat is so flavorful, I don't like a lot of ingredients to compete with it.

Rub it first with olive oil and kosher salt. Chop 4 cloves of garlic and rub into all the folds of the lamb. Pour a cup or so of red wine over it and let sit while you make your fire. Turn it once in the wine before putting on the grill.

Make a low fire; I like to keep it right at 200 degrees. Place meat indirectly from the fire. Smoke for about 3-4 hours. I used hickory because that's what I had. Fruit woods and grapevines are my preference for lamb. This leg was small, only about 2 pounds, so it took 3 hours. Most take 4.

Baste with wine every 45 minutes to an hour when you add your already-hot coals to the fire.

Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. Notice the nice smoke ring on this leg. The meat was perfectly tender.

A final note: Lamb is great for kids. Often beef and pork are too hard for them to eat, but lamb chews easily. My son loves lamb.

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