After discovering this method for cooking lamb, it’s shot to the top of my favourite meats to BBQ. If, unlike me, you put your grill away for the winter, I beg you to dig it out and dust it off for this one. You won’t regret it, I promise. If you can’t, or won’t *rolls eyes in disappointment* it’ll still be great cooked in the oven. It cooks really fast, and because there’s no bone to worry about it carves like a dream!
If using a BBQ, you will need to set up for indirect cooking, with half the charcoal grate free from coals and the other with lit coals spread evenly over the grate. This gives you a hot and cool zone to cook on. I recommend using a chimney starter to light your charcoal or lump wood, but it’s not essential. Just make sure you wait until your fuel is ashed over.
If not using a BBQ, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, gas mark 7.
A quick word about butchery
If purchasing your lamb from the butcher, you can always ask him or her to debone and butterfly it for you. If you’re like me however, you’ll want to do it yourself. This is where I call on the wonderful YouTube to provide me with a tutorial. I promise it’s not difficult. Just use a nice sharp knife and take your time.
My butcher guru is Scott Rea of The Scott Rea Project. He has a brilliant video tutorial on How To Debone & Butterfly a Leg Of Lamb. It’s a great piece of meat to have a go at doing yourself because preferably you want lots of slashes in the meat to allow all the flavours to permeate. So if your first attempt isn’t particularly neat, it doesn’t matter! The more rustic looking the better! Check out his YouTube channel via the link above, but be prepared to spend hours watching his brilliant tutorials!
1 deboned and butterflied leg of lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and a small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
Zest of a whole lemon
Salt and pepper
Serves 8 (But do it even if there’s just the two of you. The leftovers make the most incredible shepherds pie!)
Rub the deboned and butterflied lamb all over with the olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon zest. Season with plenty of coarsely ground black pepper and, to begin with, a little salt. Ideally leave the lamb to marinade in the fridge overnight, although I’ve done this recipe with only an hour to marinade and it was still beautiful.
Remove the lamb from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking. At this stage, season the meat with a little more salt.
Set up your BBQ or preheat your oven, depending which method you choose. If using the oven place a wire rack in the base of your roasting tray and place the lamb on it.
For oven cooking
Roast the lamb in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and tent with foil. For juicy pink lamb allow to rest for 15 minutes. For slightly more well done, rest for 30 minutes.
Begin by cooking the lamb directly over the coals for 8 minutes, turning regularly to prevent flare-ups. Once well seared transfer to indirect cooking, place the lid on the BBQ, vents open, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove and rest as above.
I served the lamb sliced thinly and stuffed into pittas with mango salsa, shredded lettuce and avocado. But you could just as easily serve it as a straightforward roast. It would also be great with couscous, or along side a nice Greek salad. Get creative!
Enjoy! K x