Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Barbecued Rolled leg of lamb 子羊のもも肉のバーベキュー

Since it was Easter and my wife loves lamb, we decided to have a lamb barbecue. I saw a relatively inexpensive (especially compared with the rack of lamb) leg of lamb (bone-in), I decided to make a rolled leg of lamb cooked in our usual Weber kettle. Often, we butter-fly a leg of lamb since it is quicker and easier to cook and the exposed surface will be well cooked. Even if we buy a previously deboned and rolled leg of lamb, I remove the trussing and open it up. I do this because I cannot know how much exposure the meat has had to the environment while it was being prepared at the store. When it is rolled the exposed surface gets tucked inside the roll and often is not fully cooked especially if it is cooked to be slightly pink inside. If I debone and roll it myself, I know the inner surface was not exposed to the environment much before it was rolled.

Lamb: This was bone-in leg of lamb and was around 4 lb with bone (I think). I did a bit of surgery to removed the bone (including the knee joint). I cleaned the sliver skin, excess fat and fibrous tissue around the joint.

Seasoning: I could have stuffed the leg but I decided to make it simply. I made a mixture of parsley (6-7 sprigs, stalks removed and finely chopped), garlic (3 fat cloves, finely chopped), lemon zest (1 large, zest removed using a micrograter, about 2 tbs).

I seasoned the inside of the lamb (the portion that used to face the bone) with black pepper and salt and smeared the parsley mixture and rolled. Using butcher's twine, I trussed it to make  a neat cylinder. I rubbed the surface with olive oil and then seasoned rather severely with black pepper and Kosher salt.

I cooked this in the Weber kettle using indirect heart like I do with whole chicken. I did not use wood chips so that the delicate flavor of the lamb and the parsley/lemon zest seasoning would come through better.  As usual, we wrapped sweet potatoes and whole onions in aluminium foil and put them on the grill around the meat. After 45 minutes, I inserted the temperature probe in the middle of the thickest part of the meat and cooked another 15-20 minutes or until the thermometer registered 140F (for medium). I cooked a bit more than I would have liked. I removed the meat to a plate and covered it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

The smell of the garlic, lemon, and roasted lamb wafted throughout the kitchen while we were preparing for the side dishes of onion and sweet potatoes. The vegetables were all prepared by my wife including roasted carrot with tarragon and green beans. I think she added butter, soy sauce and a splash of sushi vinegar to the onion and just butter and soy sauce to the sweet potatoes.

Fresh lemony and garlicky flavors with still fresh tasting parsley were wonderful. I usually use rosemary for the lamb, but without rosemary, it is more delicate tasting. The sweet potatoes were particularly sweet. (I asked my wife if she added any sugar and she said no, all the sweetness came from the potato itself).

Of course, the libation has to be a good red. We were having Gundlach Bundschu Carbernet Souvignon 2007. Initially when we tasted this without food, we thought it was a bit muted. With the lamb, it really tasted better. It is not one of these fruit and vanilla-laden kind but subtle complex black fruit, earthy spices with good minerality were coming through. This is obviously not a sipping wine but a very decent food wine.

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