Smoked Lamb Is Easier Than It Sounds
At the end of the month, there are many traditional holiday foods to consider. Roasted ribs, more turkey, sometimes ham or wellington. But I am more a fan of lamb – and not only fried meat, but whole legs. And given that we have had unseasonably warm weather since May, I think it’s time to talk about smoking.
Smoking is a great way to make large, expensive cuts, and lamb is no exception. The meat is slowly cooked using indirect radiant heat and is scented with smoke, with a delicious blend of seasonings rubbed in on top of it. Whether you choose boneless or boneless, this rich red cut deserves a star of the show. And so be it. But we need to discuss our tools before we get there, because I use a gas grill for that. Several members informed me that I was not allowed to buy a new charcoal grill for this week’s post. Instead, I will be using a three-burner propane grill.
I won’t argue for or against the purity of charcoal or pellets, but listen: you have to be able to adapt to what you have. Despite the fact that charcoal has become very popular over the past few years, the fact remains: there are more propane grills, and they can all be used as smokers. Heat management is much easier thanks to the adjustable flow and multiple burners, there is no need to adjust the vents to compensate for inlet and outlet, and the lost heat when the lid is opened is easily replaced with a twist of a knob.
Gas Grill Smoking: The Eighth Deadly Sin
So, other than wood chips, you don’t need much to put your gas grill into smoked mode. Smoke boxes are available wherever you find a grill, and while you can use an aluminum foil bag, a well-made smoke box will prevent the chips from burning out as quickly. I suggest starting with a box full of chips and replacing them with a bag if necessary.
There are also people who will advise you to dunk your chips. This is great advice for smoking long periods of 5+ hours, but our lamb is not a 14 pound brisket. It will only take a few hours – maybe a maximum of 3 – so I’ll be using dry chips. They will start smoking earlier, and since I use a thicker steel box, they will last for the duration of the preparation.
Yes, that’s the catch
By now, you’ve probably seen smoked meats that are simply covered in fresh black outer layers. It is a crust formed by the fusion of smoke and seasoning with meat to create a delicious crust of happiness. This is usually done with a high sugar and salt grind, but since I use a more complex cut, I want it to shine like some crazy diamond.
Since I’m missing the bark and still have a wonderful brag-worthy cut on my table, I’ll be brining dry. Dry brine is just a fancy way of saying “salt and refrigerate overnight.” As our old friend Meathead says , aim for a ½ teaspoon of salt for every pound of meat. While the lamb is resting overnight, grate.
The mash can be anything. I can’t stop you if you want to cook one of the bees and thistle, but there are some flavors that go better with meat than others, as well as some that I recently discovered. For my scar, I will use
- 1 tablespoon each dried thyme, dried rosemary and granulated garlic, ground
- 4 tablespoons frozen cranberries, minced
AHA. It turns out that frozen fruits impart amazing flavor when you grind them into powder, while sweet and bitter cranberries create an absolutely insane level of flavor amid the richness of lamb.
If you are using a leg with a butterfly, season the inside and out before tying the log in your best shape. Try to keep the proportions so that the lamb cooks evenly, but for now, put it back in the refrigerator.
Light them up
While the ingredients to grind are lamb friendly, remove one wire rack from the grill. You will place the wood chips as close to the burner as possible, and if you were heating the grill now, you would simply be wasting energy. So keep it hot and hot, around 500-550 ° F. If possible, monitor the temperature with a thermometer and oven / grill clamp. I love my grill, but I wouldn’t trust the built-in thermometer for maximum accuracy as far as I can throw it.
Once the grate rises, clean and oil the remaining grate. Place the wood chips in foil or a box on an open burner. For a three-burner grill, turn off the other two burners and lower the burner when the chips are at medium-medium-low to keep the temperature at 300 ° F, and go find that lamb. Within 10-15 minutes, you should see a decent amount of smoke coming from the grill. Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the lamb before opening the grill and losing heat. If possible, set the target temperature to 140 ° F. Quickly place the lamb on the remaining wire rack, as far away from the active burner as possible. Remember that you are cooking indirectly as if you were cooking in an oven, so direct flame is bad here. The only thing left to do here is to wait, so if you’re in an area with temperatures above 52 ° F, pull up a chair and grab a book. Depending on the size of the haircut you are using, at least three hours should be enough for you.
Truly hands off
If the smoke does not stop, you do not need to open the grill. The lamb does not need to be turned, turned over, touched, nothing. That’s all. Let the warmth do it and you will soon reap the rewards of your “hard work.”
Once your target temperature is reached, remove the lamb from the grill and leave it uncovered for 15 minutes; the internal temperature will rise by another ten degrees. Just go away.
Then come back with a thirteen-inch slicing knife and hold it.
However, you shouldn’t rob much for mutton – damn it, any part of anything can be smoked just as easily. I’m thinking of making a grated elderberry grated reindeer grate for New Years while the weather lasts.