It’s that time of year again. I love it when it begins to warm up and Spring really gets underway. Somehow this year it all seems to have taken much longer for the weather to warm up properly – enough for me to either cook or dine Alfresco.
This weekend was not the first time I have barbecued this season, but it was the first of my favourite menus – Leg of Lamb.
Many people are really quite afraid of doing something like this on a BBQ, but really it is quite easy. (My neighbour insists that it cannot be done…. makes me laugh!)
The trick is to build the fire properly. I always start the fire with charcoal and newspaper. I dislike firelighters, although I do often use them. Make a small mound of charcoal with scrunched up newspaper in the centre of the BBQ. For lamb I use a kettle type BBQ and open the vents underneath so as much air gets to the centre fire. Once the fire is well started add more charcoal.
At this stage the fire will be really smoky and I add the leg for a short while to take advantage of the smokiness. Firstly I cut it along the bone, deep down, and I stuff a few bits of rosemary into the slit. Some people advocate removing the bone, but I never do. On the other side of the lamb I make a few small slits and stuff a few bits of rosemary into them. Don’t overdo the rosemary. Lamb has a very distinctive flavour, and I really cannot see the point of over-flavouring something that already tastes brilliant. I do however rub salt all over the meat.
Next I add several sticks of rosemary straight on top of the coals. I then pop in the leg of lamb, away from the coals and close the lid of the BBQ with the vents nearly closed. I leave the meat for about 20 minutes, and then remove it.
I then shuffle the coals around so that they all burn and when they have cooled quite a bit – they no longer glow bright red until you blow on them – then it is time to add the meat back. Close the lid again for a good hour, turning it often.
I don’t like lamb rare, but also not over-done. Test it with a metal spike. When the liquid runs clear it’s done. Allow the meat to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
I served this with two salads – a tabbouleh and a three-bean salad. For hot sides I made Brussels sprouts in a cheese sauce (browned in the oven) and corn-on-the-cob also from the BBQ and bathed in butter.