The holidays are the time to grill something special! While ham or beef tenderloin are the usual choices for the Christmas table centerpiece roast, why not try something different and serve a Leg of Lamb this year? It’s the perfect hearty meat for those cold winter nights, and is easy to smoke and roast at the same time on your TEC Grill with the Infrared Smoker/Roaster Rack.
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WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Most grocery stores or specialty markets carry several different cuts of lamb. Whole legs will come either bone-in, partially deboned, or boneless. For smoke roasting, bone-in or partially deboned are the best way to go. They will roast more slowly, and allow the meat to absorb more of the smokiness, and the bone adds lots of flavor to the meat and keeps it moist.
If you want a more elegant presentation, you can also try racks of lamb that have been frenched. You can either roast them individually, or tie two or more racks together to make a crown roast. Read on the Backyard Blog how to make a lamb crown roast.
Another option is to smoke/roast lamb shanks. The key here is that the meat needs to slowly cook for a long time so that it becomes tender, and not tough and stringy. But no matter the lamb cut, you are certain to impress your holiday guests with this foolproof recipe.
PREPARE THE LAMB
Lamb is usually available defrosted and ready to go. But if you are using frozen lamb, be sure to let it defrost for a few days in the refrigerator. An herb rub helps to crisp up the skin while flavoring the meat as it cooks. Here, we went for the classic Mediterranean flavors of rosemary, oregano, garlic, and orange.
Rinse the lamb under cold water.
Pat the lamb dry all over with paper towels, and place on a sheet pan. Make sure that the lamb is completely dry.
Make the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine about 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, 3-4 cloves of garlic chopped, and the zest and juice of 1/2 orange. Stir to combine. Split the sauce in half, and reserve one half for serving.
Rub the herb sauce all over the outside of the lamb. Season all over with salt and pepper, pressing gently to adhere the herbs and spices to the lamb.
Set lamb aside at room temperature if grilling right away, or place it in the refrigerator up to overnight. Just remember to remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to grilling.
SMOKE/ROAST THE LAMB
Now for the easy part!
Place the Smoker/Roaster rack on top of the grates of your TEC Grill. Position the chip corral in front of the rack, and fill the corral with small wood chips (we suggest hickory or mesquite wood with lamb). No need to pre-soak the chips!
Preheat the grill on medium for 10 minutes with the hood closed until the chips start to smoke.
Place the lamb on the Smoker/Roaster rack.
If desired, position a remote thermometer deep in the thigh of the lamb, taking care not to touch the tip of the probe to the bone (this will give you an incorrect temperature reading).
Turn the heat down to low, and close the hood.
Check on the lamb about every 30 minutes to replenish the wood chips, check its temperature, and admire as the skin starts to crisp up.
Cook until the lamb’s internal temperature reaches 135°F, about 2 hours for a 3-4 pound leg of lamb.
Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes, and preferably 30 minutes, before carving. Serve with the reserved herb sauce on the side.