Smoked Leg of Lamb with Mustard Mint SauceSaturday, March 26, 2016
Disclaimer: I received compensation and a product sample for this post. The opinions and text are all mine.
I'm back with another lamb recipe for the spring holidays! I've been excited about my partnership with The American Lamb Board this year, so this was a fun post to work on. Last summer, I spent a lot of time learning to grill and smoke meats outdoors. Now that our weather is returning to tolerable temperatures, it's a great time to get back out there and continue the adventure. As many of you may remember, we smoked our turkey for Thanksgiving last year. It turned out to make the rest of the holiday cooking easier, as it freed up the oven. When I received this beautiful leg of lamb to play with, I knew that smoking it would make for an interesting spring roast. This was a great, low-carb and Whole 30 compliant weekend dinner and would be a fabulous alternative to traditional spring roasts.
I chose to work with a boneless leg of lamb, which is the leanest cut of American lamb but still has great marbling within. I've always loved the robust flavor of lamb, and definitely preferred this over the beef roasts I have cooked in the past. Because the bone was removed, I was able to open up the cut of meat and slather it with a garlicky mustard marinade inside. The salt in the marinade helped to season the meat from within, for more flavorful meat. All in all, it was a really easy process and took about half a day, not including the overnight marinade. The most challenging part was really just tying the roast up with butcher's twine. I totally did a hack job but my technique is getting slightly better. This video tutorial from The American Lamb Board helped a bit with that part (the roast is tied at the 1:45 mark) but the whole video was helpful for tips in working with a leg of lamb.
My dad helped me by setting up the Weber Smokey Mountain Barbecue Smoker with applewood. The tied leg of lamb smoked for about three and a half hours total. I let it rest for thirty minutes and then finished it over direct heat on the grill to crisp the outer layer of skin, an optional step. You can use any smoker with this recipe, just follow your manufacturer's directions for the ideal setup. I tend to peruse the bbq and smoking forums online whenever I try something new, and found great tips for our smoker at the Amazing Ribs site.
If you don't have a smoker to use and still want to work with a boneless leg of lamb in a similar way, you can roast it in the oven (use a roasting pan with a rack) at the same low temperature. You obviously won't get the benefits of the smoke for flavor, but you can achieve a juicy, medium rare roast for the holidays.
8 cloves roasted garlic* (see note)
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cracked black pepper, more as needed
2 tbsp kosher salt, more as needed
Olive oil, as needed
For the Mustard Mint Sauce:
1/4 cup parsley
2 cloves roasted garlic* (see note)
2 tbsp creole or dijon mustard
Total Time: 8 hours (up to 24 with an overnight marinade)
Yield: Serves 8 generously with leftovers
Special Equipment: Smoker and/or grill, food processor or mortar & pestle (optional)