Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Anchovy and Rosemary Smoked Leg of Lamb

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Anchovies? REALLY?  YES.  It is a secret flavor weapon of goodness in this fantastic BBQ recipe.  This is fabulous for any special occasion. 

6 garlic cloves
9 flat anchovy fillets, drained and patted dry
2 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup white wine
½  cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon celery salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Boneless leg of lamb
2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper


Because of the smaller size of lamb cuts, smoking lamb can be done easily in a Weber kettle grill. A boneless leg of lamb can weigh as little as 5 pounds, and fits easily on smaller grills, even when set up for indirect grilling. The layer of fat on the outside is a nice bonus, which makes leg of lamb ideal for the grill or smoker.  The boneless meat is tied into a uniform shape using string or a string-mesh bag. The consistent shape ensures even cooking. 

Marinate lamb:  Mince garlic and anchovies and mash to a paste with a large heavy knife, stir together with the wine, vinegar, garlic salt, sugar and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, beating with a whisk to create an emulsion.  Untie the leg of lamb, Make several small 1-inch-deep slits in lamb with a paring knife, then put it into a large zip-lock bag, zip it closed tightly and man handle it, pushing some marinade into slits. ‘Talk dirty to it if you must.’  Marinate overnight or for 4 to 6 hours in the fridge.  Remove and drain. Tie back together into original shape. Pat exterior dry. 

When using a smoker, get the smoke chamber temperature up to between 275-300 degrees Fahrenheit if you can. If not, you'll just have to cook for a longer amount of time.  If using your grill, use the indirect grilling method, and aim for a grill temperature of 325 degrees. Place a pan underneath the leg of lamb to catch juices that can be used for a yummy sauce or gravy.

Use a small amount of apple or cherry wood for smoke (hickory or oak will work fine too). Burning rosemary adds a unique flavor. You can lay branches of fresh rosemary directly on charcoal, or wrap fresh (or dried) rosemary in foil and use just like foil packets of smoker wood.

Lamb is best when served at medium-rare(145° F) to medium(160°F) in doneness. Remove the smoked leg of lamb from the smoker or grill when its internal temperature reaches a temperature 5 to 10 degrees under your target done temperature. Let it rest at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

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