I grew up in a family that never ate lamb. I'm from Oklahoma, and that translates into beef, beef and more beef. Once I reached adulthood, I had the opportunity to try lamb and discovered I liked it. But once I started cooking it at home, I found I LOVED it. The bottom line is that lamb is one of those meats that really needs to be cooked correctly in order to be enjoyed. Fortunately, it's not at all difficult to cook.
The American Lamb Board is hosting a contest for the best lamb recipies and offered me a butterflied leg of lamb in exchange for a recipe and a post about my experience. Last week, I grilled that leg of lamb...it was phenomenal! It was super simple, too...see below for the recipe.
2 cups strongly brewed coffee (cooled)
2 cups red wine (Chianti or Pinot Noir work well)
¼ cup molasses ½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp finely ground coffee
2 tsp cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, outer peel removed and smashed
2-3 tsp salt
1 leg of lam, boneless and butterflied
Add and mix together all of the above ingredients in a large container. Remove lamb from package and add to marinade fat side up. Do not trim fat. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
Use a chimney starter to light coals. When coals are ready, prepare charcoal grill using indirect heat method by adding the majority of coals to half of the grill, leaving the other half empty. If you are using a gas grill, light only half of the burners.
Before grilling, take lamb out of the refrigerator and out of the marinating liquid. Remove garlic cloves and pour remaining liquid into small saucepan and reduce over medium heat. Let lamb come to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes) before grilling. Once the liquid has reduced, it can be used as a basting sauce. Use a brush to apply during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Place lamb on grill, fat side down, on the side that has no coals. Flip every 10-15 minutes until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat reads 130 degrees. Depending upon the size of the leg of lamb and the temperature of your grill, it can take between 30 minutes to an hour for the lamb to reach medium rare. Remove lamb from grill and place on cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve thin slices against the grain. Serve.
TIPS: Don't overcook lamb, it's best served medium rare. Also, don't remove fat from the lamb, it helps the meat stay moist and flavorful.