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Juicy Smoked Lamb Leg
Juicy and perfectly pink, this smoked lamb leg takes an overnight marinade before being immersed in a smoke bath.
If you haven’t tried smoking lamb, you’re missing out. Period. Whereas the shoulder lends itself to pulled lamb in a similar way to a pork butt, smoked lamb leg roast is begging to be cooked to a perfect medium rare/medium.
Lamb is hugely popular amongst the cuisines of all continents except North America, which is a damn tragedy. So I took a some marinading inspiration from Turkish style shawarma, before treating the roast to a good ol’ fashioned Texas style smoke session in my offset pit. I used post oak wood, but hickory, pecan or even mesquite would compliment.
Shawarma is similar to a kebab or gyro, marinaded meat layered onto a skewer before being rotisserie roasted and shaved into pita bread. Delish! While cooking at Churrascada in Brazil, I was introduced to Turkish chef Maksut Askar who showed me a simple but flavorful paste-style marinade. I had tried traditional wet (brine) marinades before, but this was something quite different. Whole onions, garlic and some herbs are blended to a fine pulp, then slathered across the meat to maximise the intensity of flavor. The aromatics lend themselves perfectly to the gaminess of the lamb, and also the boldness of the smoke flavor.
For what it’s worth, I prefer using Australian or New Zealand lamb (which you can get at Costco). It’s somehow “lambier” than most of the American domestic lamb, which means it has more flavor.
There are four special tools you’ll need for this recipe:
- Hardcore Carnivore Camo seasoning (obviously I recommend you use this, I am the one who developed it!)
- Butcher’s twine (easily available from Amazon or specialty cookware stores).
- Butcher paper to rest the meat in (you’ll have developed an amazing crust, foil can make it melt away, so this porous non-coated paper is recommended and you can get it here).
- A decent meat thermometer to accurately monitor your temperature.
Turkish marinaded smoked lamb leg
- 6lb deboned lamb leg
- 2 medium size or one large onion
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley (firmly packed)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2-3 tablespoons Hardcore Carnivore Camo seasoning
- Start by making the marinade. In a food processor, combine the onion, garlic, parsely and cumin. Blend to fine paste.
- If the leg of lamb is tied, cut the strings to open it up. Season the meat on both sides with kosher salt, then place into a large container. Slather the onion paste across the meat on both sides, covering generously. Cover and put into the fridge for at least 8 or up to 24 hours.
- Fire up a smoker to cook at 250f.
- Remove the lamb from the marinade, scraping most of it off and discarding. Season the meat on the inner side with 1/3 of the Camo seasoning. Use butcher twine to tie the lamb back together into a roast. The even shape will help you keep the meat pink in the middle without overcooking the edges.
- Use the remaining Hardcore Carnivore Camo rub to liberally coat the outside of the tied lamb leg, then place into the smoker. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the middle reads 138 degrees, about 2-3 hours.
- Once the lamb has reached temperature (I recommend you cook it closer to medium for optimal results), wrap it in 1-2 layers of butchers paper and place into a cooler (without ice) to rest for 45 minutes.
- Remove leg from the cooler, unwrap, cut twine and slice to serve.
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