Tradition dictates that barbecuing is a summer sport, but the method is ideally suited to cooking throughout the year. Admittedly, you’re unlikely to get much success from an open barbecue in the driving rain, but a kettle bbq can account for most weather conditions, and effectively gives you an entire additional oven for cooking in. Believe it or not, our Christmas lunch joints have been cooked on the barbecue for three years running now.
This is a beautiful, simple recipe that is ideally done over charcoal, but also works under a grill (broiler for our American friends). It is a variation on a recipe from Maxine Clark’s fantastic book ‘Flavours of Tuscany’, which gives a range of traditional Tuscan recipes with an exciting modern twist. Maxine is a cooking school teacher in Tuscany, so she knows her stuff.
chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley and good extra virgin olive oil
– Ask your butcher to bone and butterfly the lamb, or do it yourself by cutting towards the bone where it is closest to the skin, then trimming closely around the bone until you can remove it.
– The meat should lie fairly flat – place it skin side down and score through any areas that are thicker to even out the thickness, and remove excess fat.
– Mix all other ingredients together except for the salt and pepper and rub into the cut side of the meat. Season with pepper only:
– Leave to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or ideally overnight. Remove from the marinade and reserve any left over marinade for basting.
– If you have one, put the lamb into a square grill rack, which should allow for easier turning and control flare-ups:
– Cook for around 30-40 min each side, basting every so often and turning regularly to ensure the surface does not burn.
– Once cooked, season with salt and rest in a warm place before slicing, then dress with the chopped parsley and olive oil.
– The picture above is actually a smaller leg of lamb than in the recipe (about 850g boned), so I just halved all the quantities and cooked for around 15 minutes each side.
– You will need to control flare ups if you’re cooking on an open barbecue – keep turning the meet and move it off the heat if the flames are out of control. On a kettle barbecue, cook over direct heat with the lid on and all vents open, turning occasionally.
– Although I’ve given cooking timing guides above (which produce medium done meat), it is best to get familiar with the feeling of meat as the temperature of your barbecue could vary – have a look at this link.