Grilling Butterflied Leg of Lamb
With this butterflied leg of lamb recipe you will discover that hot smoking lamb meat is easier than you might think. Ay mate! This easy barby meat recipe does not take too long, and the result is a beautiful piece of really spicy and juicy hot smoked lamb. After an hour of hot smoking on charcoal briquettes and oak wood, followed by a little rest under aluminium foil, this butterflied lamb meat was cooked to medium and had already developed a fairly nice smoke ring around the edges.
Don't worry, we're not going to barbecue butterflies here.
To butterfly meat means that you cut a round and thick piece of meat in such a way that you end up with a flat piece of meat which is much thinner.
Butterflying a cut of meat has some advantages, for example:
- Thinner meat needs less cooking time;
- A marinade or dry rub will be more effective on thinner meat;
- If you have an uneven shaped piece of meat, you can butterfly the thicker part and thereby create a piece with a more even overall thickness, which will cook better.
For more info, please check out our dedicated webpage:
How to Butterfly a Leg of Lamb
Smoking Leg of Lamb
1. Leg of Lamb
Buy a nice leg of lamb. The lamb on the photos came from New Zealand and weighed about 3 pounds. I also buy Australian lamb, or I buy local lamb at a Turkish butchershop here in town.
I butterflied this leg of lamb as indicated above.
2. Dry Rub or Wet Rub?
While most of the time we use a dry rub or marinade to add that extra touch of flavour to barbecue meat, there is also an option to use a wet rub made out of fresh herbs.
Although here at Hot Smoke BBQ we are really into barbecue, we are also crazy about hot and spicy Indian lamb curries. It was therefore quite obvious that we developed a fresh curry paste for use on barbecue lamb.
Wet Rub / Barbecue Curry Paste for Lamb
As an alternative to wet rub, we can also recommend the following dry rubs for barbeque lamb:
Brazos Beef Rub
Juancho's Mustard Rub Number 1
And as you might have thought, this mustard rub combines very well with Juancho's Honey Mustard Glazing.
Put the leg of lamb on a clean and dry surface, or in large non-reactive bowl, and apply the dry rub or wet rub, spreading the rub with your hands and working it into all crevices until you have the whole cut of meat nicely and evenly covered on all sides.
3. The Barby
You could prepare your Weber barby or similar covered barbecue grill for indirect grilling as per the method provided in the instruction booklet (if any), but we recommend Juancho's Split Grill.
Juancho's Split Grill
To obtain sustained lower heat and improved temperature control, and to increase the grate area and be able to accommodate more meat or larger cuts, I developed an improved hot smoking method whereby the Weber Grill is set up for indirect grilling on one side.
A few things worth noting:
4. Time to Relax
With your barbecue all set and smoking, stick the leg of lamb on the grill above the dripping pan. Close the lid, open the vent valves on top of your Weber, close the bottom vents to 1/4 open, and Bob's yer uncle!
You might also consider putting some potatoes on the grate next to the leg of lamb.
With that butterflied leg of lamb resting in your black backyard coal-fired microwave, take it easy.
While whisps of Hot Smoke travel through your backyard or over the edge of your porch or balcony, take a seat, read a good cookbook, shake a cocktail, or just do nothing.
Enjoy that lovely smell. There's nothing that can make you feel more down to earth and relaxed.
5. Check that Roast
Try to resist peeking under the lid of your bbq too often. Every time you open your smoker you will loose heat, and the cooking process will take longer. On the other hand, if you have time anyway, what the heck...
After about half an hour of hot smoking at temperatures in between 350°F and 400°F, you should check under the lid to see if the skin is not turning too dark.
If you are afraid that the skin will turn too dark, cover the lamb cuts loosely with aluminium foil.
5. Dinner Time
Like beef, overcooked lamb will turn out dry. For that reason we prefer our lamb done to medium, with juices still flowing a bit.
Taking into account that the meat will continue cooking even after you have taken it off the grill - the "Afterburner" as described under our Rib Roast - we should take the meat off the grill at some time before it is cooked to medium.
After one hour of hot smoking at temperatures in between 350°F and 400°F without opening the lid too often, these butterflied legs of lamb - which were about 1.5 inch thick - were cooked medium rare.
To check in how far a barbecue roast is actually done, I simply cut into the meat to look inside. Within 3 seconds you know everything you need to know!
I took the meat off the grill, covered it loosely with aluminium foil, and let it rest for a while to allow the internal juices to redistribute. This is quite important to increase the overall quality of a barbecue roast.
Here you see the hot smoked butterflied leg of lamb on the cutting board. Note the hidden cross cut that I made to check for doneness.
The PitBoss Suggests:
Blue Smoke Barbecue Fries
Corn Tomato Cucumber Salad ("CTC Salad")
Cold beer (!) or a red wine like Rioja, Merlot or Malbec.
Also: cold mineral water with fresh lemon slices.