Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grilled Leg of Lamb

When perfectly marinated and seasoned, grilled lamb just might be my favorite grilled meat. The seasons from the marinade soak into the lamb, producing beautiful, layered, and complex flavors that are only enhanced with the smokiness from the grill.

I really like this marinade because it is so flavorful with the red wine and only has a small amount of olive oil. (Other marinades I’ve used contained much more olive oil, which can then cause grease fires on the grill.) I let it sit in the marinade all day while I was at work. When I came home, I removed the meat from the marinade and seasoned it with an herb rub mixture before grilling.

Adapted from: Classic Roast Leg of Lamb,
The Food and Wine of Greece; and Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, Gourmet Magazine

2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary and/or oregano, chopped
Strained fresh juice of 2 lemons
1 cup dry red wine
1 boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, about 5 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Herb Rub:
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Strained juice of 1 lemon

Rinse the lamb well and pat dry with paper towels. Trim fat and set aside.

To prepare the marinade, finely chop garlic cloves and combine them in a large bowl with olive oil, rosemary and/or oregano, juice of lemons, and red wine. Marinate lamb in mixture, covered and refrigerated, for 6 to 12 hours, turning lamb every few hours.

Prepare the herb rub. Finely chop garlic cloves and stir together with the remaining ingredients.

Remove lamb from marinade and put in a large dish. With the tip of a sharp knife held at a 45-degree angle, cut ½-inch slits all over lamb. Rub the herb rub mixture into the slits and all over the lamb.

Prepare the grill. On a lightly oiled rack, grill lamb about 10 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers at 125 degrees F for medium-rare. Remove from grill, loosely cover with aluminum foil, and let the meat rest, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cut into slices and serve immediately.

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