How can you get the maximum BBQ enjoyment out of three very different cuts of lamb without losing the beautiful delicate flavour of the meat?
Lamb is expensive at the moment, so making sure you get it bang on is important, you don’t want to overcook a Â£40 leg of lamb, or burn your Â£20 rack!
The brilliant butcher boys at Jamie’s Barbecoa supplied me with a butterflied leg (a whole and deboned leg), four Barnsley chops (a double-sided chop taken from either side of the loin) and a French-trimmed rack. Remember, go easy on lamb as it is high in saturated fat, and we don’t want you to be!
These are of course my recipes and cooking times, not Jamie’s, but they are fail-safe as long as you have a lid on your charcoal-fuelled barbie. For all of these, I used five good handfuls of lumpwood charcoal (a shoebox full), placed on top of flaming wood kindling to one side of the bbq until the smoke subsided and the charcoal was covered in a white ash.
Figgy butterflied leg with Greek couscous
I rubbed olive oil onto both sides of the lamb and seasoned with salt and pepper. Once the grill was hot enough I placed it skin side down close to, but not directly above, the coals.
I shut the lid, and left alone. After 20 minutes I turned it over and closed the lid for a further 10 minutes. I removed it from the grill and smeared fig preserve over both sides – I used a whole jar – and returned to the same place on the grill for 5 minutes each side. I then removed from heat, covered with foil and left for 15 minutes.
While this wasn’t as pink as I normally would prefer, I was the only one who ate it rare, so these timings are for medium; but it was so juicy and amazingly tender with a sweet, sticky glaze. I sliced it thinly (half-inches) and served with a Greek couscous. The couscous grain was soaked in hot water mixed with a vegetable bouillon stock, once cooled we tossed in cucumbers, cubes of feta, smashed black olives and lightly oven roasted cherry tomatoes. Season with pepper, but add no salt due to the sodium content of the stock and cheese. This would feed six.
Good old juicy rack with punchy gremolata
Racks look like they should be tough to cook on a bbq, but this was the easiest of the three cuts. I rubbed olive oil onto the skin side and placed close to, but not over, the coals. I walked away for 18 minutes, removed them, covered them in foil and let stand for 10 minutes. I removed each chop and served with a gremolata and plain boiled Jersey new potatoes.
For the gremolata, I mixed a good slug of good quality extra-virgin olive oil, two big chopped handfuls of parsley, raw garlic (used as much as you can handle, I used four cloves), juice of one lemon and grated zest of half a lemon, pinch of salt and a good grind pepper. Pound it in a pestle and mortar or blitz in a hand blender until loose but still fairly rough textured. You usually get eight chops per rack – for a main course I suggest three chops each.
Smoky Barnsley chops
I smothered both sides with a hot barbecue sauce and let marinate for 20 minutes – the Jme Big Bang Hot Smoky Sauce is perfect. I then placed them directly over the coals for a quick sizzle (one-minute each side) and then to the side of the coals, closed the lid for 5 minutes. Turn them over, five further minutes and serve – we just picked at these. The fat was crispy with a beautiful hot twang.