Mary may’ve had a little lamb, but we need a great big lamb to feed these hungry carnivores!
We have made this recipe countless times over the years, with varying results. The first variable involves marinating the meat. Often we get the bright idea to grill lamb too late in the day to be able to get the tenderizing benefit the yogurt marinade provides. One of the welcome upsides to this Barefoot project is that it makes me plan ahead, so when the recipe advises you to marinate the lamb overnight or up to three days, I can actually give the lamb a nice soak for a good seven or eight hours, rather than a scant hour or two.
The other variable involves the grill. That’s where my cooking partner, Grillmaster Dave, comes in. For all the wonderful proteins and veggies he has grilled on our different gas grills throughout the years, the food he has the most trouble with is lamb. I can’t tell you how many legs of lamb he has overcooked into unappetizing, gray shoe leather, often by following the cooking time on this recipe. It’s always a major disappointment, because I spend lots of time on the supporting players to the lamb ““ fresh lemonade, tabbouleh, tzatziki (see tomorrow’s entry), warm pita, good feta and a great dessert ““ and the expensive and highly anticipated star of the show ends up feeding the garbage disposal.
Well this time Dave wised up. Thankfully his fancy new grill has been a tremendous inspiration to him this summer, and instead of blindly going through the grilling motions, he actually thinks before and during the process. Apparently our gas grills have always been significantly hotter than a charcoal grill, because while Ina calls for charcoal grilling a five-pound butterflied leg for 40-60 minutes (and then resting for 20 minutes) for rare, Dave pulled our six-pound leg off after 25 minutes and got the medium result you see above after resting for 12 minutes. It’s no wonder we’ve had so many inedible legs following these grilling instructions.
Happily, the Grillmaster was mighty pleased with the sumptuous platter of meat he grilled, although he says that next time he’d yank it about three minutes sooner so it’s closer to medium-rare. The thin-sliced lamb was tender, lean and flavorful ““ and at long last it got to be the Patti LuPone of our dinner table.