Recipe of the week: The secret to barbecue: Keep it simple
In BBQ 25, Adam Perry Lang insists that all a a backyard chef really needs is “good, simple stuff with clear explanations on how to prepare it without compromise of flavor.”
As much as I like to play with tools and exotic ingredients when I barbecue, I tend to be “spontaneous, adaptive, and not too concerned about getting bogged down with complicated processes,” said Adam Perry Lang in BBQ 25 (William Morrow). All a backyard chef really needs is “good, simple stuff with clear explanations on how to prepare it without compromise of flavor.”
For thick meats “like roasts and cuts that are collagen-rich,” the best cooking method is indirect grilling, away from heat, usually with the lid down. This caramelizes sugars and proteins, slowly creating a flavor-filled crust on the meat’s surface. “Move meat around as needed” to color and cook evenly, and be careful of hot spots: All grills have them. “Know your grill—take mental notes.”
Recipe of the weekLeg of Lamb½ leg of lamb, approx. 6 lbs
Herb oil 1 cup olive oil2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper1 tsp ground cumin2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves2 tbsp fresh marjoram leaves2 tbsp pure chili powder (optional)
Baste/glaze ¼ cup olive oil3 garlic cloves, smashedGrated zest and juice of 1 lemon2 tbsp honey3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Board dressing6 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsleySea or kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To increase surface area of meat for seasoning, score top side of leg at ¼-inch intervals, making ¼-inch-deep cuts, in a crosshatch pattern. Combine ingredients for herb oil in large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Mix and crush ingredients with hands, directly or through bag, squeezing to release maximum flavor. Put meat in mix and marinate 3 to 24 hours. If longer than 3, refrigerate.
Grill over indirect heat. Prepare grill for indirect cooking; the temperature should be 300 to 325 degrees. Drain meat and dry with paper towels. Put meat on well-oiled preheated grill and cook, covered, with addition of wood of your choice (I prefer oak and/or fruit woods when available), for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine baste/glaze ingredients in bowl. Baste meat with brush and cook, basting every 15 minutes, until meat registers 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes (or to desired doneness).
Mix and pour board dressing onto cutting board. Set leg of lamb on top, turning to coat. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve lamb, turning to coat each slice. Serves 6 to 8.