Smoked bone-in leg of lamb, South African style

Discussion in 'Lamb' started by edward36, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    Hey guys!

    I see many posts talking about leg of lamb for Easter... Well, being Jewish, I celebrate Passover, which falls this year pretty much on the same dates, and it is a tradition to cook a leg of lamb for Passover as well. So, I took my favorite indirect grilled leg of lamb recipe and tried to adapt it to smoking... What can I say - from now on this is a smoke only recipe [​IMG].
    So, starting with a sauce/marinade/glaze... Yeah, same thing for all. 
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
    • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard (smooth, not whole grain one)
    • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (canola or any other, but the olive oil)
    • 3 tbsp molasses or "dates honey" - mediterranean syrup made of dates, works magic, try it! I guess it can be found in mediterranean stores or in kosher sections of supermarkets.
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 1 tsp fresh ginger, ground or finely diced
    • Salt and pepper - according to the taste
    To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil, constantly stirring. Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to cover a back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and cool to the room temperature.

    Now, preparing the leg of lamb... First thing - get 9-10 garlic cloves, peeled, make small deep incisions in the meat and push the garlic as deep into the meat as you can. Then divide the sauce in 2 - first half will go as a marinade, and the 2nd half will be a glaze and a serving sauce. Rub the leg with the marinade half of the sauce, wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Keep the remaining sauce in the refrigerator as well. 
    Next day, when ready to cook, remove the plastic wrap and let the leg rest out of the refrigerator for about an hour, to get to the room temperature. I smoked it on 225F for about 3.5 hours until an IT of 150F. The time can vary according to the weight of that leg - mine was about 8lb. Wood - pecan & almond tree. It was a first time I tried an almond, and must say it is absolutely great! The aroma reminds that of an hickory, but gentler. 
    By the way, that's a duck breast next to the lamb - I'll post in details about it in the appropriate forum [​IMG]

    While it is in the smoker, during the last hour brush it twice or more with half of the remaining sauce - it'll give the meat a nice glaze. 

    The last part of the sauce goes as a gravy to serve with the leg.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
    smokin49erfan likes this.
  2. mchar69

    mchar69 Smoke Blower

    Very Nice!  Happy Passover.
    edward36 likes this.
  3. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    Thanks ;)
  4. brooksy

    brooksy Master of the Pit

    That is a good looking hunk of beast!!
    edward36 likes this.
  5. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    Thank you, Brooksy!
  6. Wow that looks really good. Nice write up also. Wife and I are starting to eat more lamb and I am always looking for a new recipe. We deboned  2 legs earlier this week that was a first  but did not do to bad. Do you think your recipe will work on a smaller piece of meat? I can get pecan wood not sure about almond. I will definitely give this a try. If you have any other tips for cooking lamb send me a PM.

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
  7. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    Hey Les,

    Thanks! :)

    Basically, if the leg is deboned, I prefer stuffing it with something... E.g. dried apricots & rice work great. Of course the recipe will work on a smaller piece of meat - just watch out for the cooking time.

    As for the tips - feel free to ask anything, my PM is always open as well :)

  8. Thanks Ed I will keep you in mind when getting ready to cook some more lamb.

    I do have 1 question now. We grilled a small roast today and have plenty left over.

    How would you use the left overs? Normally we cook smaller portions and don't

    have to worry about left overs, but with 2 legs there will be left overs.

  9. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    I have one word for you - chili :) 

    Cook beans, and use the leftovers to make it chili con carne :)
  10. Sounds good.

  11. Hey Ed! Chag Sameach! Your lamb looks incredible - like all of your food photos - and I bet that duck was sensational too! I look forward to checking it out!

    Cheers!! - Leah
  12. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    Leah, todah rabah [​IMG]!!!

    And the duck was absolutely incredible! Photos soon.

  13. Ed,

    Both the lamb and duck look wonderful. I do lamb every so often but haven't done duck yet so, I need to try.

    May you have a happy and blessed Passover.


    Hampton, VA
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2014
    edward36 likes this.
  14. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper


    Thank you so much! :)

    Duck was the easiest, seriously! I would have never thought it'd be so easy! Just watch out not to overdo it - you'll get it rubbery and chewy if it gets overcooked.

  15. That looks great! I've always wanted to try a lamb, but wanted to find the best recipe. Yours sounds great. Will have to give it a try. Not sure how easily I can get pecan, but I have cherry and oak, as well as access to hickory. Those three should give it a nice sweet taste. Might also try this next Easter/Passover if it turns out as good as your looks. We celebrate both at my mothers house
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
  16. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper


    And you gonna love it. Just make sure you lay your hands on a young lamb leg, i.e. approximately 7-8 lb... The younger the lamb was, the tender the meat is. 

    Cherry and oak will give it pretty much the same taste... I ran out of cherry wood, otherwise would go for it for sure.

    Good luck!

  17. atomicsmoke

    atomicsmoke Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    That ain't easy in my neck of woods. With year round breeding - assembly line farming being the norm small lamb is not available even in boutique stores. Last time I got one it set me back 100$. Now 7-8lbs its really small. Judging from the picture yours was bigger than that.

    Nevertheless your leg looks amazing and I bet it tastes just as good. I cook a leg every Easter. I'll make sure I will try your idea next year. I love the colour.

    Tine-o tot asa!
  18. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper

    Mulțumesc mult! :)

    BTW, my Romanian is dead rusty. My native language is Russian, and I studied Romanian in school in Moldova until I was 12. Then we moved to Israel.

    As for the leg, I believe this one was a bit over 8 lb, but for sure not heavier than that. And even down here it's quite tough to get a young lamb. My secret is "make friends with your butcher" :).

  19. did you use fresh or frozen? With it being summer, not many places near me have it. I have found two places. One is almost an hour away from me, and the other which is right up the road, have them frozen unless you buy the whole lamb. If frozen, how long am I looking for a defrost time?
  20. edward36

    edward36 Meat Mopper


    I used fresh. In general,I prefer not to use frozen meat or fish. Living in Israel, it's quite possible. 

    Note that your best way to defrost the leg of lamb without ruining the meat texture is in the refrigerator. You're looking for at least 3 days here.

    Good luck!


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