Rotisserie Whole Leg of Lamb with Orange and Fennel Dry Brine


*Here is a preview from my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling. Coming soon to a Kindle near you!

Someday I will rent out a commercial sized rotisserie and roast an entire lamb. Until then, cooking a whole leg is my stand-in.

I made a trip to the lamb specialists at the West Side Market in Cleveland to get the lamb leg. I love the way their lamb legs look, with the shank bone cracked and folded back. The shank becomes my chef's treat while I carve the lamb.
*Thanks to Mike at Turczyk's Meats for the great lamb.

Recipe: Rotisserie Whole Leg of Lamb with Orange and Fennel Dry Brine


Inspired By: Peter Minakis Rotisserie Leg of Lamb [kalofagas.ca]

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Equipment:

  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; the kettle is here and the rotisserie attachment is here)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9"x12", or whatever fits your grill)
  • Butcher's twine

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 pound) bone in leg of lamb
Fennel rub:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed, coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Orange-Garlic baste:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

Directions:

1. Dry brine the lamb:

Two to twenty-four hours before cooking, mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Season the leg of lamb with the rub, working it into any natural seams in the meat. Put the roast on a rack over a roasting pan or baking sheet. If seasoning more than two hours ahead of time, store uncovered in the refrigerator.

2. Truss and spit the lamb:

Two hours before cooking, remove the leg of lamb from the refrigerator. Truss the lamb, then skewer it on the rotisserie spit, securing it with the spit forks. Let the lamb rest at room temperature until the grill is ready.

3. Make the baste:

Whisk the orange-garlic baste ingredients in a small bowl.

4. Set up the grill for indirect medium heat:

Set the grill up for indirect medium heat with the drip pan in the middle of the grill grate.

5. Rotisserie cook the lamb:

Put the spit on the grill, start the motor spinning, and make sure the drip pan is centered beneath the leg of lamb. Close the lid and cook the lamb until it reaches 130*F in its thickest part for medium, about 1 1/2 hours. (Cook to 115*F for rare, 120*F for medium-rare.) During the last 15 minutes of cooking, brush the leg of lamb with the orange baste every five minutes.
99.8*F after 1 hour - need to cook it some more

6. Serve:

Remove the leg of lamb from the rotisserie spit and transfer to a platter. Be careful - the spit and forks are blazing hot. Remove the twine trussing the roast. Let the lamb rest for 15 minutes, then carve and serve.

Notes:

  • Smoking wood is a great addition to this recipe...but I forgot to add it. Whoops. Soak a fist-sized chunk of oak, hickory, cherry, or apple wood for an hour, drain it, and add it to the coals when you put the lamb on the rotisserie.
  • A whole leg of lamb serves eight to ten people; if you need a smaller roast, get the sirloin roast from the thick end of the leg. It will cook in about one hour.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Rotisserie Leg of Lamb Provencal
Rotisserie Leg of Lamb, Moroccan style
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Inspired by:

Peter Minakis Rotisserie Leg of Lamb [kalofagas.ca]


Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It's a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!

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16 comments:

John K. said...

Looks fantastic Mike!  I love lamb, and there is nothing like cooking it over coals and wood.  Brunty is going to have lamb starting in May.  I've talked to them already about having some "special cuts" -- I want some lamb belly to make lamb bacon!  Of course some legs, chops....I'm even thinking of asking for a neck for a recipe I saw.

I'd love to do a whole lamb too!  What's say we rent the unit, get a lamb and a couple knives and forks..... 

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Lamb Bacon? That's a new one for me!

Now lamb neck...I have a great pressure cooker scotch broth recipe...

John K. said...

Yes, bacon....can it get any better?  Or at least more interesting?  

Check out this link:

http://frombellytobacon.com/2011/02/14/lamb-bacon-take-two/ 

He has a link to a previous version as well, and a few other interesting lamb preparations.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thanks for the link - I'll check it out.

Helen Rennie said...

Hi Mike,

Your blog is dangerous.  It puts all these ideas in my head about desperately needing a rotisserie attachment for my weber.  Mine is gas, but I found a rotisserie attachment that should work with it.  The problem is, I am anti kitchen gadgets and I have been using Kenji Alt's method for slow roasting meats and searing in the end so successfully that it's hard to try something else.  I think you subscribe to Cook's too.  How does rotisserie roast compare to slow roasting or sous-vide and seared in the end?  I am guessing the rotisserie flavor would be better, but slow roasted texture would be better.  Any thoughts?

Cheers,
-Helen

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Helen, you're right, I'm a Cooks Illustrated subscriber, and an avid follower of Kenji's The Food Lab column. I've tried their slow roast technique, made Kenji's slow roast thick steak recipe from back when he was a CI writer, and used his beer cooler sous vide technique a number of times.
For beef, pork or lamb roasts, it is a tradeoff. The rotisserie gives the roast an amazing browned crust, and the constant turning helps the meat cook evenly. 

When I do slow roasted beef (plus sear) it doesn't brown the meat as well. I don't get the amazing crust. But the slow roast avoids the grey ring of medium-well doneness between the crust and the medium-rare center of the meat. 

I want the crust from the rotisserie, so I'll live with not having perfect, edge to edge medium rare. My mom, however, is a huge fan of rare beef, and was in heaven when I sous vide cooked top sirloin roasts for her. So...if you're really enjoying the slow roast technique, you should probably stick with it.

When it comes to roast chicken or turkey, the rotisserie wins hands down. The rotisserie roasts poultry far better than any other roasting technique I've tried. (Butterflied chicken on the grill comes closest, but the rotisserie has juicier meat and crisper skin.)
And I know all about dangerous ideas in blogs...I bought a set of cowboy studio lights after reading your post on video blogging.  :)

Hope this helps,

Mike

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Helen, you're right, I'm a Cooks Illy subscriber, and an avid follower of Kenji's The Food Lab column. I've tried their slow roast technique, made Kenji's slow roast thick steak recipe from back when he was a CI writer, and used his beer cooler sous vide technique a number of times.

For beef, pork or lamb roasts, it's a tradeoff. The rotisserie gives the roast an amazing browned crust, and the constant turning helps the meat cook evenly.

When I do slow roasted beef (plus sear) it doesn't brown the meat as well. I don't get the amazing crust. But the slow roast avoids the grey ring of medium-well doneness between the crust and the medium-rare center of the meat. I've never done a true head to head comparison.

My preference for the crust on the rotisserie roast enough to live with not having the perfect edge to edge medium rare. My mom, however, is a huge fan of rare beef, and was in heaven when I sous vide cooked top sirloin roasts for her. So...if you're really enjoying the slow roast technique, you should probably stick with it.

Poultry, however, is another story.

When it comes to roast chicken, rotisserie chicken is better than any other roasting technique I've tried. Butterflied chicken on the grill comes
closest, but the rotisserie has juicier meat and crisper skin. And I can't
believe all the times I made a thanksgiving turkey that didn't match what I
can turn out on the rotisserie.

And I know all about dangerous ideas in blogs...I bought a set of cowboy
studio lights after reading your post on video blogging. :)

Hope this helps,

Mike

Helen Rennie said...

Does this mean we'll be getting some videos from you soon? :)

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Yes, of course! The first ones are for my Rotisserie Grilling cookbook, but there will be some for the blog following that...

John K. said...

I finally gave in Mike.  I've seen so many of your rotisserie posts...they all look so delicious I nearly lick the screen.  shortly after this post, I clicked that Amazon link on your page, and placed my order.  My lovely new toy arrived yesterday. I was patient.  I lasted one whole day before trying it out.  I have to say, I regret....not getting it sooner!!!  What took me so long?  

For the maiden voyage I chose a nice 3 lb hunk of boneless rib  eye.  It was the best looking meat in the case at Earth Fare today.  Dry brine and some simple seasoning....fire up the Weber....put some onions and sliced Yukon golds in the drip pan.  Now, I have to say I am pretty comfortable with my ability to cook rib roasts -- bone in, or boneless, my family always love what I do with them.  Tonight it was unanimous -- this was the best one ever!

I'm hooked....I can tell....I'm already planning the next several meals I'll make on it!

Thanks for the inspiration Mike!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

All right! You're welcome, John; enjoy it. I sure do

Mike P said...

Mike, I am planning to do this recipe, as well as another (have 2 5lb boneless legs). I am debating doing the standard brine, as well as the dry brine. Would that be too much?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Mike, are you saying do one with a wet brine and one with a dry brine? If so, that's a great idea - you can see which one you prefer.

If you're saying you want to both wet brine and dry brine the same boneless leg of lamb...don't do that, the meat will be too salty.

Mike P said...

I was thinking about doing both the wet and the dry on both legs, but now that thought has passed. Thanks!

Mike P said...

This is an excellent recipe. The dry brine definitely puts the perfect amount of salt in the lamb, and the fennel and orange really pair well together. Thanks for sharing Mike! Hoping that you can see these photo's - http://screencast.com/t/9y1PSBT4m and http://screencast.com/t/uWWD5B3vRg8q

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Looks great! Especially the sliced version - looks like you cooked it perfectly. I love seeing that shade of pink inside a roast.

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