I was feeling rather glum on bank holiday Monday. The grey skies and blustering wind did nothing to help my mood so this was the perfect slap-it-on-and-leave-it kind of technique. With the aide of a friend who expertly built up a pyramid of briquettes (and by that I mean applying the lighting gel liberally), we soon had some nicely whitened coals to be cooking this whole shoulder of lamb over.
As lamb is quite a fatty cut of meat, it's important to babysit it for the first part of the recipe. The dripping fat causes the flames to flare up and if you're not careful you could have a rather more charred piece of meat than you'd like. This method of cooking the lamb imparts a wonderfully smoky flavour to the meat. Next time I'd like to try it with wood chippings, but the coal worked well too. It does take a while to prepare, but once it's done you will be well rewarded for your efforts - lightly spiced, tende meat with a deep smokiness.
Barbequed Shoulder of Lamb
Serves 5 generously
1 whole shoulder of lamb (ours was 1.6kg)
6 cloves of garlic
4 anchovy fillets
A few sprigs of thyme
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 aubergine, sliced and oiled
1 kettle barbeque
Plenty of coal
Build up plenty of coal in the base of the barbeque, applying lighting gel as you go along. You'll need a lot, as it'll be going for a good three hours or more. Trim the shoulder of any excess fat and cut slits into the flesh. Stuff with garlic, chopped anchovy and thyme. Rub with the paprika.
Light the bbq and then the coals are white, place the shoulder carefully on the heat. Carefully lay the slices of aubergine around it so that they grill, and turn overafter about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. If the coals flare up move the meat around so you don't get any burning. We had some proper flames but it didn't get burnt much, but do keep an eye on it. When you've got a nice colour on the lamb and the coals have cooled down a bit, put the lid on the barbeque with the vent open and cook for 3 hours. Turn the meat over every hour or so.