Monday, July 30, 2007

Big Hunks of Animal Flesh

This is going to be a graphic description of the preparation, cooking and consumption of a major body part of a young animal, so avert your eyes.

That said, getta load of this! It's about five pounds of bone-in lamb leg marinated and grilled to medium-rare perfection by my in-house smoke-meister and member of the Grand Order of Charcoal, Dave. This hunk of meaty goodness started out as a rock-hard frozen lump, part of a lamb share program I belong to with three other families. Every six weeks or so we split a quarter of a lamb, which means our freezer fills up with enough for a year's worth of steaks, chops, roasts, shanks and ground bits, all just waiting for the right bolt of inspiration (or desperation) to strike.

Last night we'd invited my brother and his ladylove, along with friends J&K, to come over for an evening in the backyard under the stars. After two days in the fridge thawing and about four hours before dinner, I took the leg out and adapted a simple olive oil, thyme and garlic marinade that Bobby Flay recommended for chops. Dumping all the ingredients and the leg into a giant zip-lock freezer bag, I set it on the counter to commingle, turning it once or twice.

When the fire was ready, I handed it over to Dave, who first seared it over a bed of hot coals then split the coals on either side of the grill and set the leg in the center of the grill for about two hours of indirect cooking. Every twenty minutes or so, he'd add four or five new coals to each side and refill his beer glass (a vital step in any grilling process). As Mr. Leg cooked away, we served our guests mojitos from a pitcher we'd prepared just before they arrived. To make the evening even more special, and to give us something to toast, it was announced that my little bro and Miss w had become engaged on their backpacking trip the night before. Mazeltov!

Then, just as the lambie was pulled off the grill and the gentlemen present gathered over it to discuss the best approach to carving, I whipped out the salad and frikeh (a scorched, green wheat) risotto and we all sat down and toasted the happy couple once again. Topping it all off was a cobbler made with rare and luscious Chester blackberries from Ayers Creek, consumed around a fire in the fire pit with much sighing and, eventually, yawning. It was the perfect end to an evening of celebration with fabulous food, wine and much laughter.

Details: Download recipes for the mojitos, the lamb and the cobbler.


Anonymous said...

That lamb looks incredible! Nice work guys. I noticed the fire a blazin' the other night. Sounds like it was a great time and congrats to BB and W on thier upcoming nuptuals!! :-)

Kathleen Bauer said...

Does it get better than large pieces of meat coupled with a big announcement and fire? We say no! I'll pass on your good wishes...