BBQ heaven - Grilled aromatic Moroccan lamb leg


Grilled whole leg of lamb with a Moroccan spice rub

This dish might just send you straight to heaven. That's what husband sometimes says when I have made him particularly good food: "You're going straight to heaven!" And he usually blows a kiss across the table to emphasize the statement. Or marginally less romantically but equally emphatically slaps my bum as we are clearing the table. It means that I am practically an angel for looking after him so well and will go straight to heaven. After I'm dead in ripe old age hand in hand with him obviously, not now, that would defeat the object of looking after husband. But you know straight without trick questions asked at the pearly gates, purgatory or jury deliberation.

Aromatic Moroccan BBQ whole leg of lamb Whether concerned about your eternal whereabouts or just looking for a tasty meal I can recommend this one. My BBQ season started a bit late this year, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I have also been struggling for new ideas, so this grilled aromatic Moroccan lamb leg recipe couldn't have come at a better time. It's something that a work mate had done to a great success and recommended, so I decided to try.

The original Delicious magazine recipe doesn't ask for marinating the leg with the rub, but I thought a few hours in the fridge wouldn't hurt, so I prepped the leg in the morning. I followed the recipe pretty religiously, slightly careful with the fennel seeds, because of my sometimes generous measures and the easily overpowering quality of the spice. I toasted the different seeds and husband was getting really excited bouncing around the kitchen saying it smelled like her aunts cooking in Dubai (which I do realize is not in Morocco). He was also chuffed with the size of the leg at over 2kg for the four of us. I made several incisions to the leg and rubbed the spice paste on and into the leg. I left it in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Grilled whole leg of lamb with a Moroccan spice rub

Husband went out with the kids to buy a suit for the younger one. He's finishing secondary school this year, so needs a suit. Good luck with that, the kid's about 9 foot tall.

I'm pretty used to tall people, we're not exactly petite in my family, but these guys are ridiculous. Both kids are now taller than husband, who is 6"4.

I was always worried that my smallish charcoal barbecue wouldn't work for large pieces of meat, because obviously it's impossible to keep the heat going for that long, but my friend pointed out that you can always finish the cooking in the oven. I would have thought a smart girl like me would have figured that out by herself, but clearly not.

I grilled the leg for about and hour and a half standing in the lovely lamb and coal fume cloud for much of the time with a white wine spritzer and continued to slowcook it in the oven until it was supersoft. Matter of preference, some like theirs more pink, we love ours soft enough to eat with a spoon.

When I was transfering it from the charcoal grill to oven, the leg look pretty fantastic, and probably would have been lovely and pink.

To go with the leg I made moroccan spiced rice with vegetables and chickpeas. The kids pointed out they were fully aware that I was deviously trying to sneak some veg into them, but it was a damn good meal and only a tiny chunk of lamb was left in the end.

Leftovers. Or not.

Grilled aromatic Moroccan lamb leg with Moroccan rice with chick peas and vegetables

Here is the recipe from the Delicious website

1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tbsp cumin seeds
½ tbsp fennel seeds
5 fat garlic cloves, crushed
Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tsp flaked sea salt
1½ tsp ground black pepper
1 medium lamb shoulder (about 1.8-2.2kg), bone-in, any excess fat removed, scored with a sharp knife at 1cm intervals

For this dish, you’ll need enough lit charcoal to keep burning steadily for at least 2 hours.

Toast the seeds in a small, dry frying pan, swirling them often over a medium heat (on the barbecue grill or the hob), until fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder and work to a medium-fine powder. Add the garlic, grated ginger and any ginger juice, the orange zest, thyme and seasoning, then work to a paste.

Smear the paste generously over the lamb, making sure any of the rub that falls on the work surface makes its way back onto the lamb.

Grill the lamb on the hot barbecue for 3 minutes on each side until well coloured but not burnt. If flames flare up from the dripping fat, gently move the lamb away from them. Transfer the lamb to a baking tray lined with a double layer of foil. Pour in a glass of water and loosely scrunch another double layer of foil over the top of the lamb. Put the tray on the barbecue grill, then shut the lid, making sure the air vents are two-thirds closed on the top and bottom (to keep the temperature between 180-200°C). Cook the lamb for 2 hours. Check it every half hour – if it appears to be burning or the juices in the tray seem to be boiling away, add more water.

About 15 minutes before the lamb is ready, remove the covering foil and shut the lid again. When cooked, rest the lamb on a platter, covered with foil, for 15 minutes or so. Serve the lamb with the juices poured over.

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