Rotisserie Boneless Leg of Lamb Roast with Greek Brinerade

There’s a debate in the food science community over the usefulness of marinades.  They’re very traditional, but all the evidence points towards two things:
1. They don’t penetrate into the meat AT ALL. The flavor they give is stuck on the surface.
2. If they’re too acidic, they turn the surface of the meat to mush

My twin heroes of food science,  Cook’s Illustrated and Alton Brown have both recently weighed in on the topic.  If you can catch Alton’s recent episode, “Tender is the Pork“,  you can see his take on it.*
*He illustrates the debate in the food community by having a couple of guys in lab coats slap fighting.  Yes, it’s juvenile.  I laughed, and laughed, and laughed…

Cooks Illustrated is referring to it as “Don’t Marinate – Brinerate” (subscription required).  They up the amount of salt in the marinade, causing it to work as a brine, which does draw flavors into the meat.  They also keep their marinating times short, and limit the amount of acid in the mix, so the surface of the meat doesn’t get cooked by the acid. This gives you the best of both worlds – the flavors that a marinade can carry, combined with the juiciness of a brine.

Also, put aside some of the marinade aside for last minute basting; an extra layer of marinade after the meat comes off the heat adds another layer of flavors.

Recipe: Rotisserie Boneless Leg of Lamb Roast with Greek Brinerade

Cook time: 45 minutes

Equipment:

  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; kettle is here and rotisserie attachment is here)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9″x11″, or whatever fits your grill)
  • Butcher’s twine for trussing the roasts

Yields 8-12

Rotisserie Boneless Leg of Lamb Roast with Greek Brinerade

Greek style rotisserie boneless leg of lamb.

90 minPrep Time

45 minCook Time

2 hr, 15 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 (2.5 pound) Boneless lamb leg roasts (half roasts, butt end if you can specify.)
  • Greek Brinerate ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or 2 tbsp fresh oregano, minced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Boneless lamb leg roasts, opened up and trimmed of fat

Directions

  1. 1. Brinerate the lamb: One to one and a half hours before cooking, open the roasts up, and trim any excess fat from them.  Put them in a gallon ziploc bag (or two, if they're large).  Whisk the ingredients for the brinerade together until well mixed, then reserve 1/4 cup for later and pour the rest into the bag with the lamb.  Squeeze out any excess air, then zip the bag closed, and massage it to get both roasts covered with the brinerade.  Let rest in the refrigerator, turning occasionally to evenly brinerate, until ready to cook. (Due to the acid in the lemon juice, you don't want to brinerate more than an hour and a half.)
  2. 2. Prepare the grill: Prepare your rotisserie for cooking on indirect high heat. For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter* full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill. Put the drip pan on the charcoal grate between the piles.
  3. 3. Truss and spit the lamb: While the grill is heating, take the lamb out of the refrigerator, pat dry with paper towels, and roll the two roasts into cylinder shapes. Truss the roasts every 1 1/2 inches with the butcher's twine, then skewer them on the rotisserie spit.
  4. 4. Cook the lamb: Put the spit on the grill, start the rotisserie spinning, and close the lid, cooking with the lid closed as much as possible. Cook with the lid closed, until the lamb is 135*F in the thickest part for medium, about 45 minutes. (Cook to 125*F for medium-rare, and 120*F for rare. (Unlike beef, I prefer my lamb cooked to medium). Start checking the lamb's temperature at 30 minutes, and watch out for the bone and the spit - they can throw the reading off. Right before taking the lamb off of the grill, baste it with the reserved brinerade. Remove the spit from the rotisserie, remove the lamb roasts from the spit onto a platter. Baste them with the brinerade again, then remove the trussing twine and let the roasts rest for 15 minutes. Slice the lamb 1/2 thick and serve.
Cuisine: Greek | Recipe Type: Rotisserie
http://dadcooksdinner.com/2009/06/rotisserie-boneless-leg-of-lamb-roast-with-greek-brinerade.html/


Boneless lamb leg roasts, opened up and trimmed of fat

Charcoal and improvised drip pan ready to go
 

 

Lamb on the rotisserie

 

Lamb is done



Variations:
*Provencal Brinerade: Substitute Herbes de Provence instead of oregano, and add 1 tsp Dijon mustard to the brinerade.

Notes:
*Serve this with a greek salad, some Roasted Red Pepper Dip, pita bread, and some tapenade.  Or, serve it as Gyros – slice thin (1/4″ or less), and serve it with tzatziki sauce, pita bread, and some shredded lettuce and thin-sliced red onion.

*Ideally, you would cook this with one whole lamb leg that has been deboned.  I used the two half legs because that’s what my grocery store sells.

Questions? Comments?  Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Click here for my rotisserie bone in leg of lamb recipe, Moroccan style.
Click here for my Rotisserie Leg of Lamb Provencal
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Inspired by:
Want some authentic Greek cooking, with photography that shows you exactly how humble my efforts are?  Check out Kalofagas and his rotisserie bone in leg of lamb.  [Kalofagas.ca]

Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, June 2009, “How to Cook: Brinerating” article [Subscription Required]


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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26 Comments

  1. Anonymous /

    We were testing out our bbq rotisserie for the first time today and used your brinerade recipe for a shoulder of lamb. Result? Excellent, better than we could have hoped for. Will be definitely be using it again.

  2. @Anonymous:

    Wonderful! I’m glad you liked it.

  3. Anonymous /

    Just made this for dinner as a dry run – my husband couldn’t get enough and now I think I might be cured of my irrational fear of roasting large cuts of meat. It came out juicy, extreamly well seasoned and very tasty. I stuck to your recipe for the brinerate but increased the amount of garlic, added fresh rosemary and thyme and also half a cup of red wine and omitted the lemon juice so that the brine could be left on longer for the flavors to really take. Came out fantastic, and I can’t wait to make it for our dinner party next week.

    Thanks again for your post!

  4. @anonymous: You’re welcome!

  5. Jordi /

    Hey Mike

    I think this dude stole your picture ! http://thehousingforum.com/how-to-cook-greek-leg-of-lamb/

  6. You’re right, he did.

  7. This was great made as written. I did it on a rotisserie on my Weber E320 grill. With one 3.1 lb roast took about 55 minutes at 400 degrees. I really liked the use of oregano. I used fresh. Rosemary and lamb is getting so common and it’s usually way over seasoned.

  8. Thank you for the feedback. I’m glad you liked it!

  9. We made this last night for our family Easter gathering. We cooked it on our gas grill with the rotisserie attachment. We had a five pound boneless leg of lamb which cooked in about an hour. It was absolutely delicious. No leftovers at all!! Thanks for posting this recipe. It’s a keeper at our house.

  10. You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  11. I would refer you to my bone in leg of lamb recipe http://www.dadcooksdinner.com/2012/04/rotisserie-whole-leg-of-lamb-with.html, but a four pound leg of lamb is kind of small. You can use the same instructions, just expect it to take about an hour, plus or minus 15 minutes either way. (The best way to tell if it is done is with an instant read thermometer…)

  12. I’m going to give this a run tomorrow. I picked a up a beautiful (but small, 4.25#) bone in leg. Are there any special considerations if I try this with the bone in?

  13. Thank you for sharing the variation!

  14. Patrick Browne /

    Thanks for all the great recipes, I’m excited to be voting for your Sous Vide contest entry or entries.
    @Dad Cooks Dinner: *Ideally, you would cook this with one whole lamb leg that has been deboned…”
    I did have a question about how the brinerade works for a whole boneless leg of lamb, we wouldn’t want to cut it up to fit in a gallon ziploc bag (I don’t think)-I’m wondering if there is there an alternative to the bag, to accommodate the larger size?
    Thanks Again.

  15. Yes – get a large baking dish (9×13 or so), make at least a double batch of the marinade, and pour it over.
    (Or, look for XL ziploc bags – they’re huge, you can fit the whole leg in there easily.)

  16. Patrick Browne /

    Thank You, Mike!

  17. I love this recipe! To add a little something extra, I like to roll up a cup of feta, a few sprigs of rosemary, and lemon zest inside the roast. People are nuts for it.

  18. Luke, great idea. I do something similar in my cookbook.

  19. Just picked up a boneless leg at butchers for Christmas dinner. It is 8.5#. Plan to double marinade. Any time guidelines for larger size. Plan to pull around 130 degrees but would like an estimate on time

    • It will take about the same time – these are smaller roasts becasue they were cut in half, but they are the same thickness.

  20. Today will be the 3rd time I have used this recipe. Not because I am a creature of comfort but because it is so good and when your showing off to guests it hasn’t steered me wrong. I have played around a bit with different herbs but the tangy lemon at the end just takes it to the next level.

  21. Eileen /

    Going to make this on Easter. How long for a 7.5 leg of lamb de-boned and trussed by the butcher cooked in a Weber gas grill using the rotisserie attachment? ( we are brand new to the whole rotisserie thing). Thank you!

    • It will take a little longer – 7.5 pounds of lamb is a little thicker than the two 2.5 pounds I had with my two roasts. Knock the heat down to indirect medium, and it will take a total of about 1.5 hours. Go by temperature to be sure – the lamb is done when it reaches 135°F in the thickest part.

    • Or, if you can cut your roast in half, you’ll get two roasts like I have in the recipe. You can follow the directions and cooking time in the recipe, but I think it will take a total of 1 hour – my two roasts totaled about 5 pounds, so your 7.5 pound roast sounds thicker. (Cooking time is more about thickness than weight, which is why cutting it in half cuts down on the cooking time.)

  22. LauraG /

    Absolutely the BEST leg o’ lamb. Cooked on Weber rotisserie and according to the Provencal recipe…phenomenal This is going to be a crowd pleaser from now on!

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