Here Is How You Cook And Eat An Adorable Baby Leg Of Lamb, For Jesus
Ham is for eggs and for lunch sandwiches. To celebrate springtime renewal, we should feast on rare meat from a young animal. Thankfully, an entire continent is dedicated to providing lamb for all the world. Click the clicky to learn how to handle these big pieces of meat the Happy way.
You will require food ingredients and cooking equipment. We’ll list the ingredients and mention the equipment in passing.
- Bone-in leg(s) of lamb (you’ll need about two thirds of a pound per person)
- Olive oil
- Spices (black pepper, cumin, coriander, mustard; IN THAT ORDER)
- Herbals (rosemary is the star here, but it really depends on what’s available)
Even for big-time consumers of meat, this particular hunk is not something you buy on a regular basis (and if you’re not a consumer of meat, what the fuck are you still doing here? Just kidding, stay and enjoy; assert your moral superiority in the comments, if you please). Your local supermart may have it butchered in a number of different fashions. Boned, rolled, and tied is the most work for the butcher, so it’s usually the most expensive. The BDSM community prefers it in the opposite order, from what Yr. Happy Nice Time Person understands. Today, we’re talking about bone-in. They range from 5-8 lbs. The hip bone is gone, but there’s still a joint in there, so make sure you have your dosage right. All packaged up, it looks like this:
Do the math to figure out how much you need. If it’s a large party and you need two roasts, try to get two that are close to the same size so they’ll cook in about the same amount of time. Also, too, try to get one left leg and one right leg; otherwise, you’ll be going around in circles all weekend.
Sally Safeway will really take you to the cleaners when it comes to fresh herbs, so we prefer to forage for them. You can go full Scarborough Fair, but rosemary is the key. Luckily, we know of a few excellent rosemary bushes in the nearby wilds of our environment. Some sage has started to come out too, so it looks like Jesus really does love you.
On Good Friday (that’s today, fuckface), preparations must be made for Easter. Fast, pray, boil eggs, nail a poor Jewish hippie to a tree, and get your leg a-marinatin’. Preparing food during a fast just adds to the suffering, so as a devout cafeteria Catholic, Yr. Happy Nice Time Person offers that shit up for the poor souls in purgatory (looking for props in Heaven, yo). To add more purifying pain, yesterday’s Last Supper consisted solely of whiskey. The feeling of dejection caused by a failed attempt to emulate Pope Francis’s act of humility from last Holy Thursday had to be drowned with liquor. Apparently, the city bus is not a good place to ask ladies if they would like to have their feet washed.
Anyway, assemble the ingredients listed above. Toast the whole spices in a dry frying pan. (We didn’t mention that the spices should be whole? Whatever. Use that powdered shit; everyone loves the taste of stale dust.) Smell the toasty spiciness. Shake the pan. You’re getting little seeds all over your kitchen floor, but you look and feel cool. The only way to be any cooler is to light a cigarette off the stove while you shake the pan. Grind the toasted spices with a small pinch of salt. Make a lot of this stuff, so you don’t run out while you’ve got meat-hands. Cut the lemons (2 or 3 of them, let’s say) in halves or quarters. Slice a great many cloves of garlic into slivers, and do what you do to get your herbs ready for general use.
Consider a vessel for marination. It needs to be non-reactive, to hold all your meat, and to fit into your fridge. You don’t have anything like that, do you? Maybe Joseph of Arimathea is your neighbor, and he can help. They make huge zipperly-locking bags that work, but they’re sometimes hard to find. High-quality garbage bags work well, too, but avoid the odor-blocking variety.
Unpack, rinse, and dry the meat. A lymph node that makes the lamb taste gamy is located somewhere in a hunk of fat between two muscles. We just learned about this and have no idea how to extract it, but we like our lamb gamy. It’s reminiscent of how Tom Robbins describes the way the god Pan smells in Jitterbug Perfume [Ed: “Some people call it brain damage. I call it ‘pruning.'”] If you prefer more mild lamb flavor and you’re a badass with a knife, go for it. Then, cut a bunch of little slits all over the meat, like this:
Stick the garlic slivers into the slits, and then rub the herbs and spices all over the bad boy, down in the slits and all. Put it into your marination vessel, squeeze the lemon pieces over top of it before dropping them in, and pour some oil on top. Give it a good rub down. Like you mean it. Jesus Christ died on the cross, and that’s all the rubbing you’re going to do on that leg of lamb? Do it like you’re going to give it the old Happy Nice Time ending. Now lay it in your fridge until Sunday, like this:
Over the next few days, solemnly go to your fridge and rub the leg down every once in a while. Slap it on the rump like an Australian shepherd.
Easter Sunday! Jesus is risen! The kids are in a state of sugar-fueled dickdom! You cannot escape the hard-boiled egg fart cloud!
About an hour before you’re going to cook, take the lamb out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. Pray to St. Lawrence to intercede for you at the throne of God to prevent you from fucking this up. (He’s the patron saint of Happy Nice Time People and cooking because while being cooked to death on a grill, he said, “Turn me over; I’m done on this side.”) Set up your charcoal grill for indirect heat hot as the fires of Hell. Or turn your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (or in Celsius – let’s see here . . . multiply by 2.2 – 990 degrees). The grill is definitely the preferred cooking equipment. Salt the meat (remember we only put a pinch in with the spices) and squeeze more lemon juice on it right before putting it right on the super hottest part of the grill, just for a minute or two. Expect some flames to flare up and burn the hair off your arms, especially when you grab the roast to move to the indirect heat region of the grill. Put the lid on and adjust the dampers in such a way as to turn the heat waaaaaay down. Or turn the oven down to 300 or 325 (660 or 715, for our metric friends) after about 10-15 minutes at 450.
The lamb needs to cook about 15-20 minutes a pound (probably nowhere near that long). The only way to know when it’s done is to take its temperature (do this early and often). Fuck whatcha heard from the USDA, if the internal temperature gets above 130 while it’s in the oven or on the grill, you have ruined this beautiful piece of meat. When you’re getting to about 125, remove the meat from the heat, and let it rest under in an aluminum foil tent for 15 minutes to a half hour.
Grasp the shank bone, and cut a few slices from the meatiest part of the leg, working your knife parallel to the leg bone to create a flat surface on the roast. Put that flat surface down on your cutting board (for stability), and slice into the roast perpendicular to the bone, all the way down to the bone. Do this the whole length of the leg, then turn the knife and cut along the bone, freeing the slices from the roast. Rotate the leg, and repeat. Platter it up. Enjoy with red wine, mint jelly, asparagus, roasted potatoes, gravy (sorry, that’s a whole ‘nother post).
Thank St. Lawrence for his intercessions, and join Happy Nice Time People on his feast day, when we go whole lamb on your ass: