Whole Greek lamb
I love the challenge of cooking a whole animal, and this cook was a whole lot of fun.
For anyone who has wanted to cook a whole lamb but lacked the confidence to try it, I’m here to tell you that it’s easy AF.
If you haven’t done it before, the first hurdle will be butterflying the beast.
Read on if you’re interested in the process I went through to prepare and smoke a 23kg lamb.
- You will require a solid table space, at least 1200mm x 600mm. I used some pvc pipe cut to size and slid this over the legs to raise the bench up to around 1m high (he extra height saved my back).
- Throw down some butchers paper for easy cleanup.
- Grab ya tools, I used a boning knife and my Makita multi-tool (with a fresh blade to cut through the bones). Didn’t end-up needing a cleaver for this part.
- Lay the lamb down on the table and carefully try to open the rib cage a little, by hand first, which will help you get in there with the multi-tool.
- Now grab your multi-tool and start at the first bone, just under the knuckle near the spine, then cut remaining bones along the same line until you feel you’ve gone through them all. Repeat for the other side.
- Make sure you remove any bone shavings.
- Grab ya boning knife and slide it along the cut into the meat slightly, to help open it up.
- Using your knife remove excess hard fat ,leaving just a little in those areas and remove as much of the silver skin as you can.
- Trim any excess belly flap that’s not going to cook to liking.
- Next grab your lamb rub; I used Slow Burner BBQs Lamb lifter rub for this cook. Generously coat all of the exposed meat.
- Make sure the smoker is ready to go and burning clean (I ran mine at 300f).
- Carefully lay the lamb on the smoking rack.
- Once the lamb was in the smoker, I went about making a Greek lemon and herb baste to use throughout the cook.
- I grabbed a BBQ mop, removed the head, and used an elastic band to tie a fresh bunch of oregano and thyme to it.
- I then used lemon juice, lemon rind, olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano, fresh thyme and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
- Around 2.5 hours later I opened up the pit for the first time, and applied a coat of the lemon and herb mop.
- 3 hours later I wrapped the “hams” in foil, to speed them up as they cook a lot slower than the rest of the beast, adding another coat of the lemon and herb mop.
- 4 hours later the lamb came out to rest on the table – for a grand total of around 5 minutes, because everyone refused to wait (and honestly I can’t blame them).
- I started by pulling the ribs as they literally fell away from the meat and then moved onto the rest of the unwrapped areas carefully removing any cartilage, sinew and any excess fat before placing into a tray.
- I then removed the foil and cut away the back legs and removed all of the meat, using two meat cleavers to turn it into chopped lamb.
- Once all chopped, I added it to the pulled lamb with all of the juices, the remainder of the lemon and herb mop, and mixed it all through.
- I like to add some of the rub to the end of a cook to add a bit of a pop. I sprinkled a decent coat over the top and then mixed it through for that extra flavor hit.
The flavour in this lamb was incredible, you could taste every layer that went into it from the lemon hit and the herbs right through to the natural flavor of the lamb. In my opinion the balance was bang on point, and apparently all of our guests agreed as the were onto their second and third plates before I got to my first.
There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing smiles on the faces of family and friends as they fall into a major food coma, slowly slipping into sloth mode to recover.
In case you were after the mop ingredients here’s what I used:
4 Tbsp of lemon juice
1 Tbsp of lemon zest
1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of fresh thyme
3 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh oregano
1/4 cup of olive oil
Season to taste, but definitely use fresh herbs to baste it with.