Lamb Leg @ Belcampo

This was a leg I purchased from Hans the head butcher at Belcampo. The lamb’s leg a fantastic size with a good shank. It was a little too cold to cook but I had no choice. The best option is to let the meat rest for a few hours, or it will more complex to cook the inner most part near the bone.

In cooking, animal fat can smoke as low as in the 120°s the smoke and volatile compounds emerge from the oil, a bluish smoke. The smoke point also marks the beginning of both flavor and nutritional degradation.

Therefore, it is a key consideration when selecting a fat with the smoke point of the specific oil dictating its maximum usable temperature and therefore its possible applications.

The temperature you use in the oven is key to rendering the fat and getting the right result, crisp, not burned. Flesh and animal fat have a melting temperature of 184°C, so I am always 10-15% lower, as I take into consideration the temperature fluctuation in the oven.

I simply colored it, using my usual technique; herbs, spices and a good spin in the pan (de-glazing), I colored the meat, fresh garlic and it was all set to go.

The trick to cooking thick meats is using sous vides in order to get evenness. But our kitchen here doesn’t have the set up, so I am obliged to cook the lamb in the oven. I sometimes think of wrapping it in foil, developing a layer of heat and moisture. I add water to the pan and some red Rhone wine, catching the drippings for a sauce gravy later on.

I used whatever I could find to prop up the meat in a cast iron pan, and I use cast iron as its more stable with heavier meats. The one thing about black is that it absorbs more heat. The heat radiation is absorbed better by black surfaces than by shiny ones. In a BBQ you want shinny but in a pan, if you prefer more heat, so go black.

The propping of the meat is key to prevent it from burning on the pan down side, and if you have a rottisiere in a BBQ, that would be the best. I always use a thermocouple and a needle to check the temperature.

I finish at high 40°s and let the meat rest outside the oven. But you should remove it from the hot pan or it will cook more than you think. It all finishes at low 50°s and this seems to work in the core.

Then I take the oil and drippings and strain the heavy waste and voila, you have the making of a gravy – use some thinking agent and you have it cooked to perfection:

If the core is not cooking enough, you can always slice and then later give it another dose of oven heat to arouse the meat.