Even though most people associate lamb with Easter, it is equally good during the summer months - especially when barbecued and served up with a summery pesto, perhaps. Many cuisines make the most of the tasty char achieved by barbecuing lamb - both the Turkish and the Greeks have a penchant for cooking lamb over coal.
A leg of lamb is a big cut to cook on a barbecue, but it does produce a real feast. The best way of cooking lamb leg is to butterfly the meat first, so the bone is removed and it cooks more evenly. The larger surface area also allows you to pack in more flavour in the form of marinades or spice rubs. If your barbecue is too small to cope with a whole butterflied leg, simply dice up the meat, marinate and thread onto skewers to make a tasty shish kebab.
There are many types of lamb cuts, from different parts of the animal - shoulder, leg, rump and loin are among the best for barbecuing. The latter is a lean, prime cut which can be cooked quickly over a high heat. Some chops do have a thick layer of fat - for barbecuing it is best to trim down this fat a little, as the quick cooking time prevents it from rendering down.
Tougher cuts of lamb that are high in fat, such as shoulder, breast or neck, are great for mincing up and making all sorts of barbecued delights - lamb kofte, burgers, seekh kebabs, or homemade merguez sausages if you’re feeling adventurous.
Barbecued lamb goes well with yoghurt or olive oil-based marinades, along with classic pairings such as mint, rosemary, anchovy or garlic. Herb-based sauces such as salsa verde or gremolata also make beautiful accompaniments.
Middle Eastern spices such as ground coriander, harissa and cumin are often used in marinades, and partner nicely with a simple couscous salad, a dollop of hummus or a yoghurt dip such as tzatziki. Marcus Wareing’s fragrant Turkish lamb flatbread wrap recipe can easily be adapted for the barbecue.
Alfred Prasad’s lamb kebabs recipe uses Peshwari spices to great effect - after marinating in fennel seed, chilli and vinegar, these lamb chops only need 7 minutes on a hot barbecue - a beautifully spicy barbecue option.