We love lamb in this household. In fact, if my husband could, he could totally live off of lamb, potatoes and pasta for the rest of his life if he had the option. That and creme brûlée but I won’t go into that. Spring is finally here, so to celebrate the welcoming of warmer weather, what better way than by having barbecue?!
We live in an apartment and it was cold and rainy so outdoor cooking was out of the question. hurray for cold weather..in spring time.
I used my oven for the “barbecuing”…with a few dashes of liquid smoke. Yes, I know, true barbecuers are probably flipping over those two words but it truly does add smokiness to your “barbecue”..see I even put that word in quotes! I know some health nuts will say the dangers in cooking with liquid smoke blah blah blah but I just cooked the lamb in its own fat so healthy was thrown out the window long before liquid smoke was added.
The key to this dish is not just the homemade bbq sauce but saving the lamb jus the meat was cooking in. You pour out the excess fat, shred the meat and pour the jus back in. All of that lamb flavor is in that liquid so by throwing that away, you’re throwing away some really good shit that would make your lamb go from “meh” to “HOLY CRAP THIS IS AMAZING!” Don’t throw it away. It’s liquid gold.
The inspiration for this dish is Owensboro, Kentucky. Why? Because they’re known for their mutton BBQ so Owensboro, a tip of the hat to you for not forgetting the poor mutton in the barbecue category. The barbecue sauce is also Owensboro inspired-it’s thinner and tangy like Eastern Carolina but just not as pungent. What you end up with is a slider that’s meaty, slightly sweet, spicy, and tangy.
If the amount of spiciness scares you, cut back on it and add to your liking.
- 1/2 boneless leg of lamb, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 3 tbsp neutral flavored oil
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder, optional
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1.5 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 cup cold water
- 2.5 tbsp molasses
- 3 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1.5 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- pinch of salt
- 1 pack of King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls or any rolls or bread of your choice
- Sharp cheddar cheese or any cheese of your choice, optional
- For the wet rub: combine all the ingredients to form a paste. Taste it and adjust it accordingly. The rub will be pretty salty but don’t panic since we are using HALF of a leg of lamb.
- Add the lamb and mix until it’s well combined. You want to make sure that the marinate is covered in all pieces.
- Wrap tightly in tin foil and bake in a preheated 270F (yes, 270F) oven for 4 hours. Just like you would in a smoker, the key to good barbecue is cooking it low and slow.
- While the meat is cooking, make the barbecue sauce. In a saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and whisk well.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced a bit and the flavor comes together. Taste and adjust accordingly. Let it cool.
- Once the lamb is cooked, allow it to cool for about 20 minutes before handling
- Pour off the lamb jus into another cup and allow it to cool completely
- Shred the meat with your hands or forks
- Scoop off or pour off the excess fat from the jus and then pour the jus back into the shredded lamb. Mix well and set aside.
- In a pan on medium heat, add some of the lamb and cook until it’s browned, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add some of the barbecue sauce into the lamb and cook for another minute or so. Mix well. The amount of sauce you put is completely up to you. I just added a couple tbsp at a time as I did not want my lamb to be soaking in the sauce.
- Place the lamb on the bottom toasted roll, add cheese, and top it with the top bun. Serve warm with a side of slaw and potato chips and a cocktail or beer in hand!
Note: You can totally cook the lamb in the slow cooker. I just didn’t feel like washing my slow cooker today. Plus, I had a disposable baking pan…’nuff said.