A rare free weekend at home meant I had the chance to roll out the Mac’s ProQ™ Excel 20 and give it the time it deserves with a lovely leg of lamb.
The Excel 20 is very versatile and in addition to being a grill and a smoker, it’s easy to replicate the cooking style of very expensive (and trendy) steam ovens which produce beautifully moist roasts of meat.
Here’s what I did…
- Take a whole leg of lamb, gave it a good rinse and pat dry – mine weighed in around 2.8kgs.
- With a sharp paring knife, stab the leg in several places and insert slivers of garlic so they sit in the meat.
- Next a light coating of olive oil rubbed all over the leg, followed by a generous rub over with flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- The rosemary wet rub is one standard supermarket pack of rosemary (just the leaves (but keep the stalks for later) finely chopped and then mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard smeared generously all over the leg.
- I was looking for only a very subtle hint of smoke flavour so I set the Excel 20 up with a full load of charcoal that had turned white and added just one small lump of cherry to get it going followed by the rosemary stalks.
- Fill the water bowl and sit over the coals so as the meat is slow-roasting, the steam is keeping it lovely and moist.
- I wanted to cook at a slightly higher temperature than a normal smoking sessions so I kept all the bottom vents open – this leveled the temp out at around 280-300 degrees F and I kept it there for about 5 hrs
- After a couple of hours, the lamb was looking superb, but a prod around (confirmed by a meat thermometer) indicated the inside was still very rare so I topped up the water bowl, lid back on and left it for another 3 hrs.
- Crucially, the leg was removed from the grill, loosely tented in tin foil and allowed to rest about 20 mins before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.
With a starting weight of 2.8kgs, the leg comfortably fed 6 adults and a number of kids with generous portions, seconds and thirds for thise that wanted it and enough leftover for lamb sarnies today. I served it up with a big bowl of roast potatoes, some salad and some fresh tomatoes. And a dish of fresh mint sauce of course.
In my view, this cooking method knocks the spots off oven-cooking lamb. My only initial concern was that too much moisture would mean the crust would fail to form properly, but as you can see from the photos – this was certainly NOT the case! The low temperature and slow roasting delivered superbly tender flesh whilst the steaming effect kept the whole joint moist and succulent with a superb crust.