Charcoal BBQ Method: Indirect & Slow
Prep Time: 20mins | Cooking Time: 5 hours | Marinating Time: 4hours
4kg Lamb shoulder, bone-in
2 tablespoons kosher salt
11/2 tablespoon sugar
11/2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried crushed bay leaf
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
9 by 13" aluminium drip pan
1. Properly wash the lamb shoulder and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Make several slits of about 1-inch deep across the joint for the marinade to seep into the meat through. Rub a generous amount of salt all over the lamb and then place the meat in a non-reactive casserole or an enamelled cast iron pan.
2. Add all the spices and seasonings together in a small bowl and mix thoroughly, until well combined. Add the olive oil and mix until you have a smooth paste.
Smear the marinade all over the lamb shoulder, giving the entire surface a good coating with the spice paste, and using your fingers make sure you rub the marinade into the slits on the skin. Cover the casserole with a sheet of aluminium foil and place the lid over it tightly. Put the casserole in a refrigerator and allow the lamb shoulder to sit in the marinade overnight.
3. Prepare your kettle grill for slow cooking on an indirect low heat of between 120° – 175°C. Fill one side of the charcoal grate with unlit briquettes and then use a chimney starter to ignite about 20 briquettes. Wait for the burning charcoals to be covered with ashes and then pour the lit briquettes on top of the unlit briquettes in the charcoal grate.
Then spread out the wood chips on top of the burning briquettes to introduce smoke to your grill. The wood chips or chunks should be soaked in water at least for 45 minutes before use. This is to make the wood to smoke and not to burn up easily.
Now pour water halfway up the drip pan and position it on the side without charcoals. This will serve as a drip pan as well as help the grill maintain a steady low heat.
4. Place your well-seasoned lamb shoulder on the pre-heated and smoke-filled grill. Place the lamb fat side up on the grill rack and smoke for 4 hours at a steady temperature of 120° – 150°C, keeping the lid covered throughout this time.
5. Once the internal temperature of the lamb gets to around 80°C remove the water pan out of the grill, in order to help the heat build up higher and more intensely. Please take extra caution while moving the hot water pan, and use grill gloves to carefully remove the top section and take out the water pan.
For the final hour increase the grill temperature to about 165°C, to make sure the fat renders. The extra heat also helps to crisp up the lamb skin and will make the fat taste so nice. During this final period, the juice from the lamb will drip directly on the charcoals. The juices from the lamb dripping on the hot coals will give the lamb shoulder an amazing smokey taste.
6. Remove the lamb from the smoker when internal temperature reaches 90° – 95°C. For pulled lamb you would want to aim for an internal temperature of between 90° – 95°C. Take the lamb shoulder off the grill at 80°C if you intend to serve the lamb sliced.
Once the meat thermometer is reading 80° – 85°C for sliced and 90° – 95°C for pulled, take your lamb off the kettle grill, wrap in an aluminum foil and allow the lamb to rest for 15 – 20 minutes.
Carve the meat off the bone with a slicing knife. You should be able to see the beautiful pink signature smoke ring on the lamb. Slice or pull the lamb and serve with your favorite sauce.