With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, summer is about to kick into full swing. Last weekend, my dear friends visited from San Francisco, and one of the highlights of the weekend was introducing them to a few of my favorite fruit and veggie stands around town.
One of my favorite seasons that I look forward to is cherry season! I remember spending time at my grandparents’ ranch in Woodbridge as a kid, sitting in the cherry trees for hours and eating countless cherries during summer break. I was in heaven! One of my favorite California varieties is the Bing cherry, dark red with wonderful flavor and firm texture. Some of my other favorites are Rainier, Brooks, and Chelan to name a few.
Memorial Day is a big BBQ weekend. The long holiday weekend and warm weather provide the perfect opportunity to invite your family and friends to come together and fire up the Bull BBQ!
For this recipe, we will use the rotisserie spit to cook a roast until crispy and browned on the outside and juicy on the inside. When considering cuts of meat, I wanted one full in flavor to compliment the cherry compote, balancing all the wonderful flavors in the dish. What better cut to use than boneless leg of lamb? The lamb offers a huge punch of flavor with a marinade of garlic, lemon, and white wine.
I called a butcher at a local market close to town, looking for a quality leg of lamb to pre-order. With a little luck, I found a domestic leg of lamb from Colorado. The meat was a beautiful deep red, marbled with bright white fat. The butcher offered to debone the leg of lamb, which is a time-saver I greatly appreciated. All that is left to do is to marinade overnight, and once it is ready, truss the roast with twine. Leaving the bone in is not recommended when cooking on the rotisserie.
Notes from the Chef:
- When you place the leg of lamb in a large 1 or 2 gallon ziplock with the marinade, make sure to squeeze out any excess air, and then zip the bag closed. Massage it to get the roast covered with the marinade.
- As the meat is marinating in the fridge, make sure to rotate, turning it occasionally to evenly marinade until ready to cook.
- I often will use my FoodSaver to vacuum seal my meat and marinade. It allows for a quicker enhancing of the meat in a shorter amount of time.
- When it comes time to truss the lamb, pat the leg off with a paper towel so that it is easier to work with.
- Once the leg of lamb is ready to truss, flip it over, fat side down on the cutting board. Tuck both ends in and loosely tie your first truss lengthwise around the leg of lamb.
- Next, carefully flip the leg of lamb back over, fat side up, fold in the side pieces underneath, and in the center, tie another loose truss to start forming the leg of lamb into a roast.
- From there, you can go out every 1 ½” and truss the remainder of the leg, forming the roast with a tight truss.
- Once the entire leg/roast is trussed, go back to the first knot that you tied loosely lengthwise for the tail end pieces. Do another tight truss, securing the tail ends and cutting away the first loose truss.
- For the Marinade:
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Zest from one lemon
- 4 cloves garlic, cleaned
- 1 sprig of rosemary, fresh, leaves
- 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon, salt
- For the Leg of Lamb:
- 1 (6.5-7 pound) leg of lamb, boneless
- For the Cherry Compote:
- 2 cups Bing cherries, pitted
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- ½ cinnamon stick
- Fresh thyme, tied with twine
- For the marinade: The day prior to cooking, place all the ingredients into a blender and mix well.
- Place the marinade into a 1 or 2 gallon ziplock bag and add the leg of lamb and massage.
- Refrigerate overnight for best results.
- For the lamb: Remove the two center grill grates on the grill and place an aluminum tray under the spit/leg to catch the drippings.
- Once the lamb is trussed, skewer it on the rotisserie spit.
- Put the spit on the grill and turn on the center rotisserie knob to high heat.
- Turn the spit motor on the side “on” and start spinning/cooking.
- Close the lid and cook as much as you can with the lid closed. This will keep from all heat escaping out if opened too much!
- After an hour, turn the rotisserie knob down to low. Wrap foil around the roast to avoid it from burning for the remainder of cooking.
- Once the lamb reaches 150 degrees F in the thickest part, about 3 - 3.5 hours total of cooking, turn the rotisserie motor off, rotisserie burner off and carefully remove the spit to a cutting board and let the lamb sit for 20 minutes to carry over cook. Once done, carefully remove the foil from the lamb.
- Remove the lamb from the spit and forks.
- Cut and discard the twine from the lamb. Carefully cut the meat crosswise into ½-inch thick slices and serve along side the cherry compote!
- For the cherry compote: While the lamb is cooking, take the thyme, cinnamon and balsamic and place into a medium sized pan.
- On medium-high heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar down to about ⅓, around 10 minutes.
- Next, add the cherries and honey, and simmer for about 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Serve in a decorative bowl along with the sliced lamb.
♥This recipe is dedicated to those who have lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Make sure to fly the stars and stripes to show your support!♥
– Chef Amy