In search of the best meat to grill at this time of year, the possibilities really are endless. But when the aroma of perfectly seasoned and grilled Ontario lamb is coming off of the barbeque, we are reminded how truly delicious this meat is for the summer.
Lamb is light tasting, easy to digest and can be accompanied by just about anything local this time of the year – asparagus, new potatoes, spring onions – and lamb is no exception as a great local product. We find that the best lamb comes from Charles Quality Meats, based out of St. Agatha. A family-run business, they are committed to providing chemical free meat, raised and processed right on their farm. What they feed their animals makes a huge difference in the taste.
We’ve worked with Tony, one of Charles’ sons, and he taught us a couple things about how to cook his lamb. First, keep it simple. A basic salt rub, with some fresh rosemary and garlic, is all that it needs. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and you’re on the way to gourmet.
Second, eat lamb while it is hot. The fat on lamb, especially on the coveted rack of lamb, is really tasty if rendered properly and served hot. Just like beef, some cuts are best served medium-rare, whereas tougher cuts like shoulder are best cooked slow-and-low. The classic leg of lamb is ideally served medium-rare to medium.
They also make a variety of lamb sausages, and some fantastic lamb burgers too, which are a good thing to try if lamb is new to you and your family.
This recipe comes from Kirstie’s husband Colby, who slow-roasted a lamb shoulder on our “Big Green Egg” charcoal grill. Even though you only use a few spoonfuls of the salt rub, make all of it and keep it in a jar to rub on just about any other grilled meat.
Herb and Salt Rubbed Lamb Shoulder Serves 6
- 1 Ontario lamb shoulder, bone-in, about 4lbs
- 1-1/2 cup kosher salt
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch each thyme and rosemary, stems removed
In a food processor, blend salt, garlic and herbs until almost paste-like;
Rub about 5 tablespoons into the lamb, pressing it onto the surface; keep the remaining rub in a mason jar;
Prepare a charcoal grill, or turn on one side of your gas barbeque to high;
Place lamb shoulder away from the coals, or on the indirect side of a gas grill, maintaining a temperature of about 375°F;
Roast for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender – a fork should easily slide in and out of the roast. Let meat rest for 20-30 minutes before carving; meat should easily fall off of the bone.
Chefs Kirstie Herbstreit and Jody O’Malley are both Red Seal certified chefs. Together they run the company YouCanCook2, specializing in interactive dinner parties. You can also find them cooking at Entertaining Elements in St. Jacobs, where they hold private dinners for eight people. To contact the chefs, visit their website www.youcancook2.com.