Leg of lamb is a classic holiday meal but with the availability of lamb year-round it is becoming more and more common on the dinner table. A whole lamb leg is too large for mast families so the leg is usually cut into two sections: the lean shank half and the tenderer (but bonier) sirloin half. Lamb shoulder which is less tender and less expensive could be substituted. This recipe requires advance preparation to allow the lamb to marinate overnight.
1 (5- to 6-pound) boned sirloin half leg of lamb
5 fresh rosemary springs (for smoking)
Fresh mint leaves, finely shredded
For the rub:
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion peeled and quartered
10 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
Prepare the paste by combining all the paste ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender and process to combine. With the processor running, pour in the oil and continue processing until a paste forms. Spread the paste generously on the lamb. Place the lamb in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Prepare your smoker or indirect grill with hickory and cherry and bring it to 220 to 250 degrees F. Add the rosemary springs to the coals and place the lamb, skin side up, in the smoker or between the two piles of coals on the indirect grill. Cook for 30 minutes and then turn the lamb skin-side down; continue smoke-cooking until the lamb is medium-rare, about another 20 minutes per pound. The internal temperature should be 140 degrees F.
Remove the lamb when done, tent with foil, and let it rest 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh mint. Serve with roasted new potatoes and onions and steamed asparagus.