I was really pleased when my butcher shared this red wine marinated
grilled lamb recipe for kebabs & steaks with me and I was amazed how incredibly simple it is to prepare.
A red wine marinade adds beautiful tenderness to meat and when you are making kebabs or lamb steaks it really ensures that the final texture of the meat is soft and not chewy. For this grilled lamb recipe I recommend a couple of hours for the marinade to work its magic.
There's no need to marinade for more than two hours and there are actually very good reasons for not marinading any longer than this. My article on the science of marinades covers this point (and more) in detail.
The best cut of lamb to use for this grilled lamb recipe is leg because it's lean with little connective tissue making it ideal for the grill. A cut that is becoming more popular is top round, this is a large muscle from the leg that has the full flavor of some of the tougher cuts but is still tender enough to be grilled. Ask your butcher.
This grilled lamb recipe works well for lamb steaks or diced lamb for kebabs as both have plenty of surface area on which the red wine marinade can work. To ensure that the maximum amount of meat is exposed to the red wine marinade use a flat non-metallic dish.
I've served this dish very simply with some lightly grilled tomatoes and a green been salad. There's plenty of time to prepare the beans whilst the lamb is in the marinade.
Note:- Just as you need to think ahead and prepare the red wine marinade, remember that if you're doing kebabs and using bamboo skewers you need to soak those for 30 minutes or so so that they don't burn on the grill.
Serves:- 4 people
Preparation Time:- 10 minutes
Marinade Time:- 2 hours
Cooking Time:- 15 minutes
Total Time:- 2 hours 25 minutes
For the lamb, I've used leg steaks and worked on about 125g or 5oz per person.
Place the lamb in your marinating bowl, using your fingers strip the rosemary and thyme leaves from their wooden twig and sprinkle all over the lamb. Now cover the lamb in red wine, hopefully leaving enough in the bottom of the bottle to get the glass out for yourself and then add the lemon zest. Cover and leave to marinate for two hours, there's no need to refrigerate because chilling with contract the lamb making it more difficult for the marinade to penetrate the meat and frankly nothing is going to spoil at room temperature for just 2 hours.
Keep a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme to one side and soak them in water with your bamboo skewers. When it comes to the cookout, throw them on the coals under the lamb for an extra flavor dimension. (If using a gas grill then wrap the sprigs in foil to create a parcel, perforate the foil parcel using a fork and then throw the package onto the lava blocks (or flame tamers). As it heats up the sprigs will gradually smoulder and release a wonderful smoky aroma.
As you start the cooking phase place your cherry tomatoes in a small baking tray and pour over a lug of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place the tray over the coals to allow them gently to warm through.
If doing kebabs, thread the lamb onto the skewers leaving plenty of space around each cube to allow the heat to access all sides of the kebab and place over medium coals for 15 minutes turning occasionally.
If doing steaks, work to the same timing and turn over at half time although clearly the absolute cooking time is going to be dependent on how you like your lamb steak cooked and how thick the steak is.
Use an instant read temperature probe to ensure that your steak is on point:-
When cooked to your liking, remove the lamb from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Now you're ready to plate up, remove the tomatoes from the grill and serve with the lamb and green beans.