TONY STAPLES: Go large on the barbecue with spicy lamb this bank holiday

Spicy barbecued shoulder of lamb with tzatziki
Spicy barbecued shoulder of lamb with tzatziki

Forget the usual barbecue fare this bank holiday weekend. Impress your friends with a whole joint of lamb. It’s easier to do than you think, says Tony Staples, executive head chef of the Arora Hotel...

I much prefer to cook one joint of meat on the barbecue as it’s much easier than trying to keep an eye on lots of sausages and burgers. This spicy lamb is a family favourite producing a succulent tender meat with a slight kick – so it helps to have a cooling bowl of tzatziki to go with it.

The trick to cooking joints on the barbecue is to remove the bone, and butterfly the meat with a sharp knife. This gives a flatter joint of meat, letting it cook more evenly.

Just because it is a large piece of meat, don’t feel you can walk away while it’s cooking. Turn it every few minutes to prevent charring. Have a spray bottle of water handy in case the fat causes a flare up – but spray the coals not the meat. The longer the lamb is allowed to marinade in the spicy rub the more tender it will be, so at least 24 hours if possible. All that is needed to go with this is the tzatziki, grilled pitta breads and a green salad. If the heavens open, this joint cooks just as well in the oven, 140 oC for 45 mins.

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Spicy Barbecued Shoulder of Lamb with Tzatziki

Serves 10

2kg shoulder of lamb, bone removed

For the wet rub:

1 tbs dried oregano

1 tbs cracked black pepper

2 tbs of sea salt,

1 tbs paprika

Half a bulb of garlic crushed

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 tbs of chilli flakes

4 tbs of olive oil

For the tzatziki

500g tub of Greek yogurt

3 sprigs of dill, finely chopped

3 sprigs of mint, finely chopped

Half a cucumber

Pinch of salt

Half a garlic clove crushed

2tsp of olive oil


Remove the butcher’s string from the shoulder of lamb and carefully cut into the folds of meat, not all the way through, and open out to create a flatter joint.

Or ask your butcher to butterfly it for you.

Mix all the wet rub ingredients together and spread over both sides of the meat, working in with your hands. Place on a tray, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to marinade for 24 hours.

When ready to cook, wait until the barbecue coals have gone white (or turn the gas barbecue down to low) and raise the grill has high as it can go.

Place the lamb on and cook for 45 mins in total, turning every few minutes.

To make the tzatziki – cut the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Dice finely and place in a clean tea towel to squeeze out the moisture.

Stir the cucumber into the yogurt with the herbs, salt, garlic and olive oil. Serve with slices of the barbecued lamb and some grilled pitta breads.

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