Members' Recipes Archive

June 2005
Barbecued Whole Shoulder of Lamb with Salsa Verde
Richard Ehrlich

Barbecued Whole Shoulder of Lamb with Salsa Verde

By: Richard Ehrlich

If you're a lamb fan, you should also be a fan of shoulder of lamb – cheaper than leg and with fuller flavour. Unlike leg, it needs special treatment in butchering, because the irregular bones make carving a nuisance. At this time of year, you can serve it in a single piece by going down a different route; but only if you buy from a skilled butcher who can prepare it as specified in this procedure.

Ask the butcher to do as follows:
Cut off the shank (which you will then freeze for later use). With the flesh side facing up, cut right down to the bone at approximately 2.5cm (1-inch) intervals, so that the shoulder is, in effect, striped with parallel cuts. Now, using the meat saw, cut right through the bone without cutting into the meat on the skin side of the shoulder. A skilled butcher can do it. Take the shoulder home in this form. It is a single piece of meat cut into serving portions, with deep incisions that will form a useful receptacle for the salsa, and with a larger surface area for browning.


1 shoulder of lamb

For the salsa:
1 clove of garlic
4 spring onions
4 anchovy fillets
15ml capers
15ml vinegar or lemon juice
30ml extra virgin olive oil – or much more, to taste
large handful of flat-leaf parsley


For the salsa verde:
1. Chop the first three ingredients separately, using a big chopping knife. Put them, as they're finished, into a mixing bowl.
2. Mix in the acid, then chop the parsley and mix that in.
3. Finally, add the oil, using as much as you like. If you're in the mood for calorie-killing, you can halve the amount of oil. If you want a really luxurious salsa, this quantity of solid material can easily accommodate 100ml of oil.

Using this recipe as a template, you can experiment almost endlessly, varying the ingredients here and adding other accent as you choose. If you don't like capers, chopped cornichons/gherkins will give very good results. And the salsa is good for all kinds of dishes, not just this one.

This is best done over coals of moderate, not blazing, heat. If you have a cover for your barbecue, that will make it easier to control the temperature. NB: take the meat out of the fridge a good couple of hours before cooking, so that you don't have to cook it for any longer than necessary; long cooking on the BBQ always carries the risk of excessive charring.
1. Brush the incised side of the lamb lightly with vegetable oil and lay it, with that side down, on the preheated BBQ. Cover and cook long enough to brown the meat well: around 25 minutes.
2. Brush the skin side with vegetable oil, then use two pairs of tongs to turn the meat carefully. Cover again and cook till it's done the way you like – probably around 20 minutes for medium-rare, 25–30 minutes for well done.
3. Remove to a serving platter. Using a small spoon and a table knife, spoon and stuff the salsa as evenly as possible into the incisions. It doesn't need to fill every single bit of space, as long as every incision has its fair share.
4. Leave to rest (loosely covered) for 10 minutes before slicing along the incisions, and remember to spoon some salsa – which will be mingling happily with the meat juices – onto each portion.

© Recipe copyright 2005 Richard Ehrlich


Author: Richard Ehrlich Email:

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