GRILLED MARINATED LEG OF LAMB
Serves Six to Eight
Adapted from West Coast Prime Meats Cooks © 2015
- Four to five pounds butterflied, boneless leg of lamb*
- One cup Bulgarian or similar whole-milk yogurt
- One cup olive oil
- Half-cup white wine vinegar
- Six to eight cloves garlic, peeled
- One teaspoon sea salt
- Two sprigs fresh rosemary, stemmed and leaves minced
- Four sprigs fresh oregano, stemmed and leaves minced
- Two-gallon Ziploc bag
- Four tablespoons coarse sea salt
- Four tablespoons coarse-ground black pepper
- Two tablespoons smoked paprika
*If your butcher only sells bone-in legs of lamb, see How to Debone a Leg of Lamb
- In a blender jar, combine the yogurt, olive oil, white wine vinegar, garlic cloves and sea salt. Blend on medium speed until fully mixed, about 30 seconds. Add the minced rosemary and oregano and pulse to combine.
- Place the lamb leg in the Ziploc bag, pour the yogurt mixture over the lamb, press out any extra air and seal the bag. Turn the lamb around in the bag to make sure the marinade completely coats it.
- Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the lamb to marinate for at least 12 hours.
- The next day, take the lamb out of the refrigerator and remove from the bag. Rinse off the marinade and pat the lamb leg dry. Set it aside to come to room temperature, about one hour.
- While the lamb is unchilling, heat your gas or charcoal grill to around 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and paprika. Rub the seasoning evenly over the lamb leg.
- If the leg looks difficult to maneuver on the grill, run two skewers lengthwise and two skewers crosswise and bunch the meat into an even parcel.
- Grill the lamb for about five minutes, then flip the lamb to the other side and grill for an additional five minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove the lamb from the grill and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Then slice it thinly across the grain and serve.
Copyright © 2015 by Amy and Craig Nickoloff and West Coast Prime Meats
Recipes reprinted with permission of the owners.
Carl and Rae Nickoloff did not live long enough to see Claim Jumper Meats evolve into West Coast Prime Meats, but they did see their son and West Coast Prime Meats founder Craig Nickoloff survive and thrive on the skills they taught him.
Carl and his Bulgarian immigrant father, Nick “Papa Nick” Nickoloff, were the epitomes of the American dream, self-made entrepreneurs whose Long Beach coffee shop, Nik’s, was the de facto dining room for the McDonnell Douglas Company. The family partnership continued with Claim Jumper, which Carl and Craig opened in Los Alamitos, Calif., in 1977 (see note). When the menu at the original restaurant stated homemade cherries jubilee, it was true; Rae made those and the restaurant’s brandied fruits at home.
“When I talk to other guys my age who worked with their dads, we all share the same regret. We never took enough time to say thank you for the lessons we learned at our fathers’ sides,” Craig Nickoloff says, adding, “Every day I go to work, I think about what my dad would do. This book is one way to express my gratitude to him.”
Almost daily at Nik’s, Papa Nick would bring in sweet peppers from his garden and ask his grandson to grill them for supper. This lamb leg would pair nicely with those peppers.