There’s a woman at the top of the hill that sells baby “pet” goats and sheep. It’s true, the crudely hand painted sign attests to it.
Although I am inclined to believe that no one actually buys them as “pets“. The stock of hooved beasts rotates in and out, the community of blaying residents swells the hillside to bursting, then one by one they vanish into the night. If anyone within a drive-able distance were actually stocking their yards with hairy lawn ornaments, I’d have seen them. There aren’t any. What there is… is a never-ending caravan of umm…ethnic men in trucks picking up a couple “pets” for a thrilling weekend of fire, beer and barbecue.
Yes my friends, she is providing a food source. I, myself, have been tempted to liberate a couple of her tasty, furry pets for my own entertainment, but thankfully… our neighborhood covenant doesn’t allow livestock – pet or otherwise… and, I’m not all that sure I could butcher a fluffy lamb… and besides, well.. goat eyes just really creep me out.
I’ll leave that to the butchers. I’m completely happy to buy mine already chopped up into cook-able pieces.
I picked up a leg of lamb a couple of weeks ago with the intention of smoking it. But in the downsizing when I relocated to Dahlonega, I had to relieve myself of quite a bit of stuff. One of them was my 3′ Pit Master Smoker. I’ve missed my smoker terribly.
I decided to refit the gas grill into a makeshift smoking unit… and yes, it can be done.
Gas Grill / Smoker Conversion
You will need:
1 – 3 to 4 Burner Gas Grill with an Upper Rack
or the Grill with a Metal Strainer Basket
An Oven Thermometer – Probe Type
10″ x 10″x 2″ Metal Pan
Micro Proof Bowl
1. Place the chips and water in the bowl and micro on high for 5 minutes. The micro heating will super dry out the wood and allow the chips to absorb the water super quick.
2. Remove the left side grill grate. (the one you will be lighting)
3. Affix the probe of the thermometer inside the grill at the height you will have the meat.
4. Cut the main gas on 1/4 to 1/2 open and light the 1 (one) burner you will be using. Its best to utilize the far left or far right burner to keep the smoking meat as far away from the direct heat as possible
5. Place the 10″ pan with the soaked wood chips on top of the lit burner and adjust the burner to the lowest setting. You will need to play around with the thermometer and gas for a bit. What you are after is a “Closed Lid” temp of 195 to 200 degrees only. What you are after are the wood esters, steam and gasses that are released starting at about 185 degrees. If your heat source is too hot, you create smoke… which oddly, is a bad thing. Invisible smoke creates 95% of the good qualities you want in smoked meats. 225 to 300 creates visible smoke… which is primarily ash and particulates, as well as those “other” nasty things that give you cancerous rats.
6. Fold the tin foil between the area you’re going to smoke in and the “fire” source. Remember, we want slow, low heat and smoke. High heat… well, you might as well just grill it.
7. Place the meat on the upper rack… or in the strainer basket and place the probe beside it.
8. Close the lid and smoke for 3 to 4 hours – depending on the size of the meat. You are after an internal temperature of 150 for medium – 160 for medium well – 180 for well.
Note – keep an eye on the temp. As the smoke level increases, so with the internal temperature. Adjust the gas to keep the temp inside the smoker to no more than 225.
Fair warning – this smoking procedure will not give you a smoke ring. This method keeps the temperature low enough to liquefy the fats and infuse them with the true smoky goodness you want in your bbq.
Slow Smoked Herbed Lamb
Serves 6 to 8
1 – 5 lb Leg O Lamb
1 Tablespoon Rosemary – Chopped
1 Tablespoon Mint – Chopped
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
- Bone the lamb and score the fat cap
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub into the leg meat on all sides
- Wrap tightly and refrigerate overnight
- Prepare the Grill / Smoker
- Smoke the leg for 3 hours at 200 for medium
- Slice and serve with Shelly Bean Saute and Savory Muscadine Sauce
Shelly Bean Saute
Any fresh shelled beans will work. I’ve used pole beans, limas ans Zipper creams simply because they are what I have.
Serves 4 to 6
1 Cup Pole Bean or Runner Bean Shellys
1 Cup Fresh Baby Lime Beans
1 Cup Zipper Cream Peas
1 Tablespoon Rosemary – Minced
1 Tablespoon Shallots – Minced
1 Ounce Pancetta – Minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Large Zipper Bag
Large Saute Pan
- Place all the bean in a large zipper bag and microwave on high for 5 minutes – repeat for 3 minutes if necessary
- While the beans are steaming, heat the oil in the pan on medium high and add the pancetta – saute until golden brown
- Add the shallots and heat until translucent
- Ass the rosemary and heat until fragrant
- Add the peas and coat thoroughly
- Adjust for salt and pepper and serve.