Lamb can be a tricky meat to get right. You need to know how to work with the different cuts.
Some cuts that are leaner like backstrap are best suited for grilling. Then you have the lamb shoulder which is a fattier cut with a lot of connective tissue that lends well to low and slow style cooking.
In this recipe, I’ll be going through a few techniques to help you get a more succulent finished lamb blackstrap. I’ll also show you an easy roast Zucchini salad that will go perfectly.
Click to jump straight to each topic
Grilled Lamb Backstrap
Lamb backstrap is cut from near the spine in the middle of the loin. The backstrap is the same cut you call a ribeye that comes from beef.
The fact is the average lamb weighs 135 lbs and the average cow weighs 1,100 lbs at slaughter. So being a smaller leaner cut of meat, it tends to cook quickly, so it’s not one to walk away from the grill while cooking.
It’s a premium, lean cut and has a slightly milder flavor, making it a perfect choice for anyone that’s still on the fence about eating lamb.
Have I said to you that you need to have a good relationship with your local butcher before? I know I bang on about this but it truly does make a difference in how much they will go out of their way to help you.
You’ll need to get some decent sized lamb backstrap. Remembering this is lamb, so they won’t be huge but two decent sized ones should easily feed four people.
If you prefer to follow along there’s also a video version of this recipe to check out.
I feel a lot of people stay away from eating lamb mainly because their only experience in eating it was eating older mutton or eating overcooked lamb, which tends to be hard and chewy. By following this recipe and cooking method, you’ll always be eating succulent juicy lamb and loving it.
Items that will help you cook these are:
- Kettle Grill that you can set up dual cooking zones (I’m using a 22” Weber Kettle)
- Lump Charcoal or High Heat briquettes (I’m using Briquettes)
- Smoking Wood (I’m using peach wood)
- Butchers string or cooking string
- An instant read thermometer (I’m using an M4 Thermapen)
- Chopping Board
- Boning or trimming knife
Stuffing the lamb backstrap
If you cannot find fresh spinach, don’t worry, most supermarkets now stock it frozen. Hence I had to use it for this recipe.
So defrost the spinach and roughly chop it up, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Now combine the spinach, feta and garlic into a bowl and mix thoroughly, then put aside.
Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket into the side of each backstrap, from one end to the other. Making sure not to cut right through, we need to be able to keep the spinach mixture in as we cook the backstraps.
Now using the spinach mixture, fill up each backstrap with plenty of mixture. Don’t be shy, get a lot into each one.
Now using butcher’s twine or cooking string, tie each backstrap up. I usually use 5 to 6 pieces depending on the size of the backstrap. Make sure they are nice and tight and the seam is pretty much closed up.
Now onto the seasoning. Just give each backstrap a light coating of oil, just to help the rub to stick.
Apply from a height of around 12” to make sure you get even coverage and no clumping of the ingredients on the lamb.
Place the lamb backstraps aside while you prep the BBQ, this just to allow the herbs to start flavoring the meat.
High heat set up perfect for roasting
For this cook we need a high heat source up around the 400°F range; not only to get some good color on the lamb but also to roast the vegetables we’ll be serving with the lamb.
I’m using a 22”
Once the briquettes are all fully lit, I’ll dump them into two charcoal baskets and position them on either side of the charcoal grate. I tend to wear heat proof gloves and use an old pair of grill tongs when doing this.
I’ll place the lid back on, making sure all the vents are open and allow the grill to warm up for 10 minutes.
I’ll put the lid back on and just keep a check on the internal temp of the lamb. Most people have a tendency to overcook lamb, which results in a chewy feed. We are only wanting to take the internal temp to 135°F and then allowing a 30-minute rest under some foil.
Lamb really likes a good long rest. Trust me, it will make for a more tender bite.
Roasted Zucchini Salad
If I have to eat salads to be healthy, then this recipe is on the top of my list.
I tend to get the vegetables prepared before I cook the lamb. It just makes for an easier cook and I like to be prepared.
To do this, start off by trimming the ends of the zucchinis and cutting them into thick ½” slices. Then deseed the bell peppers and cut them into ½” strips. Now peel and cut the onions into ½” wedges.
Put all the prepped vegetables into a baking dish along with the cherry tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle the paprika, mint and salt and pepper and mix up thoroughly.
Then this can get into the
You’ll know when the vegetables are done, as the tomatoes will start to soften and break down a little.
That’s when it’s time to take them off the heat and allow the vegetables to cool for a couple of minutes.
I love adding a nice, fresh vinaigrette to my salads and this roasted salad is no exception. This recipe suits both the roasted vegetables and the lamb really well and it’s super easy to make.
Into a small bowl, add the shallots, vinegar, mustard, honey and garlic. Whisk this up and then slowly add the oil while whisking.
Once all of the oil is added and thoroughly mixed, season with salt and pepper.
You won’t need a lot of this; it’s just a nice fresh flavor that helps combine all the others together.
First things first, we need to remove the string from the lamb backstrap, although we are meant to use dental floss after each meal, having it with the meal is not a good look. So grab a pair of scissors and remove it now.
The flavors of the roasted vegetables and the spinach and feta stuffed lamb backstrap really blend well together. So I tend to make a bed of the roasted vegetables on a plate. I then like to top this with some thickly cut ¾” pieces of the stuffed lamb backstrap.
I’m a sauce guy. I love to accompany most dishes I make with one, so this one is no different but being lamb and roasted vegetables, I wanted to have a fresh and tasty vinaigrette that wasn’t going to overpower the delicate flavors we already have on the plate.
So just add a drizzle of the vinaigrette. A little goes a long way and you can refrigerate the rest for a few weeks.
This is the sort of meal that can be enjoyed with a glass of wine or nice pale ale or six if you’re at my place.
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Lamb Backstraps with a Roasted Zucchini Salad
Spinach and Feta Stuffed Lamb Backstrap
- 2 lamb backstraps (18 oz)
- 7 oz frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
- 2 oz Feta cheese
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp lemon pepper
Roasted Zucchini Salad
- 4 medium-sized zucchinis
- 4 red bell peppers
- 18 oz cherry tomatoes
- 2 red onions
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried mint leaves
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- fine sea salt to taste (around ¼ tsp)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (around a pinch or two)
Making the Lamb Seasoning
- Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer to a rub shaker to make applying easier.
For the Lamb Backstraps
- Combine the drained and chopped spinach, Feta and garlic into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket into the side of each backstrap lengthways from one end to the other. Making sure not to go through the other side.
- Now using the spinach mixture, fill up each cavity with a generous amount.
- Using butcher's twine, tie up each backstrap with 5 to 6 pieces to secure the mixture in the pocket.
- Coat each backstrap with a little oil and give them an even coating of the seasoning.
- Now allow it to sit and let the herbs start to flavor the meat while you prep the BBQ.
Setting up the BBQ
- Light up a chimney starter of briquettes.
- Once they are fully lit, transfer them to two charcoal baskets on the charcoal grate and then position one at either end.
- Put the grill in place and put the lid back on.
- Open all vents, we want to get the temp up near 400°F.
- After 10 minutes, brush the grill with a grill brush and place the backstraps in the centre of the grill between the two baskets.
- Put the lid back on and cook until the lamb's internal temp is at 135°F.
- Take off the heat and rest under loose foil for 30 minutes.
Roasted Zucchini Salad
- Start by trimming off the ends off the zucchinis and then slice them into 1/2 “ thick slices.
- Deseed the bell peppers and slice these at ½” slices.
- Next, peel and slice the onions into ½” wedges.
- Place all these along with the whole cherry tomatoes into a baking tray.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Then sprinkle with all dry ingredients and mix up thoroughly.
- Place on the cooking grate between the 2 charcoal baskets and roast for 30 minutes, turning once.
- You’ll know when they are done as the tomatoes will start to soften and break down.
- Into a small bowl, add the shallots, vinegar, mustard, honey and minced garlic.
- Whisk these ingredients up thoroughly.
- Now slowly add the olive oil while constantly whisking.
- Once all the oil is added and you have mixed everything, season with salt and pepper and mix again.
- Remove the string from the lamb backstraps.
- Lay down a good-sized bed of the roasted vegetables.
- Top this with some 1/3” thick slices of the stuffed lamb backstraps.
- Finish it off by drizzling over some of the fresh vinaigrette.