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Help With Lamb Marinades

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I made some lamb not too long ago on the grill and i didn't really like it. From what i remember, i basically salted and peppered it...and rubbed it with EVOO. It wasn't horrible...disappointing, yes. I remember buying rosemary specifically for the lamb but opted not to use it fearing the heat would char the rosemary. Anybody have any good rubs or marinade ideas?

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post #2 of 18
The lamb will give up some moisture so you won't really char the rosemary. Try a simple lemon juice, EVOO, oregano, s+p.
post #3 of 18
Yoghurt is a great base for lamb marinade, you can add chopped shallot, garlic, rosemary and lemon juice. There are plenty of recipes online. I find yoghurt is good because if you are doing a whole leg of lamb the marinade will hold in place instead of running off. Gives a wonderful flavour to the meat.
post #4 of 18
What did you not like about it specifically? Salt pepper and evoo are not a marinade, they're just seasoning. A marinade has some type of acid usually and is partially a means to tenderize the meat.

Will definitely try the yoghurt idea next!!!!!!!!

My lamb marinade is a hit. In a mortar/pestle I make a garlic paste with 6-10 cloves. If you don't like the idea of grilling raw garlic (yum to me) then roast 2 heads of garlic and use them for the paste.

I then blend the garlic paste with the juice of 3-4 lemons plus zest, evoo, pepper, and dried thyme or oregano. I slather on the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 2 hours.

I don't salt the meat until it's ready to hit the grill. I find that adding salt to the marinade tends to dry out the meat.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
yea, i didn't marinade the lamb that time. all i did was rub the salt, pepper, and evoo.

In regards to the yogurt, what type of yogurt would you use? I'll try the marinade for sure...i love garlic.

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post #6 of 18

fresh mint and lamb are a marriage made in heaven

so many things you can do with lamb, was it your first time eating lamb?? and why didnt you like it

in a bowl throw in a good hand full of fresh chopped mint,some crushed garlic, a little balsamic vinegar, a couple teaspoons sugar, salt and pepper and a bit of EVOO and soak your lamb for at least 30 mins
or crush up mint, basil, rosemary with black pepper crushed roasted pinenuts and parmesian cheese then brush your lamb with a little oil and rubthe mix all over and then cook really slowly.
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires
post #7 of 18


The trick to marinating lamb is giving it a lot of time -- at least twice what you'd give almost anything else. I know a number of marinades for grilled lamb from a variety of different cultures. Mexican and Indian marinades are very good.

One of my favorites is an American-Italian-Greek marinade called "spiedies." It's not really "authentic" or "native" to anywhere except upstate New York -- but it tastes Mediterranean as all get out.


1-1/2 cup good, fruity olive oil
3/4 cup dry red wine, dry white wine or dry vermouth
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 onion, rough chopped
8 - 10 cloves garlic, crushed then minced
2 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 tbs dried basil, crushed
1 tbs dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crushed
1 tbs dried mint, crushed (or 2 tbs fresh mint, chopped)
2 tsp celery salt


Combine all. Add 4 pounds of lamb cut for the grill in cubes (for kabab), chops or steaks. Place in a plastic bag, get most of the air out and close tightly. Refrigerate. The cold temperatures will make the oil solidify and slow the marinating process. At least once a day, but preferably twice, remove the bag from the refrigerator for about an hour. Shake it up before returning to the cold. Marinate for at least 40 hours and as long as 80.

Beef and chicken make excellent spiedies too.

post #8 of 18

Tikka Marinade

Here's another marinade for Tikka or Tandoor style lamb.

(Enough for 3 lbs)

1 pint, plain whole-milk yogurt
2 serrano or jalapeno chilies -- seeded, deveined and rough chopped. Or, better, use 2 canned chipotle chilies, plus 2 tsp of the adobo from the can.
2 tsp fresh ginger, crushed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp distilled or cider vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp corn or other mild cooking oil
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper or 2 tsp chile de arbol.
1 tsp cumin powder
1-1/2 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
1 tbs mild paprika -- for color
1/2 tsp turmeric

Place the yogurt, chilies, ginger, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and oil in a blender. Puree until smooth. Empty into a bowl, add the remaining spices and blend with a fork.

Marinate the lamb for anywhere between 6 and 30 hours, depending on the size of the pieces. Generally, the longer the better.

post #9 of 18
I use yogurt-based marinades for lamb, beef and chicken (not always but often). It not only flavors the meat but also tenderizes it a bit.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

lamb is great!

oh no no...i've eaten lamb many times before. but you know as i you know when the flame gets out of hand and you put a little water on the pit to settle it down? it tasted like the smell of that. but i'm eager to try what you recommended just now...THAT sounds good.

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post #11 of 18
Just plain Natural yoghurt or Greek.
post #12 of 18
A thread on plain yogurt--more info than you need for a yogurt marinade, but some good info:
post #13 of 18

You seem to like Tessa's suggestions. A word of caution about them: They both need low heat (as she said). You don't want to burn the sugar in the one, or the cheese in the other. Either, if overcooked will be very bitter. So... not on the grill.

post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

not on the grill

so the oven i guess...that's a good tip. might try these on sunday. i wish it was sunday now.

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post #15 of 18
To calm the flames down, keep a water squirter bottle handy, and keep it for this purpose only. If the flames flare up too much, just some squirts of water will calm them down, and stop the burn. Also helps to clear the smoke from around the meat.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #16 of 18
We do a lamb chop on the grill where I work everyday, so I can understand your concerns with the flare up and such. Our grill is a full mesquite charcole grill and being a full service place we are fortunate to have. The flare up is not so bad if you do not let it get the carbon on it ..the char is fine and will add to the flavor. but you also have to watch it to avoid the dreaded over char . Now what prob gave you the bad taste you had it happen before was when it was just enough flame touching the meat that carbon built up on it. It would have looked like black streaks on the meat. Sour and bad tasting for sure. As to flavor of the meat ..if you had lamb before you definently know it is a gamey protein and will always have that tint to it. A lot of flavor also depends on where it came from my experience Colorado lamb is nicer then New Zealand ..but that may be all preference. As to you question of a good marinade fresh basil " 2 or 3 whole leaves depending on how much", raw garlic ..2 cloves , evoo , 3 sprigs fresh thyme, salt , pepper ,and shallot fine diced ..let sit 2hrs max cooled and let hit room temp before grilling
post #17 of 18
Boar, your first marinade is very close to one a friend of mine used on a grilled leg of lamb. She marinated it over night and then wrapped it in foil before grilling. It was amazing. I have never had better lamb before or since. I think the only difference is she didn't use mint and added a little soy sauce.
post #18 of 18
This one has even those who profess to not like lamb enjoying it. It was torn from a very old Sunset Magazine--
Grilled Thai Leg of Lamb

1 13 1/2 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup snipped fresh basil
1/2 cup snipped fresh mint
1/2 cup sliced green onions
! Tabls. shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
2 Tabls. fish sauce
1 Tabls. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. red curry paste
1 Tabls. grated fresh ginger
1 Tabls. minced garlic
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 3-3 1/2 lb. boneless leg of lamb rolled and tied.

For sauce:combine first nine ingredients with 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Set aside.
Rub: Combine garlic, ginger, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. ground black pepper.
Unroll lamb and pound to 1 1/2" to 2" thickness.
Rub ginger mixture over meat, plase in a resealable plastic bag and add 1/2 cup sauce. Place in dish and refrigerate 8 hours or so, turning and squishing (my word) occassionally.
Cover and refrigerate sauce.
Remove meat from marinade--the next step I haven't done---use long metal skewers inserted as a X to keep meat from curling.
Arrange coals over drip around and test for medium to low heat. Place meat on rack, cover and grill 50-60 minutes or until thermometer reads 135. Remove and let stand 15 minutes.
Let sauce stand and room temp for 30 minutes.
Slice and and ladle some sauce orver and serve rest on side.
I have adjusted amounts and used dried herbs with good results. People love the sauce, so when I make two legs, I make triple sauce.
Let me know if you find other uses for it, when I have had a tad left over, have served along side grilled fish

I am not to to careful to pound the leg really flat since that way I get some more done than the rest and everyone is happy

Another lamb thing, that I sort of invented when I just could not see the mix of mint jelly and
lamb, but like the mint notion.
I cover a couple of handfulls of dried spearmint with balsamic vinegar and simmer really low for about an hour, cook a bit of garlic in butter or olive oil till soft and add to mint mixture with brown sugar to taste. I do this early in the day and just push it to the back of cooktop till time to strain and serve
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