Pulled Lamb BBQ

The flavor of this lamb BBQ is simple, smoky, and earthy. Lamb is less fatty than pork, so it doesn’t beg for a sweet element, which makes it a great vehicle for what I love most about BBQ — the smokiness. You can eat the pulled lamb by itself with just the warm jus on the side for dipping.


Pulled Lamb BBQ

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


For the Spice Rub

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 boneless lamb shoulder roast (roughly 3 pounds)
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Recipe Steps

Step 1: To make the rub: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Pat the shoulder all over with the spice rub, applying as thick a layer as you can. Let the meat rest for about an hour. (Any extra rub can be stored in an airtight plastic container in the refrigerator for a month or two.)

Step 2: Heat an outdoor grill until hot. Add some hickory wood chips in the smoker chamber. When the chips start to smoke, place the lamb shoulder on the coolest part of the grill, close the lid, and smoke for 1 1⁄2 hours. Check the heat occasionally: The grill temperature should not get above 250 degrees F, but it should still be hot enough for the chips to keep smoking. I usually add a handful of chips every time I check the temperature. The rub should now look like a nice dark crust.

Step 3: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Step 4: Transfer the lamb to a roasting pan. Add the beef stock, cider vinegar, soy sauce, and Tabasco sauce. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and slow-roast the lamb for 3 hours. It should become very tender and fall easily off the bone.

Step 5: Remove the lamb from the roasting pan (set the pan aside) and shred the meat while it is still hot: Use two forks to pull the meat apart, or put on some disposable gloves and use your hands.

Step 6: Strain the braising liquid, which will have absorbed a lot of the smoky flavor, and use it as a dipping jus.

Recipe Tips

If you bypass the grilling step, put the lamb in the roasting pan and then straight into the oven. Increase the cooking time to 5 hours.

Recipe from the book Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee. Copyright © 2013 by Edward Lee. Published by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc.