Cape Town Lamb

South Africa


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Indirect Grilling Serves


Appears in

The Barbecue Bible

By Steven Raichlen

Published 1998

  • About

This recipe is simplicity itself, and it makes a pleasant switch from the usual lamb with mint sauce. The preparation reflects the ecumenism of the South African kitchen. Asia is represented by the use of ginger, soy sauce, and Chinese mustard. A British influence can be seen in the Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Put them together and you get an energizing jolt of flavor—sweet, sour, and spicy—that will give you a whole new perspective on lamb. I like to serve this lamb with equally ecumenical accompaniments: naan (Tandoori-Baked Flat Breads), Persian-Style Steamed Rice, and Pineapple Achar.


For the Lamb

  • 1 bone-in leg of lamb (6 to 8 pounds), trimmed of any papery skin
  • 6 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • 6 thin slices peeled fresh ginger, cut into thin slivers

For the Glaze

  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons hot Chinese-style mustard, or 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Advance Preparation

  • to 8 hours for marinating the meat

  1. Prepare the lamb: Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, make slits about an inch deep all over the surface of the lamb. Insert a sliver each of garlic and ginger into each slit. Place the lamb in a nonreactive roasting pan and set aside while you prepare the glaze.
  2. Make the glaze: Combine the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, Dijon and Chinese-style mustards, lemon juice, oil, and minced garlic and ginger in a small, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook the glaze until thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Remove the glaze from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Pour half of the cooled glaze over the lamb in the roasting pan, brushing to coat it on all sides. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 3 to 8 hours (the longer the better). Refrigerate the remaining glaze, covered.
  4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling, place a large drip pan in the center, and preheat the grill to medium.
  5. When ready to cook, place the lamb on the hot grate over the drip pan and cover the grill. Cook the lamb until done to taste, 2 to 2½ hours; when done to medium, an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg (but not touching the bone) will register 160°F. Start brushing the lamb with the remaining glaze during the last 45 minutes of grilling; brushing it two or three times. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals to each side every hour.
  6. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and brush it one last time with glaze, then let rest for 10 minutes before carving. While the lamb rests, heat any remaining glaze to serve as a sauce with the lamb.

*Really well-done lamb will be 180°F to 190°F.