Open Fire Greek Style

"My art is a smoke-blackened empire" 
Quote; Athenaeus, Greek scholar c.200 A.D.

My travels to Greece have inspired this recipe. Usually the Greek custom is for a whole lamb to be prepared, but for ease of cooking I substituted a leg of lamb in lieu of the traditional whole lamb. Tried and true - this open fire spit recipe is always a crowd pleaser and was also one of the most requested dishes at my restaurant, and my TV crew loved it too. The fire-smoke combo flavors the meat while it slowly caramelizes on the spit. I know your guests will enjoy it as much as mine. Just use caution – your guests may get so into the mood, they will want to dance on tables and break plates. Opa, happy Friday! 

Grilled Greek Leg of Lamb  
makes 10-12 servings | recipe by George Hirsch

From Gather ‘round the Grill cookbook 1995, by Chef George Hirsch with Marie Bianco & From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series

5-6 pound boneless leg of lamb, split
2 cups fresh spinach, cleaned
2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
8 fresh mint leaves
1 head garlic, peeled
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt

Place fresh spinach, garlic, oregano, mint leaves, and pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend until leaves are small, add lemon juice and vinegar. Blend one minute or just until all ingredients are well mixed.  Place lamb in a large bowl, pour marinade over the lamb, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days ahead of cooking; turning lamb twice a day.

Pre heat grill to high.   

Remove lamb from marinade, dry the surface of the meat with paper towels, sprinkle with sea salt and secure with butcher twine on a metal spit. Place leg of lamb with spit on an indirect heat on a gas or charcoal grill for 30-40 minutes, until the entire surface is nicely brown.  Use caution when grilling to cook on an indirect heat to avoid flare ups.  

Place marinade in a large braising pan (as wide as lamb) and bring up to a rapid boil.  When meat is brown, place braising pan with reduce marinade on grill under meat to catch juices dripping from roast. Cover grill and lower temperature of grill to low. Brush lamb with drippings every 5-10 minutes. 

Cooking the lamb roast on a spit low and slow keeps the meat tender and juicy, as the moisture is not forced out of the roast. I cook my lamb well done; more in the style of a braised lamb dish for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until lamb is fork tender. However, if you prefer your lamb medium-rare, after browning roast cook about one hour on low temperature or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 145 degrees. 

When meat is cooked remove to a serving platter, cover with foil and allow to rest for thirty minutes prior to removing from spit and carving.  While meat is resting bring juices in braising pan to a boil and reduce the juices until it is all homogenized, pour juice over sliced lamb.

Serve with Greek Salad, warm pita bread and Tzatziki.

Signs of the Season


Earlier this week my subscribers to George Hirsch Lifestyle extra received an advance on this week's Know Your Fire Friday post, "All Fired UP!" with the recipe for my Secret Sliced Strip Steak as I prepared on Live with Regis and Kelly.

To receive George Hirsch Lifestyle extra

For the recipe + secret ingredient

click image for larger view

Meanwhile, as summer 2011 kicks-in with Memorial Day Weekend, here's a peak at signs of the season.

Honey I Love You

Your body is a marvelous machine that deserves optimum fuel everyday in order for it to perform its best. Why not take today, Valentine’s Day + treat yourself to sweet goodness. Yes, yourself. Treat yourself to something that's good for you. I'm thinking enjoying some honey - it's one of my top food picks.

Eat it local. it's so good for you, especially when made by your local bees. Much like how wines differ in flavor according to where the grapes are grown, so does honey. The benefits, in addition to building your immune system and an all natural aid to outdoor allergies; honey is one of the most precious all natural sweeteners on the market. 

Take good care of yourself + keep spreading the love. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Pomegranate Maple

Infused Maple Syrup puts a new spin on traditional weekend breakfasts. Sanoma Syrup Co.'s unique syrups and extracts are made ideally for those inspired to step up the flavors in many kinds of everyday foods.

Pomegranate Maple Breakfast Syrup infused with pomegranate Juice, pure maple syrup, pure cane simple syrup and a dash of our Tahitian and Madagascar Vanilla Blend. This syrup has over 45% real pomegranate juice that has naturally occurring antioxidants that fight free radicals. Maple syrup has a high concentration of minerals and an excellent source of manganese and zinc for antioxidant defense. Enjoy this savory and sweet new twist on a breakfast syrup!

And can also be added to sparkling water for a refreshing drink.

Pour Syrup Over: 


Belgium Waffles

Granola Parfait


Pigskin Sunday


I have been told by family members, who live in the BBQ belt in the south, that TLB in Sagaponack, New York is one of the finest Q joints (they say that with the highest respect), not only in the North but covering the USA. How about that? That's a pretty powerful statement from an expat Yankee.

The heart of TLB is all the details that goes into every part of this restaurant. Their dedication to sourcing the finest ingredients and preparation with authentic techniques makes TLB one of my favorite local spots for a pint and Q. Huge thumbs up.

Oh, and BTW the new “Pigskin Sunday” is not to be missed. And, it's also the first time I’ve ever witnessed - when the hometown team scores everyone politely puts down their pints and suckling pork tortillas to high five you. Even if you don’t follow football you’ll want to high-five me after tasting TLB's suckling pork Q.

TownLine BBQ