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Sous vide leg of lamb

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  • doctorak
    Charter Member
    • Jul 2015
    • 95
    • Fairfield, CT

    Sous vide leg of lamb

    So I've been charged with making a leg of lamb for Passover dinner Monday. It seems like SV is the way to go since I'm working all day Monday and would have limited time to throw it on the smoker or grill. Anyone done a whole leg? It's for 9 adults and 2 kids, so I'm thinking 5 lbs or so should do it, and that may mean I need to split the leg in two (boneless, I guess). Debates:

    -Dry brining? Worth it before a SV cook? I've read that the bath just ends up extracting the salt back out, and SV makes it plenty tender anyway. Wondering about people's experiences with any large roasts like this with dry brining vs just salting after the bath.

    -Timing? I'm working til later on Sunday evening, so it might not get into the bath until around 9 or 9:30pm on Sunday, which would be about 20 hours. I think that's plenty. Thinking 131 degrees is the right temp, since it'll be in the bath for a long time and don't want bacteria crawling around.

    -Rub before or after? I know there's debate on this. I'll probably use Meathead's Dolly rub, so worth sort of wasting some in the bag then re-rubbing before searing? Or maybe just put some fresh herbs in the bag with a touch of olive oil and rub it afterwards before searing?

    -Still working on my sear game. I do have some new Grill Grates so if it isn't raining Monday I'll probably fire them up real hot and sear on there. Maybe some wood chips in the grooves to give a quick smokiness too?

    Any suggestions much appreciated. Will post pics throughout.
  • Brewer65
    Club Member
    • Mar 2017
    • 8
    • Tobaccoville, NC

    #2
    I love cooking Sous Vide, last cook I did was beef ribs, 48 hours, they turned out great. I've never done Leg of lamb, but here's a link that I found that might help. https://www.chefsteps.com/activities...stunning-feast
    Phil

    Comment


    • Notavegan
      Notavegan commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks a lot Brewer - I just watched that video. Now I want lamb!
  • RobertC
    Club Member
    • Mar 2017
    • 150

    #3
    I've sous vided the sirloin half of a leg of lamb. I didn't bone it, I didn't brine before, I lightly scored the fat side, and SV'd 24 hours @ 130 degF (55 degC). I finished it in a 450 degF oven for maybe 10 minutes. From other SV trials I'm not sure that putting herbs in the bag does much. I've pretty much given up on seasoning during the SV stage.

    I poured the bag juices into a large pyrex measuring container, then microwaved for a minute to cook the proteins and clump them together -- then I strained through a fine sieve into a saucepan to semi-clarify it. The sauce was still a little colloidy. Then I added balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and reduced it. Basically, I season the sauce rather than the meat in the bag.
    Last edited by RobertC; April 7th, 2017, 09:24 AM.

    Comment

    • doctorak
      Charter Member
      • Jul 2015
      • 95
      • Fairfield, CT

      #4
      Originally posted by RobertC View Post
      I've sous vided the sirloin half of a leg of lamb. I didn't bone it, I didn't brine before, I lightly scored the fat side, and SV'd 24 hours @ 130 degF (55 degC). I finished it in a 450 degF oven for maybe 10 minutes. From other SV trials I'm not sure that putting herbs in the bag does much. I've pretty much given up on seasoning during the SV stage.

      I poured the bag juices into a large pyrex measuring container, then microwaved for a minute to cook the proteins and clump them together -- then I strained through a fine sieve into a saucepan to semi-clarify it. The sauce was still a little colloidy. Then I added balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, crushed garlic and reduced it. Basically, I season the sauce rather than the meat in the bag.
      Great info, thanks. Did you season before throwing it in the oven? And did the meat overcook from the 10 minutes at 450? Seems like searing (or broiling) it instead would do a better job of crisping the outside without overcooking the perfectly sous vide'd inside, no?

      Comment

      • RobertC
        Club Member
        • Mar 2017
        • 150

        #5
        I did season before throwing it in the oven but not heavily. The flesh was still rosy, it wasn't overcooked at all. My original plan was to put it under the broiler and turn it but too many things were happening in the kitchen at the last minute so I went with Plan B.

        Comment

        • EdF
          EdF
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          #6
          For a boneless leg, I'd do something like:

          Dry brine with about half the salt you'd normally use, overnight or so - less is ok. Brush it off if there's any excess left, and put it into the bag naked.
          131F for 18-32 hours, depending on how tender you want it (your estimate sounds like a good target).
          Season, rub and sear. If you're planning on smoking it for bark (2-3 hours), ice/water bath when you pull the bag, then refrigerate overnight first.

          This is largely hypothetical, but based on cooking other things SV.

          Comment


          • doctorak
            doctorak commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Ed. Sounds like a plan. I'm not going to smoke it, not enough time between getting home from work and dinner, so I'll just throw the grill on when I get home and sear it on the GG.

          • EdF
            EdF commented
            Editing a comment
            Be sure to let us know how it turns out!

            BTW, here's another approach that is truly excellent: http://www.greeneggers.com/index.php...=detail&id=891

            Don't know whether its timing requirements will work for you, though.

          • doctorak
            doctorak commented
            Editing a comment
            Wow, that does look delicious. Might have to try that for a party one time when I get the smoker fired up. But for a Jewish holiday dinner I think I'll stick with just some Dolly's rub, and maybe make a balsamic reduction with the purge or something.
        • doctorak
          Charter Member
          • Jul 2015
          • 95
          • Fairfield, CT

          #7
          OK, all done and turned out fantastic. Perfectly cooked all the way through, and the GG really added a nice crust. Procedure is below for anyone trying to replicate, with some comments along the way:

          1) 6 lbs leg meat was butterflied by the butcher ahead of time. I had a little more fat trimming to do, but the way he split it up was actually perfect for SV, since I only own 1 gallon ziplocs and the pieces fit nicely into 3 of them.

          2) I trimmed and salted them Saturday around noon, which was over 24 hours ahead of going into the bath. I used docblonder and EdF 's suggestion of doing 1/4 tsp/lb kosher salt before the bath as a dry brine instead of the normal 1/2 tsp/lb. More on this later. Almost certainly didn't need that much time dry brining (they were only 1-2 inches thick), but this was what was convenient for me since I had family stuff the rest of Saturday afternoon/evening and worked all day Sunday.

          3) They sat in the fridge dry brining until Sunday around 9:15 pm after work, when they went into the bath at 131 degrees. Set the timer for 4 hours. I just put a tad of olive oil in the bag with nothing else. We hadn't done all our shopping so I didn't have any fresh rosemary at the start, but around 1 pm Monday I put a sprig of fresh rosemary in each of the three bags for the rest of the cook.

          4) When I got home at 5:15-ish on Monday, they came out of the bath and sat for around 20-30 minutes at RT, which I highly recommend (or just go all out and do an ice bath to really drop temps). It brought the temps down a bit so that when searing it wouldn't overcook the inside (I could sear and bring the IT all the way back to 131 and still get a good sear).


          5) I did a modified Dolly's paste, using garlic powder instead of the fresh garlic and mustard seed powder instead of the coarser chunks MH calls for in his recipe, out of convenience. Also at this point, prior to searing, I added the remainder of the salt. I HIGHLY recommend using this half pre-SV, half post-SV method of dry brining and seasoning with salt. I've done other meats SV using the older method of 1/2 tsp/lb as a full dry brine and the meat definitely turns out a little blander and needs more salt when serving anyway, so Doc Blonder and EdF were spot on on their recommendation here. The meat was well seasoned both internally and externally.

          6) I seared on my gasser with Grill Grates turned upside down per MH and fzxdoc 's suggestions, which worked out really well. It took around 3-4 minuntes per side to get a good sear, and I like the griddle style for getting that crust all over instead of just along the grooves of the GG. Only downside is that I didn't have the grooves to put some wood chips in for a poor man's quick smoke job, but maybe will try that next time.

          7) They ended up sitting for 20-30 minutes on a plate under some foil while we finished the Seder. I didn't want to slice then have them sit, so I ended up slicing while everyone else had their matzoh ball soup as an appetizer.

          8) Sliced on my cutting board with some simplified board sauce (just EVOO, fresh rosemary, and ground black pepper on the board while slicing).

          9) Served. Everyone was happy with the texture. I personally think that the ~20 hours in the bath, if anything, was almost too much for the 1-2 inch thick butterflied pieces. While certainly super-tender and perfectly cooked, the meat was JUST BEGINNING to border on a little "mealy" texture, and I think any longer in the bath would've resulted in an unappetizing texture. Your methods, and of course your preferences for taste and mouthfeel will obviously vary, but this is me being way too nitpicky and trying to better myself for next time.

          Anyway, I hope this info will help others if they decide to embark on a similar journey for Passover, Easter, or just a random lamb leg roast! Pictures below
          Attached Files

          Comment

          • Thunder77
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 2664
            • Halethorpe, MD
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            #8
            Looks absolutely amazing! Thanks for the great write-up.

            Comment

            • fzxdoc
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              #9
              Wow, that really looks great, doctorak . The color of that meat looks perfect. Thanks for giving us all the details. I for sure am going to remember that 1/2 salt amount dry brine before/after technique that you used. Sounds like the way to go.

              Kathryn

              Comment

              • MrDibS
                Club Member
                • Feb 2017
                • 14

                #10
                Looks delicious. Thanks so much for taking the time to report back on this cook. Very informative post.

                Comment

                • RobertC
                  Club Member
                  • Mar 2017
                  • 150

                  #11
                  doctorak Thanks for the update.

                  I didn't notice a "mealy" texture even though I SV'd for a (slightly) longer period of time. I wonder whether that was because I was cooking a single bone-in piece rather than smaller boned pieces. Hmmm. I suppose one part of a test could be to do smaller boned pieces as you used, bag them separately, and remove them at different durations.

                  Comment


                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Mealy texture happens with lean meats. Grassfed beef tends to get that mealy/powdery mouth feel. I generally bag with a pat of butter, which works nicely.

                  • RobertC
                    RobertC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Does duration matter?

                  • Potkettleblack
                    Potkettleblack commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Not sure. I know lean proteins like a bit of lube. Time obviously matters, but with a full leg, you need the time. With just the sirloin not so much.
                • josht138
                  Charter Member
                  • May 2015
                  • 213
                  • Marietta, GA (Greater Atlanta)
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                  #12
                  Sorry I'm late to the party. We did leg of lamb for our passover seder too!

                  I dry brined for 24 hrs. I went ahead and added the dollys paste to the vacuum sealed bag and used EVOO instead of water for the paste.

                  I SV @131F for about 20 hrs then seared the heck out if it with my trusty SnS. Turned out fantastic.

                  I trimmed off the fat cap ahead of time. The butcher pulled the bone out of this thing perfectly and I didn't even have to tie it up.

                  After slicing I poured the purge back over the meat.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  Comment

                  • doctorak
                    Charter Member
                    • Jul 2015
                    • 95
                    • Fairfield, CT

                    #13
                    Originally posted by josht138 View Post
                    Sorry I'm late to the party. We did leg of lamb for our passover seder too!

                    I dry brined for 24 hrs. I went ahead and added the dollys paste to the vacuum sealed bag and used EVOO instead of water for the paste.

                    I SV @131F for about 20 hrs then seared the heck out if it with my trusty SnS. Turned out fantastic.

                    I trimmed off the fat cap ahead of time. The butcher pulled the bone out of this thing perfectly and I didn't even have to tie it up.

                    After slicing I poured the purge back over the meat.

                    Wow, looks terrific! Presentation looks nicer than mine, too, but unfortunately I don't have big enough ziplocs to fit an intact leg like that. Do you use a vacuum sealer? What does your SV setup for something that large look like?

                    Comment

                    • doctorak
                      Charter Member
                      • Jul 2015
                      • 95
                      • Fairfield, CT

                      #14
                      Also, interesting, you just poured the purge right back on?

                      I had big plans for the purge, threw it in a sautee pan with some balsamic vinegar and tried to reduce it, but with all the excitement I (a) didn't have time to skim off the albumin, so it was a chunky mess, and (b) sort of forgot about it for a bit in the chaos of prepping the lamb and starting the seder. I need to be a little more organized next time (or just dump it back on like you did).

                      Comment

                      • josht138
                        Charter Member
                        • May 2015
                        • 213
                        • Marietta, GA (Greater Atlanta)
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                        #15
                        Yes, I bit ​​​the bullet and bought a vacuum sealer. I love it. Use it for sealing my rubs in jars, freezing meat, and I also bought some of the Tupperware so storing leftovers.

                        I didn't have a ton of purge. Also I put the rub and oil on before the bag so it has a nice flavor. While the meat was resting after the sear, I put it in a fat separator but there was very little that separated.

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