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Cook: Grilled Barbecue Lamb Sliders

During this time of year, grilling is the name of the game.  Who doesn’t love an outdoor cookout, surrounded by friends, drink in hand, soaking up the last bit of sunshine on a beautiful Saturday evening?  No one.
So I always feel a little left out this time of year, living in a studio apartment in the middle of a city.  Outdoor space is hard to come by, and in my case is limited to my stoop and sidewalk, neither of which are really conducive to a grill and party.

This is why, when I was contacted by the American Lamb Board  to participate in yet another lamb recipe contest, this time focusing on grilling, I enthusiastically accepted.  I took matters into my own hands and promptly purchased a two-burner grill pan, perfect for indoor grilling.  I would not be left out any longer.  This Summer, we grill!  
I set to develop a recipe, and considering the contest would coincide perfectly with July 4th, thought I’d celebrate America with burgers, homemade Orange-Bourbon Barbecue sauce, and American Lamb.  They’re mini because small food makes you look good.  Trust me.
Sauce, done!
 The final product is a smoky, tangy, crunchy medley of flavors and textures.  The lamb sliders are juicy and flavorful, and the toppings serve as perfect compliments to the lamb.
The barbecue sauce has such a deep and nuanced flavor, too.  The zing from the citrus and vinegar pairs perfectly with the deep, intense flavors of the molasses and honey, but the whole thing is set off by the floral notes of the bourbon, which is subtle but definitely present.  It would be delicious on chicken or ribs in addition to these lamb sliders.
Your Fourth of July cookout, or any Summer barbecue for that matter, needs these lamb sliders.  They’re the perfect combination of flavors and textures, and I promise you that your guests will agree.
Finally, remember back in November when you guys all rocked at voting for me in the American Lamb Pro-Am?  It’s time to do that again!

Voting for the Summer of O-Lamb-pics Grilling Recipe Contest begins TODAY and runs until July 18th.  YOU can cast your vote at!

Here are the recipes!
Grilled Barbecue Lamb Sliders 
  • 1 boneless leg of lamb, coarsely ground*
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Slider rolls
  • Bourbon-Orange Barbecue sauce (see recipe below)
  • Toppings:
  • Fried onion strings, like French’s
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Bourbon-Orange Barbecue Sauce
  • Greens (I used arugula, which I really liked, but you could use whatever greens you like)
*You can buy ground lamb at your super market.  You will need about 1 pound for 8 sliders.
  1. If grinding lamb yourself: Cut lamb into 1-inch pieces, trimming some of the fat as you go.  Chill lamb and grinding attachments in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  When lamb is chilled, follow the instructions that came with your grinder and grind lamb.
  2. Separate enough lamb for the desired about of sliders.  Add seasonings and Worcestershire sauce and mix gently with hands.  Gently form meat into small patties, about 2 inches in diameter.  If you are grilling indoors, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Heat and oil a grill pan or an outdoor grill over medium-high heat.  When the grill is sizzling-hot, add the sliders and let cook for about 4 minutes, or until seared and nicely marked with the grill.  Flip and grill for another 4 minutes.  If working indoors, move sliders to a foil-lined baking sheet and baste with sauce and place cheese on top.  Place in oven for about 10 minutes, until lamb is cooked through and cheese is melted.
  4. Assemble sliders: place slider pattie on split slider roll and top with additional barbecue sauce, greens, and crispy onions.
Bourbon-Orange Barbecue Sauce (adapted loosely from Joy the Baker)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until slightly translucent, about 4 minutes.  Lower heat and add the bourbon.  Let the bourbon reduce for about 4 more minutes.  Increase heat to medium again and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine.  Let mixture come to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Let simmer for at least an hour, until thickened.
  2. Once sauce has reduced and thickened, puree with an immersion blender or regular blender until smooth.  Serve on Grilled Barbecue Lamb Sliders.
Enjoy!  And Vote for me, July 11th, at!

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