The Aussie summer is BBQ season. Any opportunity to hit the lake, sea or bush with friends, family, and food for a frolicking good time. Along with the gathering of souls for good times, second comes the food and the beverages. A simple bbq when I was a kid consisted of snags in bread, with caramelised beer onions if dad was feeling really fancy and if it were a super big bbq, a can of fanta. Man, I hated sausages as a kid, I truly loathed them. I also really disliked butter on anything. Shudder. How times have changed. Nowadays, the sausages are gourmet, the bread is fat white splodgy bread rolls and the onions; balsamic and brown sugar, cooked down on the bbq for days.
But, if I’m really trying to impress my nearest and dearest at a bbq, its lamb. Specifically, a butterflied leg of lamb. The simplest of ingredients used to flavour the meat, a good hot cooking temp on the bbq and a decent rest in its ruby juices, produces something that begs to be made over and over again. Lamb is usually a pretty expensive piece of meat, but a little goes a long way, so splash out this summer and treat yourself to a lamb roast on the bbq. Now, to the wine…
I’ve recently teamed up with local Canberra winery, Quarry Hill, to do a little food and wine matching, starting with their delicious Tempranillo. Russell, winery manager, sat down with me to chat about their 2015 Tempranillo, telling me just how good this red is, totally versatile, both off the shelf and as a chilled red for summer. Say what? I’m a huge sparkling shiraz drinker over the Christmas festive season, and I can drink rosé till the cows come home to roost, but a chilled Tempranillo? I wasn’t too sure. The wine has medium acidity and tannins, big cherry notes and is really fruit driven, fresh as a daisy but a huge bang for your red buck. This Spanish wine lends itself perfectly to the Canberra cool climate wine region, as it needs cool temps to bring out the acidity and elegance of balance and hotter temps to bring out the thick skin, deep colour and develop the sugars. Canberra certainly fits the weather bill.
Not one to shy away from a good winey adventure I threw a bottle in the fridge on my recent trip to the coast and opened her up with just a few choice cuts of charcuterie. Wow, is all I can say. Actually, you know me, that’s not the case at all, I’ve pretty much managed to tell everyone I know who drinks wine that this is a fabulous chilled red wine.
I’m totally converted to chilled Tempranillo when there is something charred, gamey, and deliciously meaty going on in front of me. Or just because the heat strikes and the Tempranillo talks.
What are you eating on one of the biggest days of the bbq calendar, Australia Day? It’ll be a herb and garlic butterflied leg of lamb on the barbie and a cold bottle of Quarry Hill Tempranillo at our party.
1 – 2kg butterflied leg of lamb
1/4c extra virgin olive oil
a bunch of herbs – I picked rosemary and oregano – whatever you happen to have handy
5 garlic cloves
1 lemon, zested, half of it juiced
big pinch of smoked salt – don’t worry if you don’t have smoked salt, sea salt is perfectly fine – I don’t pepper my meat if it’s going to be bbq’d for more than 10 minutes as I find it becomes too acrid. Instead I will pepper it on resting.
Chop the herbs and garlic finely, add to the EVOO, with the smoked salt and lemon juice. Liberally rub this all over the lamb and sit in the fridge to marinate for as long as you’ve got the time and the patience. Bring the lamb out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to it going on the bbq to get rid of the fridge chill.
Have your bbq grill heated to hot and high and whack on the lamb, fat side down for at least 10 minutes to get a good char going. Turn down to a medium heat, close the lid of the bbq and go get a chilled glass of Quarry Hill Tempranillo.
For doneness the below is a guide whilst bbq’ing at a medium temp. Invest in a meat thermometer, they’re not expensive and are brilliant at letting you know when it’s cooked to perfection, a total meatsaver if you’re like me and hopeless at knowing when it’s done.
- Rare: 20-25 mins per 500g
- Medium: 25-30 mins per 500g
- Well done: 30-35 mins per 500g
Take the lamb off the bbq and make sure you rest it for at least half the time it took to cook. Bbq’d meats are best eaten a little warm and rested so all the juices can flow back into the centre for perfect pinkness. Serve with a simple green salad and boiled potatoes in butter and chives.
This really is a spectacular pairing, chilled Tempranillo and bbq lamb or beef, sausages, chicken, turkey, tofu steaks, whatever, as long as there are burnt edges and caramelised goodness, you won’t find a better food and wine match for your endless summer days of bbq’s.
*This is a Sponsored Post; all views and opinions remain that of the author. All Recipes and pictures included remain the Intellectual Property of the author and Quarry Hill.