Grilling Greatness: Lamb, Ham, and Spam

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 23, 2017: A man grilling chicken legs at the 2017 Golden Autumn food festival. Artyom Geodakyan/TASS (Photo by Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images)

Are you hosting family and friends for an Easter dinner? Here are three items to please your guests. Two meats you’re familiar with; lamb and ham. We’re also introducing a new menu item to try out that will bring lots of conversation to the dinner table: Spam sliders.

Lamb, Ham, and Spam

Millions of people around the world celebrate Easter each year. If you’re someone who celebrates by hosting a dinner for your family and friends, here’s a unique way to bring a delicious dinner to your guests. Lamb, ham, and Spam will become popular items when featured at your dinner gatherings. There are many ways to prepare these for your guests, but by far the most delicious way is to prepare them on your grill. Charcoal grills are preferable, but gas grills work as well.

We’re adding a familiar name to this grilling conversation: Spam. Yes, that Spam. That canned meat product that many people had as a child, and some as adults. To most it’s an oddity that brings dread and comments like “I would never eat Spam.” To those naysayers only one thing can be said, “Try it grilled as a Spam Slider, you’ll be amazed.” It took several attempts to convince guests at a tailgate party to take that chance several years ago. They were cajoled, prodded, and finally gave in to peer pressure and tried a bite. None of them could believe their taste buds. Many were taken back to their youth when they were forced to eat Spam by their parents. Many had never experienced Spam in any form, ever. Yet all of them agreed that Spam Sliders were incredible.

Grilled Lamb

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb
  • Olive Oil
  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • I head of garlic

Take your leg of lamb and rinse it in water, then dry it with paper towels. Open the head of garlic and remove all the cloves. Take each clove and gently smash them with the side of a knife blade. After removing the entire outer coverings, you will have 10-15 cloves of fresh garlic ready to use. Take a sharp knife and cut one inch deep slits into the leg of lamb equal to the number of garlic cloves. Spread these cuts out all over the leg of lamb. Next, take each clove of garlic and push them into the slits so that they’re all deep inside the meat. Give the leg of lamb a rub of olive oil, and then season with the Lawry’s, black pepper, and Rosemary.

Grill Time

Take your grill and set up two piles of 25 charcoal briquettes on opposite sides of the grill. You’ll be grilling the leg of lamb indirect in the middle of the grill. Once the charcoal is at that “perfect grey” stage, place your lamb in the middle of your grill. Close the lid and be sure to leave the vent over one end of the leg.

Check the lamb after an hour to see how the coals are doing. Turn the lid around so that the vent is over the other end of the leg. After another hour, check the thickest part of the leg with a meat thermometer. Your target temperature is 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit. If your lamb is below 160 degrees Fahrenheit, add 10-15 more coals to each side and let them catch and turn grey. Close your grill, leaving the vent over the thickest part of the leg. After 45 minutes, recheck the temperature. If you’re still under 160 degrees, close the grill and allow another 30 minutes. Preparing leg of lamb on the grill can take 2-3.5 hours, so be patient.

After reaching the 160-170 degrees range, remove your leg of lamb and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Use a sharp carving knife to slice your lamb and serve with your favorite sides like potatoes au gratin or wild rice.

Grilled Ham

Ingredients

  • 1 ham (butt or shank portion)
  • I can of pineapple slices (reserve the juice)
  • Cloves (optional)
  • Mustard (optional)
  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • 6 ounces 7 Up or Sprite
  • Wood Toothpicks

Take your ham out of the wrapper. Using a sharp knife cut ½ inch deep crossing slices across the top of the ham. Squirt some of the mustard and rub it all over the ham. (optional) Take the cloves and place one in each crossing intersection of the slits on top of the ham. (optional) Season the ham with the Lawry’s and pepper. Sprinkle the brown sugar across the top of the ham. Take the pineapple slices and secure them to the top of the ham with the toothpicks. Drizzle honey across the top of the ham and add more brown sugar. Pour the reserved pineapple juice into a large cup; add in two tablespoons of honey and brown sugar. Mix well, then add in the 7 Up or Sprite. This will make a delicious drizzle for the ham as it cooks.

Grill Time

Grill the ham indirect like the leg of lamb using around 20 coals on opposite sides of your grill. After your charcoal is that perfect grey, place the ham in the center of your grill with the vent to one side of the ham. The ham should take around 2-2.5 hours to be warmed thoroughly. Unlike the lamb, the ham doesn’t have to be cooked. Every 20-30 minutes, take your reserved liquid and drizzle it over the top and front of the ham. This will help keep the exterior moist.

Remove the ham from the grill and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Carve up the ham and serve with your favorites like sweet potatoes, macaroni salad, baked beans, or potato salad.

Spam Sliders

Last but not least are the grilled Spam Sliders, which make a great appetizer. They are easy to make and will definitely be a big part of the conversation at your gathering. You will hear many comments from your guests when you offer up the Spam Sliders, most of which are not fit to print. Before we get into the Spam Slider process, check out these “Spam facts” from Dan Myers of the Daily Meal:

“When it comes to Spam you either love it or you hate it, and it’s actually one of the more fascinating food products out there, with a long, wild history. We’ve assembled 11 facts that you probably didn’t know about this legendary lunchmeat…”

Ingredients

  • 2-3 cans of Spam, any variety
  • 18 Hawaiian Rolls
  • Your favorite cheeses with bold flavor: Pepper-Jack, Swiss, Horseradish, Manchego, Gouda, etc.

The first step is to light your grill with 20-25 charcoal briquettes in the center. As the charcoal is getting ready, remove the Spam from the cans. Slice each Spam loaf into five to six one inch thick slices. Have the cheese cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces that are large enough to cover the Spam. Once the coals reach the perfect grey, spread them out to cover the bottom of the grill. Grill your Spam slices for about 4-5 minutes on each side, adding the cheese to the Sliders once both sides are browned evenly. Cut open the Hawaiian rolls and place the Spam Sliders onto the rolls.

It may take many attempts to get your scared guests to take a bite. Cutting a Slider or two into quarters will help convince most of them because of the petite portions. After serving the Sliders to your guests, watch closely as their faces go from trepidation, to relief, and then to a big smile. Spam Sliders will be the hit of your grill party!

These three grilled items are all delicious ways to impress your guests. Grill one or all three if you have a large crowd. Good luck with your dinner and getting your guests to sample the Spam Sliders. They will be amazed once they try them!

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