BBQ’ed Lamb skewers with Balsamic (served on a Pink Piano)

I like to BBQ under two conditions: (1) using charcoal instead of gas and (2) marinating the meat yourself (or by a reputable butcher). Using charcoal makes for a much hotter grill that enables you to cook food with a crispy outside and a juicy inside and a real smoky BBQ flavor. Pre-marinated meat is usually low-quality meat with a marinade that overpowers the taste of the meat.

Pre-cooking the meat sous-vide is not a requirement but certainly a good idea, as it makes for more tender meat, easier BBQ’ing (it is always cooked perfectly as soon as the outside looks OK since it was already cooked anyway) and better food safety.

Below is one of my favorite BBQ recipes that works well with or without sous-vide. The recipe is so good that you won’t need any sauce. It will be great just like that!

Some of the pictures in this post were taken at an actual BBQ party on our boat, so they don’t look as ‘clean’ as usual.


leg of lamb, boneless

pancetta, sliced

garlic, chopped

needles from rosemary sprigs


balsamic vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

aged balsamic vinegar

extra virgin olive oil


Cut the meat into 2-3 cm (1 inch) pieces, trimming most of the fat and other white bits.

Put the meat in a bowl with garlic, rosemary, marsala, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to mix. I never use exact amounts for this, but do what feels right. This means using more marsala than balsamic and not using too much garlic.

If you don’t have sous-vide equipment, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, stirring now and then.

If you do have sous-vide equipment, there is no need to let it marinate and you can just cook it sous-vide straight away. Put the meat with the marinade in a ziploc pouch and remove most of the air by submerging it and sealing tight. Now cook sous-vide for 1 hour at 39C/102F, 1 hour at 49C/120F and 2 hours at 57C/135F. The first two hours are for ‘warm aging‘ the meat and will make it very tender. You can BBQ the meat right after it comes out the sous-vide (let it cool slightly to prevent overcooking) or cool the bag in ice water and refrigerate until the coals are hot.

To grill the meat (either raw from marinade or cooked sous-vide), pat dry with paper towels and place meat on skewers, alternating with pieces of pancetta. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

When meat has been pre-cooked sous-vide, grill as hot as possible until golden. When meat has not been pre-cooked sous-vide, turn often (every 15 seconds or so!) for the best results. The meat will be best when it’s still pink inside, so don’t overcook.

When the meat is done, brush with the best aged balsamic you can afford.

The combination of flavors works really well and if you pre-cooked sous-vide it will be even better because the meat will be amazingly tender.

The pink you saw in the background in the background of the picture with the balsamic brushing is from the pink grand piano that we used as a table to stand around and eat on at the BBQ after the music festival on the river during which I was singing on top of the pink grand piano. Yes, really.

5 thoughts on “BBQ’ed Lamb skewers with Balsamic (served on a Pink Piano)

    1. Pancetta freezes very well, so stock up on it if you can get it and freeze it in individual portions. That’s what I used to do when it was still hard to get overhere (now it’s everywhere).
      You can definitely substitute with bacon, but pancetta has a more interesting taste.


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