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Mar 14, 2014 04:42 PM

To Salt overnight, or not...

Hi all. I am preparing one of my all time faves for dinner tomorrow night: Leg of Lamb (tho I haven't had one in better than 10 years). I drove 42 miles each way to go to a fabulous butcher shop to buy 1/2 of a lamb, having had them pull the leg and wrap it separately. I pulled up a Martha Stewart recipe for bone-in LOL. Her recipe says to marinate the leg in various spices, salt, pepper and lemon between 8 and 24 hrs. When I used to make LOL, I'd season it with S&P, garlic powder (after inserting slivers of garlic all over the leg) and Italian Seasoning, then place it in the oven and roast for the required time. My Q: If I salt & season it, then marinate it overnight & most of tomorrow in the fridge, will the salt pull too much moisture out of the lamb??
Anyone got some advice??

Thanx, PAT

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  1. Like ANY brining of meat, be it wet or dry, the salt will first pull water out of the lamb, which then will suck it back up, including the dissolved salt, to equalize the salt concentration inside and outside the meat. That's the whole reason for brines/rubs. If you don't trust the concept, don't do it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      'Ppreciate it. It's not about trust, exactly. . . or maybe it is. On the other hand, after lo these many years, having prepared certain things the same way - it's kind of teaching an old dog new tricks, so to speak. Oh bah - I'll give it a shot and see what happens. And the old dog will have learned a new trick!

    2. No, salting meat for even days is a standard practice. It's referred to as "dry brining" and will probably enhance the lamb.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fldhkybnva

        I'll give it a try and see how it goes. Thanx.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          And I'm starting to dry brine my Zuni chicken tomorrow :) To OP, it will go for three days!

        2. My fav leg of lamb recipe is to marinate in spices without the salt Just before roasting, I would place slices of garlic in the small incisions throughout the surface. After that, I would sprinkle corn flour all over. Then salt and pepper it. Roast in high heat 400 - 425 deg. for 10 minutes, then lower to 350 for the rest of the time. This has received raves everytime make it.

          20 Replies
          1. re: roro808

            I find lamb so mild that I stopped the garlic slivers years ago. I find it overwhelms the flavor of the meat.

            What does corn flour (or any flour for that matter) do please?

            1. re: c oliver

              That's interesting. I don't find lamb mild at all. And garlic is fabulous with it IMO

              1. re: magiesmom

                Yes, to me, lamb is too gamey. Hence the garlic and spices in my roast. But if you like gamey meats, then reduce the garlic and the spices. It is all a matter of taste.

                1. re: roro808

                  You may want to think in terms of stronger or different since lamb isn't "game." But I find it mild.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I do too I never understood the gamey description. My favorite prep involves a rub with anchovies and olive oil, usually salt and pepper and maybe herbs but not always.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Do you use anchovy paste? I really like what you do. We were oogling bonesless legs at Costco the other day.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I usually use jarred anchovies but I imagine paste would work as well

                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                        I've never tried anchovies or anchovy paste on a roast. What does it do for the flavor?

                        1. re: caiatransplant

                          It's a big hit of umami, think similar to worcestershire sauce, Maggi seasoning. It doesn't taste fishy at all.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Would it work with other cuts of meat?? Beef, pork, etc.?

                            1. re: caiatransplant

                              Sure, I think it'd be a great marinade for anything. It's also great used as a sauce (e.g. bagna cauda).

                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                          I like to rub with a mixture of garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and marinate for two days .

                            1. re: Bellachefa

                              I 'zest' on my microplane grater so no mincing required.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                I find both styles have their purpose but prefer this style that zests a deeper peel in ribbons that I can mince to my preferred desire to the microplane that grates the surface more shallow. Either way, my point was, don't waste that zest, because it is were the real lemony flavor in cooking works its magic more then just the juice.


                        3. re: c oliver

                          I've never thought lamb was gamey either. It's certainly a different meat taste, but surely not gamey. Also, I've found that garlic slivers (about a dozen slivers for the whole leg), a generous sprinkling of Italian Herbs (dry), S&P and (sorry - from my mother) a good shake of garlic powder and a slab (oh, God, I'm embarrased - also from my mom) of lard on top makes a wonderful roast. These days I use a drizzle of olive oil, rather than the lard, but I still maintain a container of lard in my freezer. Hey, you never know . . .

                          1. re: caiatransplant

                            I keep lard on hand in my fridge. It seems to last forever.

                    2. re: c oliver

                      The cornflour crisps the outer part of the roast, hence the high heat for 10 minutes. If it dries too soon, cover the roast with foil. I do the system when roasting other meats e.g. turkey, beef, or roasting chicken. Of course the degree of roasting is different with every roast.

                  2. I don't salt or include salt in marinades for over night marinating.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: treb

                      I think here we're discussing a dry brine rather than a marinade. I'm currently dry brining a chicken for three days.

                    2. I remember watching a rerun of "You Bet Your Life" with Groucho Marx back in the 70s. One of his male contestants liked to cook as a hobby (great fodder for Groucho in the 50s) and after a good ribbing about wearing an apron, etc. he asked what his specialty was. The contestant gave a recipe for "Leg of Lamb Martini" that called for the leg to be marinated in gin, dry vermouth, crushed juniper berries and peppercorns overnight before roasting. I've been off meat for 30 years but was always intrigued by that recipe I never forgot.