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Trini-Style Barbecue Lamb

Trini-Style Barbecue Lamb

This street-food staple in Trinidad and Tobago is commonly served with french fries and topped with an array of sauces, including barbecue, Trini-style garlic aioli, pepper sauce, and chadon beni (culantro sauce).


  • 5 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 6 (12-ounce) lamb shoulder blade chops (1 inch thick)
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 culantro leaves (see Note) or 5 cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
Barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups bottled sweet barbecue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • 1/2 cup Mexican-style lager beer (such as Corona)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh culantro or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated and peeled
Additional ingredients
  • Oak wood chunks
  • French fries, for serving


Make the lamb
  1. Stir together 2 cups water and lime juice in a large bowl. Add lamb, and gently rub to wash. Drain well, and pat lamb dry using paper towels. Set lamb aside.
  2. Process onion, 1 tablespoon salt, ginger, thyme, pepper, culantro, garlic, and bay leaves in a food processor until smooth, about 45 seconds. Place lamb in a large bowl, and pour marinade over top, tossing to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours (preferably overnight).
Make the barbecue sauce
  1. Stir together barbecue sauce, beer, culantro, sugar, and ginger in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium. Boil, stirring often, until flavors meld and sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Open bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light charcoal chimney starter filled with charcoal. When charcoal is covered with gray ash, pour it onto bottom grate of grill. Scatter 3 to 4 oak wood chunks over top of hot coals. Cover and adjust vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 350°F. Stir together remaining 3 cups water and remaining 1 tablespoon salt in a disposable 16- x 13-inch aluminum pan. Arrange lamb (with marinade) in a single layer in pan. Top with a piece of parchment paper, pressing directly onto surface of lamb.
  3. Transfer pan with lamb to grill; grill, covered, until lamb is fork-tender and meat is beginning to come off the bone, about 2 hours, flipping lamb once halfway through grilling time.
  4. Remove pan with lamb from grill. Replenish charcoal and add additional wood chunks to grill to increase temperature to 400°F to 450°F. Remove lamb from braising liquid; discard braising liquid.
  5. Brush lamb evenly with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce; place on oiled grate. Grill, uncovered, flipping occasionally and brushing with an additional 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, until lamb is glazed and lightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve lamb with french fries and remaining barbecue sauce.

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