Barbecuing. For some reason, it’s long been a mystery to me.
As any witness to my “Great Chicken Leg Disaster” of 2011 can attest, this cooking style is not exactly my forte. Having accepted this fate, I’ve basically left the grilling arts to the experts ever since. Well, at least until a few days ago, when I enlisted a good friend/barbecue consultant to help me tackle the above project.
During recent travels, I’ve become re-acquainted with Abruzzo’s proud tradition of Arrosticini – succulent, miniature lamb kabobs, grilled over coal. Simple, delicious. Just good cuts of meat carved into dainty little cubes, threaded onto skewers, and dressed with olive oil and salt. That’s all, folks. This is old-school Italian mountain shepherd food, and if you try to fancy it up, it will become something else.
2 lbs. Lamb (if you dislike Lamb, try using London Broil)
Salt (Pink Himalayan worked well here)
Cut the meat into ½ inch cubes. This is actually quite a bit of cutting. Try to enlist help for this part, because even though it’s worth it, your patience – and your knife technique – will be tested. Thread the pieces onto wooden skewers (for about 1/3 of the length of the stick) and brush with olive oil. Try to alternate leaner pieces of meat with fattier ones, or with actual pieces of fat. Calm down, most of it will melt away
Grill the meat over a moderate coal flame, turning and checking them almost continually by twirling the skewers, sort of like a fiery game of fusball. In fact, recruiting a second player at this stage also makes a lot of sense, in case the meat cooks quicker than you anticipate and you need to emergency evacuate the skewers. These festivities will go on five minutes *tops.* So, be ready to move fast, and for God’s sake, do not overcook them.
Remove the little lovelies from the flame, season with salt and stand them up next to each other in a deep bowl lined with aluminum foil that you can wrap around the skewers. This way they’ll stay all cozy and warm until you’re ready to have at them.
Serve with grilled bread brushed with olive oil and/or roasted potatoes. Best enjoyed with Montepulciano D’Abruzzo and Gassosa, but Captain Lawrence Freshchester also proved mighty tasty. Serves 4.