Slow-cooked hogget shoulder with cumin, smoked paprika and buttermilk dressing

Slow-cooked hogget shoulder with cumin, smoked paprika and buttermilk dressing

By
From
Grill Smoke BBQ
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Kris Kirkham

Still relatively unknown, hogget is the term for a sheep between 12 and 24 months – which makes it quite specific, neither lamb nor mutton. I’ve always sought out hogget, as I think you get the best of both worlds: a stronger, gamier and more intensely flavoured meat with more bite than lamb, but not as in-your-face as mutton.

This dish is a bit of a weekend project, when you have plenty of time to potter about whilst your meat is marinating, and then time for the long, slow cooking that renders it meltingly tender. It’s my kind of cooking.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 2.5-3kg whole hogget or lamb shoulder, bone in
50ml olive oil
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 tablespoons crushed coriander seeds
2 tablespoons ground cumin
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
50ml red wine vinegar
sea salt
black pepper

For the buttermilk dressing

Quantity Ingredient
100ml buttermilk
20ml white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Method

  1. Lay out a large double layer of foil and place the hogget on top. Rub the meat with the olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, then rub all over with the paprika, coriander and cumin. Rub the garlic all over. Drizzle with the vinegar, then wrap up the foil to completely enclose the hogget. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.
  2. Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking. Place the water tray in the direct heat zone and put 2 lumps of wood onto the ashen charcoal to start smoking. Place the meat in the indirect heat zone and close the lid of the barbecue. (The temperature inside the barbecue should be about 180–190°C; regulate with the vents, if needed.) The hogget will take around 4 hours to cook. You need to turn it every hour and, after 2 hours, you’ll need to top up the coals with a fresh batch from the chimney starter and add another lump of wood. Take off the foil for the last hour, to allow the meat to brown and caramelize. The hogget will become incredibly tender and melting: when it can be ‘cut’ with a spoon, it’s ready. To be on the safe side, use the temperature probe to check the internal temperature, which should be around 75°C.
  3. For the buttermilk dressing, simply whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar and garlic and season well.
  4. Rest the hogget in a warm spot for 30 minutes before serving with the buttermilk dressing. I like to serve this ‘pulled’ into shreds using two forks and then wrapped in Potato and honey flatbreads with a crisp green salad and finely sliced red onions.

Note

  • You’ll also need 3 lumps of oak wood, a chimney starter, a water tray and a temperature probe.
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