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Buttermilk-brined lamb shoulder with harissa

Buttermilk-brined lamb shoulder with harissa recipe - For the buttermilk brine, place salt and 600ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until salt dissolves.

By Dave Pynt
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 5 hrs cooking plus brining, preparing embers, resting
  • Serves 8 - 10
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Buttermilk-brined lamb shoulder with harissa
"The lamb is first grilled until it's well browned, then it's wrapped in paper with shallots and grilled until it's cooked," says Dave Pynt. "Be careful taking it out of the paper - you want to reserve the juices for serving and for the pea salad."
Begin this recipe two and half days ahead to brine lamb.


  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, bone in
  • 10 golden shallots, peeled
Buttermilk brine
  • 50 gm sea salt
  • 1.2 litres buttermilk
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 3 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 500 gm long green chillies, seeds removed (optional), coarsely chopped
  • 100 gm coarsely chopped coriander (2 cups)
  • 50 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 1
    For the buttermilk brine, place salt and 600ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until salt dissolves. Cool, then stir in buttermilk and lemon juice, place in a large container and refrigerate to chill (20-30 minutes). Add the lamb shoulder and refrigerate for 1½ days, turning occasionally. Remove lamb from brine (discard brine), then refrigerate lamb uncovered overnight to dry out.
  • 2
    For the harissa, dry-roast seeds and peppercorns until fragrant (10-20 seconds). Crush, then combine with remaining ingredients in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.
  • 3
    For the barbecue, burn wood down to embers. Gently grill lamb on a rack over coals, turning often, topping up embers as necessary and ensuring the lamb’s surface temperature doesn’t exceed 105°C, until well browned (2-2½ hours).
  • 4
    Remove lamb from barbecue and place on a double layer of baking paper with shallots. Brush with harissa and wrap to enclose tightly. Grill, turning occasionally, until lamb and shallots are tender (2½-3 hours; try not to open the paper often). Remove lamb from barbecue, keep it well wrapped, and rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Reserve the juices when you unwrap the parcel and serve spooned over the lamb (reserve the shallots and remaining juices for the pea salad).


Drink Suggestion: A pinot noir or gamay with a good amount of weight Drink suggestion by Andrew Cameron

  • Author: Dave Pynt