"Lamb rump cap or chump is an extremely underrated cut of meat; it has a great balance of texture and flavour," says Hastie. "Ask your butcher to leave the rump cap intact, with just the skin off, as it's the rich cap of fat that protects and bastes the meat as it cooks. The sweet peppers and the bitter dandelion serve as a simple yet effective accompaniment."
- For barbecuing: seasoned hardwood, preferably grapevines or olive
- 4 lamb rumps (250gm each; or 2 at 500gm each, halved), fat cap on and trimmed to 5mm thick
- 4 small red capsicums (about 150gm each)
- 2 cups (loosely packed) dandelion or chicory
- To serve: extra-virgin olive oil (a green, peppery variety such as picual or leccino)
- 1Burn wood slowly down to smouldering embers and medium heat (see below). Meanwhile, score the fat on top of the rump caps with a sharp knife and bring to room temperature.
- 2Grill capsicum, turning occasionally, until skin is evenly charred (10-12 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel, core and cut into quarters.
- 3Grill lamb rumps, turning occasionally, until charred and a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part reaches 62C and rumps spring back when pressed, with more give towards the middle (15-18 minutes). Season well and set aside in a warm place to rest (8-10 minutes).
- 4Meanwhile, grill peeled capsicum quarters until charred (3-4 minutes). Season to taste.
- 5Grill dandelion until just charred (1 minute) and season with sea salt.
- 6Slice lamb rumps across the grain, divide among plates along with grilled capsicum and dandelion, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
How to prepare wood
- It almost goes without saying, but check the fire restrictions for the day in your area.
- Because they offer better control over airflow, wood-fired ovens are the perfect thing for burning the wood to coals; take care when you're transferring them to your grill or barbecue.
- If you're using a pit, enclose the fire with fire-rated bricks to help retain the heat and to slow the rate of burning.
- If you're using a barbecue, light the fire, close the lid and adjust the vents so the wood doesn't burn too fast. If you happen to have two barbecues, use one for burning the wood and one for grilling.
- Light the fire early - at least 1½ hours before starting cooking. Avoid using fire lighters or treated wood where there can be a residual chemical component. Wood embers burn hotter than the fire itself, so allow the wood to break down to glowing coals with a light-grey coating of ash. Too high a temperature and the subtle elements of the wood become tasteless. Optimal conditions are a slow, smouldering fire.
- Ideally you should use seasoned hardwood (at least 12 months old). Green or unseasoned wood with a high moisture content is harder to light and burns erratically, emitting smoke instead of heat, so it's worth sourcing premium hardwoods from recognised suppliers, such as Blackheath Firewood Company. If you have fruit trees, keep your prunings to use the next year.
- Woods vary in the amount of heat and flavour they produce.
Drink Suggestion: The sweetness of the lamb fat here demands something special that can handle a little chill down to 12 or 13 degrees. Try the Guimaro Mencia Joven 2012, Ribeira Sacra. Drink suggestion by Lok Thornton