Whether it's a block party, family night, or a summery evening with just you and your grill (it's true love), this lamb steak recipe from Andrew Schloss and David Joachim's Fire It Up, featured in our June cooking column, will seriously redefine your idea of throwing a little meat on the grill. It's tough to pick from the 400 recipes listed in Fire It Up, but this is a good one.

Guinness-Brined BBQ Lamb Steaks

Guinness, the Irish stout, gives the brine for these simple barbecued lamb steaks much of its punch. Like most dark beers, Guinness has a bittersweet molasses flavor, which is great with lamb. But the hidden power of a Guinness brine is its alcohol content (about 4 percent). Alcohol accelerates the absorption of flavorful components directly into the protein structure of meat, yielding a steak that not only retains about 10 percent more moisture, but also is able to deliver a hit of seasoning with every bite. The flavors of chipotle chiles and cumin in the brine are reinforced with a smoky rub and a dark, pungent Guinness BBQ sauce. A word of warning: the sauce burns easily, so only brush it on the meat at the very end of grilling. In fact it is more flavorful served as a table sauce, although the steaks do look nice varnished with glaze.



makes 4 servings



  • 2 cups Guinness ale

  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons Smokin’ Rub

  • 3 pounds bone-in lamb leg steaks (see Know-How)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 1/2 cups Guinness BBQ Sauce


Combine the Guinness, salt, sugar, water and 2 tablespoons spice rub in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Drop in the lamb steaks, press out the air, and seal. Refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours.

Light a grill for direct medium-high heat, about 425°F.

Remove the lamb from the brine and pat dry. Discard the brine. Coat the lamb with the oil and season with the rub. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Brush the grill grate and rub with oil. Grill the steaks for about 7 minutes per side for medium-rare (135°F on an instant-read thermometer). Baste with a thin layer of the sauce during the last minute of grilling.

Rest the meat for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the steaks with the remaining sauce on the side.

Keep It Simple



  • Substitute any kind of chile rub or Cajun seasoning for the Smokin’ Rub.

  • Substitute prepared BBQ sauce spiked with a tablespoon of instant powdered espresso for the grilling sauce.

  • Use lamb shoulder chops instead of lamb leg steaks.


Know-How: Making Lamb Steaks


If you can’t find lamb leg steaks, you can get the same cut by slicing a boneless leg of lamb 1/2 inch thick.


Smokin' Rub


best with pork, chicken, turkey, rich fish, shellfish
makes ½ cup


  • 2 tablespoons smoked salt

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, light or dark

  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile

  • 2 tablespoons ground toasted cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Mix everything together. Store in a tightly closed container for up to 1 month.

Guinness BBQ Sauce


best with beef, pork, lamb, game meats
makes about 2 ½ cups


  • 2 cups Guinness ale

  • 1 star anise (optional)

  • 1 cup ketchup

  • ¼ cup dark brown mustard

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper


Boil the Guinness in a saucepan with the star anise (if using) over high heat until reduced by half. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick. Cool and remove the star anise. Store in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Excerpted from Fire It Up: More Than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books (2011). All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.

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