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I'm going to roast a leg of lamb. Here is how I plan to cook it:

  1. Cover it with kosher salt
  2. Let is rest in the fridge for two days
  3. Make 10 or 12 slits, and stuff them with garlic sort of like this recipe.
  4. Cook

Would there be any benefit to putting the garlic into the lamb before it rests in the fridge? My goal is to make it tasty. Will the garlic flavor maybe infuse better somehow?

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  • 1
    Why would you not experiment? Cook three legs, one with garlic added before the cooking starts, one near the end and one mid-time. Which one best suits you personally, or your family and guests? Nov 17 '20 at 0:00
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    Why are you covering the lamb with salt? We cook lamb quite often, but I've not heard of this technique being used on lamb (in Australia). It's not "watery", there's no bitterness to adjust, and it already has a relatively strong flavour.
    – Kingsley
    Nov 17 '20 at 1:12
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    @Kingsley I'm not that good of a cook, but I've been following this
    – axsvl77
    Nov 17 '20 at 1:22
  • I've always done the garlic just before roasting it when I've made basque style leg-of-lamb. But I've never tried dry brining it, too.
    – Joe
    Nov 18 '20 at 16:23
  • @Joe It turned out great
    – axsvl77
    Nov 18 '20 at 19:23
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There's no benefit to putting the garlic in as slices from a flavor point of view, it's the cooking that brings the garlic flavor out. I've found that no matter how you do it the garlic flavor pretty much stays with the garlic rather than spreading throughout the meat - you don't get some even garlic hum throughout, instead you get parts with intense garlic flavor, which if you like garlic is a good thing. The only way to get it more even is smaller garlic slices in many more slits, however loads of slits will lead to the meat drying out.

From a food safety point of view cutting the slits and putting garlic in them that long before cooking can introduce bacteria or botulism spores deep inside the meat, and the temperature you cook it to may not be enough to make the food safe. If you use this method it's prudent to wash the outside of the meat, the knife, the garlic and of course your hands before you do it to reduce this risk.

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Your plan seems fine. Cut the slits and insert garlic slices when you take the leg of lamb from the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes or so. Until it reaches room temperature. Sometimes besides garlic, I also cut slits and insert pieces of bacon in the lamb, too. My family loves that roast.

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