I think just about everybody enjoys grilling and eating meat, and what goes better with grilled meat than grilled vegetables. This combination of meat and vegetables makes a great Paleo inspired meal or a wonderful feast for anyone wanting to consume less carbs and have a fulfilling, satisfying, and flavorful dinner. All conforming to the guidance of the Paleo Diet.

Square Cut Lamb Shoulder Steak

The square cut lamb shoulder steak is a common cut, sometimes called the lamb shoulder blade chop. This cut is rather inexpensive and cooks up quite nicely. The square cut lamb shoulder steak is best cooked on the grill or by pan-frying. Today we will grill.

This cut of lamb shoulder contains a few loosely connected flattish bones originating from the shoulder blade so the steak tends to separate a bit while grilling into discreet muscle groups. This can help with portion control if you desire to eat less than the full steak at one sitting. 

After grilling, the meat is moist and juicy when prepared to a degree of medium rare to medium, has great texture, and has that delectable taste of lamb. The square cut lamb shoulder steak is a great change from everyday grilled beef or pork and a delicious protein source for Paleo grilling.

Square Cut Lamb Shoulder Steak and Grilled Onions

Lamb SteakGrilled onions

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful accompaniment to the juicy rich grilled lamb. The vegetables can be grilled free style or may be skewered to allow for easy flipping. Cherry tomatoes fit nicely on a single skewer. Use either disposable bamboo or reusable flat metal skewers. Flat metal skewers keep items from spinning, but 2 bamboo skewers do the same. Skewer the 6 spears of asparagus together using 2 skewers positioned perpendicular to the asparagus, skewer the sliced onion horizontally so it lays flat on the grill. If you are not a big fan of asparagus or onions, substitute your favorite vegetables, eggplant, summer squash and mushrooms all turn out delectable when grilled. Experiment with your preference.

Skewered Grilled Cherry Tomatoes and Grilled Asparagus

Skewered Grilled Cherry TomatoesGrilled Asparagus FreeStyle

Grilling Tips

Grilling times depend on your individual BBQ grill design and heat intensity. The best way to determine when they are cooked properly is to use an instant read meat thermometer. These thermometers can be purchased for as little as $15 from various sources. Check the grilled steak's internal temperature by inserting the tip of the thermometer into the center of the steak. Medium rare lamb has an internal temperature of 120-125ºF, while medium lamb measures 130-135ºF. However, remove the meat from the grill prior to these target temperatures since you can expect about another 5ºF carryover increase in internal temperature during resting. Resting, or allowing the the grilled meat to sit for a bit before slicing, ensures a nice juicy steak.

The Recipe

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Steak with Grilled Asparagus, Tomato, and Sweet Onion

Ingredients (for one serving)

  • ½ lb square cut lamb shoulder steak (¾ in thick)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh course ground black pepper
  • Canola oil
  • 6 spears young fresh asparagus and 6 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh course ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Gas or charcoal BBQ grill

Remove the defrosted or fresh lamb shoulder steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling, place on a metal rack over a pan to catch any juices released during seasoning. Sprinkle steak on both sides generously with kosher salt and course ground black pepper. Let the steak rest for 30 min to warm up a bit prior to grilling. Why use a rack? This allows the steak surfaces to air dry, allowing for better a surface sear while you  grill. Wet steaks are resistant to a good sear.

Prepare the vegetables. Trim asparagus bottoms by about 0.5 inch to remove the dried out section. This method is better than snapping them since they tend to snap at any location depending on your hand position. Why throw away half your spear? Its best to peel the tough lower potion with a veg peeler about half way up the stalk to remove the tough stringy outer skin. The inside is quite tender. Toss the peeled spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then place on a tray. Peel and slice the sweet onion about ½ in thick, and keep the rings intact. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on the tray with the asparagus. Place cherry tomatoes into a small bowl and toss gently in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place next to the asparagus and onions on the tray.

While the seasoned steak rests, preheat grill on medium high if using gas. Charcoal grills just need a single layer of hot coals since cooking goes fast once grilling starts. Lightly coat the seasoned steaks with canola oil if your grill tends to stick. Grill steaks about 4 minutes total on one side, turning ~45 degrees after about 2 minutes so you get nice crosshatched grill marks. Flip the steak after an additional 2 minutes and repeat the crosshatching procedure. After the initial grill marks are formed, now is the time to check the internal temperature to determine if you have medium rare steak or it needs to cook more. It is okay to flip the steak a few times, if desired, during this phase to get an even grill on both sides. A nice seared crust is delicious.

Meanwhile, or after steaks are done, grill the vegetables. Lay the onion slices carefully on the grill to keep rings intact, the asparagus so that the spears do not fall through the grates, and the cherry tomatoes. If the vegetables are all skewered, this is easy. Grill until veggies are slightly charred and onions are tender but not overly soft. Grilling the vegetables will tenderize the onions, tomatoes and asparagus, while the slight charring substantially enhances the flavors.

Skewered onions

Remove the grilled lamb shoulder steak from the grill and place it on a plate, cover the steak loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 min. The resting period will result in a juicier steak because the juices will redistribute throughout the meat rather than leaking out onto your plate when slicing. Cover the vegetables similarly to keep warm, but there is no need to rest. The grilled vegetables are ready to eat as soon as they come off the grill.

Remove the bones and slice the grilled lamb steak into strips across the grain at a 45 degree angle from the top. This slicing technique is called the bias cut. Serve the sliced steak with your grilled vegetables and enjoy your grilling efforts to produce this delicious Paleo inspired meal. Pair with a glass of your favorite wine or a full bodied beer, if desired.

I think I hear my stomach growling!