Smoked and Braised Lamb Shanks and Smoked Apple Juice

Recipe by Chef Newman Miller. The full Kentucky Fall Meal is featured in the Fall issue of Bourbon+. Story by Steve Coomes. Photography by Anna May.


“‘For the entrée, I want lamb shanks, the tough cuts,’ he said, arms outstretched as if grasping the animal. Instructions for cold smoking the lamb follow quickly: ‘Use barrel bungs, ideally, light them, let them burn briefly, then blow out the fire to create about 90 minutes of billowing, cold smoke.’ Miller swims for exercise, and when he’s turning laps, the creative juices begin flowing. ‘When I’m swimming, I’m eating food mentally.’” –Excerpt from the feature “Newman’s Own Feast” 


Serves 4-6

(1 day out for smoking)

  • 4-6 lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt, to season lamb shanks
  • 4 red apples, halved
  • 1 pound of whiskey barrel bungs or other dried wood
  • Lamb Braise, recipe following


  1. In a common home smoker, place seasoned lamb shanks on one side of the cooking area and halved apples on the other. Close off cooking area.

  2. Create cold smoke by adding bungs or other wood to the fire box. Using a propane torch, light wood, allow it to flame for 2 minutes, then blow out or smother flames. Resulting smoke should billow for about 20 minutes before relighting and extinguishing is required. The goal is to smoke apples and lamb for 90 minutes.

  3.  Once smoked, move lamb to a medium-to-large baking dish that’s 4 inches deep. (If you don’t have one, two 4-inch-deep by 10 x 12-inch disposable aluminum pans stacked together will do fine.) If not serving the lamb that day, refrigerate until the next day.
  4. Remove apples from smoker and place in a juicer or blender and reduce to a pulp. Then, using a strainer and funnel, pour into a squeeze bottle or glass jar, and save for the Owensboro Sour Cocktail (recipe below).


(On finishing day)

  • 1 tablespoon Savory Spice Mixture, recipe following
  • 2 cans of ginger soda (preferably Ale-8)
  • 3 ounces bourbon (low proof is fine)
  • 6 ounces of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and blend all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Pour mixture over lamb in baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake 3 hours.
  3. Pour braising liquid into small pot, heat to simmering and reduce liquid to a slightly thickened sauce. Using a spoon, skim off fat as liquid reduces.
  4. Reserve sauce until the entire dish is ready to serve.


(2 days out)

  • ½ tablespoon ground cloves
  • ½ tablespoon ground allspice
  • ½ tablespoon ground nutmeg
  1. Mix all three spices together and set aside for later use.



If you are presenting this as the entire meal: In large single-serving bowls, place four Savory Chicory and Country Ham salads and garnish with onion rings. Cut four servings of hot Boulangerie Potatoes Au Gratin, and place beside the salads.

Place one lamb shank into each bowl and ladle enough sauce over top to wet lamb and leave sauce to blend with salad. Serve freshly shaken Owensboro Sour Cocktail with entrée.

Michael Eman
Official Contributor
Kevin Gibson is a free-lance writer who writes for numerous publications, including Bourbon+ magazine, Thrillist, and Alcohol Professor.