Grilled Leg of Lamb

Spicy Lamb
Grilled Leg of Lamb. Molly Watson
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 10 to 12 servings

I make no secret of the fact that I love lamb. Love it. Lamb chops, however, are usually too fussy for a crowd and lamb burgers, delicious as they are, are sometimes too casual, too picnic-y. Leg of lamb hits that sweet spot of being relatively affordable for the amount of meat you get and not being burgers. This marinade both tenderizes and adds flavor. Add up to 2 tablespoons of chopped herbs - rosemary, thyme, and mint are good options - if you like. A similar amount of freshly grated ginger adds a nice kick too.

I serve this lamb with radishes and green onions, as pictured, or often with a Mint Chutney that is a decidedly fresh improvement on old-fashioned mint jelly.

What You'll Need

  • 1 butterflied leg of lamb (I have the butcher do it)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It

  1. Rinse and pat dry the leg of lamb. You can trim any particularly large pieces of fat, if you like, but the fire tends to melt those away fairly effectively. Use a sharp knife to make slashes (about 1/2 to 1 inch deep) all over the lamb. Set it aside.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic and put them in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Pulse to puree everything and then whirl to form a smooth paste.
  1. Put the lamb in a baking dish or a large re-sealable plastic bag. Cover with the paste, working it into the slashes you made for extra marinating power. Cover or seal and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. When possible, I like to let it marinate at least overnight, although getting everything the morning you plan to cook it works nicely too.
  2. Let the lamb sit out for about an hour to take the chill off before you put it on the grill.
  3. Heat a grill to medium heat. You should be able to hold your hand about an inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away.
  4. Lay the lamb on the grill. I like to leave as much of the marinade clinging to it as possible, since it cooks up into an onion-y crust that people tend to love. Cover on a gas grill or set the lid on ajar and with the vents half-way open on a charcoal grill and cook for 20 minutes. Turn the lamb over and cook it the same way on the other side and also for 20 minutes.
  5. The lamb should be well browned and a bit charred in some places. Remove from the grill, tent loosely with foil, and let the leg of lamb rest for at least 20 minutes and up to 40 minutes. This is a good time to pull together anything else you're going to serve with it.
  6. Thinly slice the lamb and serve. Note that the ends will be fairly well done and the thicker parts of the butterflied leg will be a medium rare - a bit of something for everyone!
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 91
Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Unsaturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 21 mg
Sodium 600 mg
Carbohydrates 2 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 6 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)