Grilled Leg of Lamb

Spicy Lamb
Molly Watson
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Marinating Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
91 Calories
7g Fat
2g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 91
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 600mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 6g
Calcium 11mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 1 butterflied leg of lamb
  • 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse and pat dry the leg of lamb.

  3. 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.

  4. Peel and roughly chop the onion and garlic.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Let the lamb sit out for about an hour to take the chill off before you put it on the grill.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Turn the lamb over and cook it the same way on the other side and also for 20 minutes. The lamb should be well browned and a bit charred in some places.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

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