The flavor of this grilled butterflied leg of lamb is amazing!
The overnight herb rub soaks into the meat giving each bite notes of rosemary and garlic and oregano and mint. The fire of the grill chars the meat producing a beautiful crust on the outside while cooking the meat perfectly on the inside. Is it any wonder that grilling lamb using this recipe has become our Easter tradition in recent years?
Last week I talked about my two favorite sorts of holiday roasts – slow and relaxed or quick and needs attention – when I posted my Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder. That one is long and slow and forgiving on the timing, which is great for crowds when you need to be flexible!
This week’s roast is on the other side.
It does need a long, herb rub and that bit is very flexible, at least 8 hours but up to 24 hours is fine as well. Once you are getting ready to eat, though? Get it out on the counter and then out on the grill where it cooks in less than 15 minutes.
I’ve always loved a lamb roast. My mom used to make me one for my birthday every year growing up, and I still make it just about the same way she did when I’m making an oven lamb roast. However, in recent years I’ve grown to love the ease and flavor of grilling up a butterflied leg of lamb. It’s so juicy! All that surface area means the herb rub gets into every bite. Yum!
And it’s fast. Want dinner?
Have dinner. 🙂 No waiting once you’re ready to cook.
How to Make Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb
Debone and butterfly a leg of lamb until it is thin enough to cook quickly. Then coat it with a thick herb rub and let it marinate overnight. When ready to eat, grill the lamb on medium high until done.
- Butterfly the lamb until it lays flat and is fairly thin.
- Make a herb rub full of mint, oregano, thyme, and mustard.
- Coat the lamb with the herb rub.
- Let it marinate overnight.
- Grill the lamb on medium-high until it reaches your desired doneness.
I start by getting a boneless leg of lamb from my grocery store. If you can’t find a boneless leg, many meat departments will debone it for you or you can debone it yourself. It’s not difficult, I just like to skip that step.
Take your boneless leg, and trim off any thick pockets and layers of fat. You want a little fat left, but too much will lead to smoking and flare-ups on the grill.
Then, carefully cut any thicker parts of the lamb so that they open up and lay out flat. You will probably do a combination of cutting parts of the meat parallel to the counter and then opening it up like a book and cutting down into small chunks of meat to allow them to open up.
Once you are happy with the thickness, make the herb rub. I use my Cuisinart food processor to make quick work of mincing all the herbs with the mustard and olive oil.
Spread the herb rub all over the meat on both sides and then into the fridge it goes!
When you are getting ready to eat, take the lamb out of the fridge and let it warm up a bit. Then turn on the grill and give it a good sear before covering the grill and letting cook through. It’ll only take about 12 minutes to cook so be ready with the rest of dinner!
Just look at that lamb! Tender and juicy and perfectly medium rare in the middle and that awesome crust on the outside! I already want to grill up another one because I’m getting hungry. 🙂
Another thing I love about this roast is that when you are butterflying a leg there are going to be some variations in thickness. I prefer my lamb cooked medium and I’m fine with medium well also, while my husband prefers medium rare. (and our daughter is happy with either)
So I keep an eye on the thicker parts and cook them to medium rare while the thinner parts of the roast are cooking to medium. This is not just great for our family, but probably for yours as well. Any group of people is going to have differences of opinion in how rare their meat should be and a butterflied leg can easily accommodate most of those differences.
However, if we’re talking well done to rare, then you may need to cut the roast in half or cook up two!
Not good grilling weather and you want lamb? Try my Slow Roasted Greek Lamb Leg. It cooks in the oven at a low temperature to give you medium/medium-rare lamb all the way through.
What To Do with Leftover Grilled Leg of Lamb
One great choice for leftover lamb is to make a simple sandwich or panini. Use what bread and cheese you have on hand, add some lettuce, tomato, avocados, or whatever you like and there’s a sandwich.
If you want something a little different I have two great recipes for you to try. First, a Leftover Lamb Gyro which is quick and easy to make and full of Greek flavors. Second, a Leftover Lamb Moussaka. Moussaka is a low and slow Greek casserole full of lamb, eggplant, and bechamel. Total comfort food!
If you try my recipe for Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Grilled butterflied leg of lamb is rubbed overnight with a flavorful herb and garlic mixture and then quickly grilled for a great dinner.
- 4 lbs lamb leg, boneless, butterflied, and trimmed of excess fat
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic
- Lay lamb out flat on a tray. Puree all the herb rub ingredients in a food processor. (Alternatively, finely mince the herbs and garlic with a knife and then stir in the rest of the ingredients.) Spread the herb rub evenly over the lamb on both sides. Cover the lamb and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
- About one hour before grilling, take the lamb out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter.
- Heat up the grill. For a gas grill, turn all the burners to high and let it heat for 15 minutes.
- Wipe off most the herb rub from the lamb. Some should still be coating it, but just a thin layer. Turn the grill down to medium high and put the lamb, fat side down, on the grill. Cover and grill for 3-4 minutes, or until well seared. Then turn the lamb over and grill, covered, for about 8 minutes more. Check the temperature and grill for 2 minutes more if needed. For medium rare, the lamb should be 125-130F. When done, let the lamb rest for 10 minutes and then slice.
I usually buy a boneless leg of lamb and butterfly it myself. To butterfly the lamb, open it up to lay it flat and then make a few cuts into the thickest parts of the meat, stopping each cut at about the thickness that you want the meat to be. Don't cut too deep or all the way through. This will flatten out the meat some more so it will cook more evenly. Then trim away excess fat and you're ready for the herb rub.