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Grilled Butterflied Lamb recipe

Grilled Butterflied Lamb recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Lamb
  • Cuts of lamb
  • Leg of lamb

This is a great alternative to the classic barbecue fayre. It's simple and utterly delicious.

68 people made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 150ml lemon juice
  • 110g dark brown soft sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (1.25cm) piece fresh root ginger, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (2.25kg) leg of lamb, butterflied

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:50min ›Extra time:8hr marinating › Ready in:9hr5min

  1. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, dark brown soft sugar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. Place the lamb in a shallow container. Pour the lemon juice mixture over the lamb. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat barbecue for medium heat. Drain marinade and bring to the boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.
  3. Lightly oil the barbecue cooking grate. Over indirect heat, grill the lamb 40 to 50 minutes, turning to cook all sides, to a minimum internal temperature of 63 degrees C. Cool, slice and cover with the thickened marinade mixture to serve.

BBQ tips

Check out our BBQ how-to guides and videos for easy tips on how to BBQ to perfection!

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(77)

Reviews in English (69)

beautiful. cooked it on the bbq wrapped in foil and it fell off the bone.-19 Jun 2014

by Smokin Mike

I am an avowed lamb lover, but my family is not. I convinced my wife to try a lamb dish one more time, and went hunting for a recipe that *hopefully* would be palatable to both of us. Not only was I extremely happy with the flavor, but my wife said that it was wonderful! This dish truly has a gourmet flavor, and will likely please those who don't ordinarily like the taste of lamb.-07 Mar 2005


This is truly a great recipe. I wasn't so sure it was going to taste so good when I was combining the ingredients, but the results were absolutely wonderful. I wouldn't change a thing. We've already made it three times.-06 Aug 2004

Butterflied Leg of Lamb Recipe | Grilling

Between brisket and the forthcoming turkey, I was able to get in a nice big leg of lamb, one of my favorite large cuts of meat.

Seemingly designed for the grill, a butterflied leg of lamb comes out perfectly medium-rare exactly when the outside develops a nice crust over medium-high heat. In addition to the easy cooking technique, this leg of lamb has a smooth lamby flavor with just the right amount of chew, making every bite a pleasure.

It's hard to improve on something already so good, but add mint to the equation and you're talking some seriously, seriously delicious eats. The two come together here as part of a tahini and lemon based marinade, which added a minty tang to the crust, only heightening this leg of lamb into one of the best pieces of meat to come off my grill this year.

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Butterflied Leg of Lamb

A butterflied leg of lamb is a boned leg of lamb that has been opened and flattened to make a roast with a uniform thickness, a process that is best done by a butcher. But the result is worth the effort, for this is a cut of lamb that is also delicious grilled over hot coals.


  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 6 to 7 pounds leg of lamb, trimmed, boned, and butterflied (yielding about 5 pounds of meat)


Grind the garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary together with a mortar and pestle, and then stir in the olive oil to make a smooth marinade, or blend the ingredients together in a food processor.

Put the lamb in a shallow dish large enough to hold it and pour in marinade, making sure all the meat is well covered. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the meat to marinate for 2 to 3 hours, or longer.

Preheat the broiler. Remove the lamb from the marinade, and lay it on the broiler rack with the cut side up. Broil 6 inches from the heat for approximately 15 to 18 minutes, depending on the thickness. Brush the surface with the marinade, turn the lamb with tongs, and broil fat side up for 16 minutes. Before the end of the cooking time remove the lamb from the broiler and insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part. It should register 135°F for rare, 140°F for medium rare.

Transfer the lamb to a hot platter or carving board, fat side down, and allow to stand for at least 5 minutes before carving. Carve slices crosswise on the diagonal, from 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.

Roasted Butterflied Leg of Lamb

A leg of lamb is always a great cut to serve for a special meal. While it's usually cooked bone-in, a boneless leg of lamb is easier and faster to cook and equally succulent and juicy. By asking your butcher to "butterfly" the leg, the resulting cut is a boneless piece of lamb that can be cooked flat or rolled up. Sweet and gamey, our recipe brings you beautifully cooked, tender lamb with a crusty and delicious outer layer.

Some recipes for a butterflied leg of lamb secure the meat with long skewers or kitchen twine, but we found that cooking the meat as-is also produces a lovely result without the extra work. If you decide to secure the meat, run 2 long metal skewers lengthwise and 2 crosswise, or roll and tie the meat at 1 1/2 inch intervals. This recipe makes spectacular leftovers for sandwiches, salads, shepherd's pie, or stuffed pitas.

A fragrant marinade of mustard, herbs, and garlic flavors the meat. The result is a tender lamb that you can pair with side dishes of your choice. We recommend simple accompaniments like roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and mint sauce. It is up to you to add other ingredients to the roasting pan: sliced carrots, potatoes, zucchini, leeks, peppers, and eggplants can add to the flavor of the meat and be your side dish. Simply drizzle olive oil on the vegetables of your choice and season with salt and pepper.

Hunka – Hunka Burnin Love!

Today we’re dishin Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamband you don’t want to miss a thing! I must share with you my recent experience opening my refrigerator door and what I found waiting for me. There he was, the “hunk” of my dreams. Such rapture! I had been musing about just this moment, and the anticipation was almost more than I could stand. Overjoyed and ever so slightly blushing, I uttered, “Well, hello, Lover!” Looking back at me was the most handsome, tanned specimen of musculature with a come hither stare. Heart fluttering, I thought perhaps it could be one of those Steven Tyler moments. Ahhh – Sweet Emotion. Would I have my way with him, or would I fold like a cheap suit? I was in trouble now. Whatever, shall I do, Scarlett? Suddenly I knew. No Love in an Elevator necessary. I threw this “Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love” down on a cutting board and went after him with a blade!

Whoa! Before you think you hit the wrong key or received a “naughty” email – Relax! Now you know I am passionate about food, but you probably weren’t expecting my fervor to reach this level. Think again. This is more than just another pretty piece of meat. I am crazy about this dish.

OK – down girl! Take a breath. Get it together, and let’s talk about this amazing lamb preparation. Walk This Way

Tradition: Traditionally found at the Italian Easter table, Leg of Lamb has been the “go-to guy” for many Italian families throughout the years. We always had Roasted Leg of Lambat the Calabrisi Easter feast — unless, of course, we were having goat. However, that is a story for another day. The lamb was always very young, milk fed, the most tender. It was thought that once the little critters started eating grass, it affected the flavor of the meat – negatively. The classic preparation is “al forno” or roasted, with garlic, olive oil, and rosemary. Lamb is so tender and tasty – much more so than beef or pork loin. The lamb leg used to be difficult to get and had to be specially ordered in advance. However, now with the introduction of the delicious Australian and New Zealand lamb, it is usually found in good supply. It is not to be confused with mutton or older meat which has a stronger and not altogether pleasant flavor in my estimation.

To Butterfly or not to Butterfly: Of course, there is the traditional preparation of the Leg of Lambwith bone-in, found either whole or in halves, and roasted in the oven. However, my favorite way to make it is butterflied, marinated, and grilled. Butterflies involved. No, not the fluttering type. The term “butterflied” refers to the way the meat is cut. The bone is removed and the meat is “opened up” almost like a steak. Haven’t seen one of these at your grocer recently? Uh – you probably won’t. No worries! All you have to do is find a nice leg of lamb, boneless or bone-in, at your grocer. Then present it to your butcher or “guy behind the counter” and ask HIM to take the bone out and butterfly it for you. While you’re at it, ask him to trim the fat a little for you as well. You’ll want some fat left on it, but a little trim is nice. Easy enough!

Serving: The great thing about this beautiful way of serving Leg of Lamb is that it is not just for Easter anymore. It makes a great “anytime” grilled meat entrée served, of course, On the Patio. It is easy to make and serve – and it is always the center of attention. It is flavorful and melts in your mouth. I have to say, that it is soooo much tastier than a grilled steak. You’ll find that it feeds a crowd, and you can build so many side dishes around it. Wait – so maybe you won’t want to feed the crowd once you taste it and find that it is so delicious. For those of you who do not share well, this dish is GREAT leftover and cold. It makes delectable sandwiches the next day or days.

How easy is it: When I said easy – I meant it. I bone and butterfly my own, as my dad, Attilio, taught me how to do it years ago. You can leave your “butterflying” to your butcher. First, you’ll cut little slits in the meat and insert fresh garlic slices. No technique or surgery required – just slit and insert. Next, you make a scrumptious marinade in one bowl. Pour it on your meat, and let it sit overnight. Grill and you are DONE! You will then be crowned King or Queen of the day as everyone will be thanking you.

Now where is my olive oil…


Prep:10 minutes

Cook:30-35 minutes

Serves: up to about 8


5-6 lb Leg of Lamb – boned and butterflied – fat trimmed

4 fresh cloves garlic – slice thinly

3 additional fresh garlic cloves – chopped finely

1/2 c. Country Dijon Mustard

1/2 c. red wine (Cabernet is good here)

Juice of 1/2 of a Fresh Lemon

2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary – chopped

1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves – chopped

1 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley – chopped (Italian Flat Leaf always preferable)

2 Tsp. Fresh Mint Leaves – chopped

1 Tsp Kosher Salt (or to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper – to taste


Cut small slits in both sides of the lamb and slip a slice of garlic in each slit. Set meat aside.

Make the marinade by putting all remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk well so all are incorporated. The result will be a beautiful deep raspberry colored marinade.

Put 1/2 the marinade in a large baking dish.

Place the lamb into the dish.

Pour the remaining marinade over the top of the lamb.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day take the meat out of the refrigerator and let sit out on the counter about an hour before grilling to bring down to room temperature.

Fire up the grill to very hot and place the lamb on the grill.

Sear both sides on high heat 3-4 minutes. You might even want to close the cover to do this. Then lower your heat and let each side cook about 15 minutes. If using a charcoal grill, just move the meat to a part of the grill that is getting less intense heat. Now, this cook time will vary depending upon how hot your grill is – how thick your meat is – how done you prefer it. So, be vigilant, and keep an eye on this little fella. When ready, it should be pink in the middle. Lamb is best served medium rare to rare. To overcook it or dry it out is a waste of great lamb in my book. Hockey pucks are best kept on the ice and not served to your guests. Some thinner parts of the lamb will cook faster and be more done. You’ll see from the photos that I like my lamb on the rare side. My best advice here is to watch the meat, and be the judge according to how you like it. If you use a meat thermometer – 140 is a good gauge.

The next step is VERY IMPORTANT! After removing the meat from the grill, let it rest for 15 minutes. It will continue to cook a little during this time and should be just perfect after resting. After this little nap, you can then slice it. This process will keep the meat moist as it retains the juices.

Slice the meat against the grain, and garnish with Fresh Basil or Fresh Mint if you like. Drizzle with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I especially like Olio Carli Extra Virgin Olive Oil . The flavor is sweet and memorable.

Vino: As for wine pairing: I like a good Cabernet Sauvignon with the lamb. You might also like a Barbaresco. I like the fuller bodied reds with my lamb. I know that some recommend something lighter with milk-fed lamb or spring lamb like Zinfandel or Pinot Noir, but they are a little light for my taste here. It is always a preference and personal. But…No Surprise – You really can’t go wrong with a nice Cab!

So, share my excitement. Fire up that grill, uncork a good one, and you won’t be Cryin! Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb –what a great presentation!


3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

12 grindings of black pepper

1 butterflied leg of lamb, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds

Recipe Summary

  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds lamb chops

Mix together the vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and olive oil in a large resealable bag until the salt has dissolved. Add lamb, toss until coated, and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat.

Remove lamb from the marinade and leave any onions on that stick to the meat. Discard any remaining marinade. Wrap the exposed ends of the bones with aluminum foil to keep them from burning. Grill to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. The chops may also be broiled in the oven about 5 minutes per side for medium.

Recipe: Grilled Butterflied Leg Of Lamb Perfect

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Restaurants frequently serve more food than you ought to eat. Several eateries offer parts which can be two to three times bigger compared to proposed dietary guidelines. That encourages you to consume more than you’d at home, adversely affecting your waistline, blood force, and threat of diabetes.

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You can cook Grilled Butterflied Leg Of Lamb using 10 ingredients and 5 steps. Here is how you achieve it.

Ingredients of Grilled Butterflied Leg Of Lamb:

  1. It’s of For the Marinade:.
  2. It’s 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. You need 3 tablespoons of Rosemary (dried, chopped if fresh).
  4. Prepare 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard.
  5. You need 5 Tablespoons of soy sauce.
  6. Prepare 4 of large cloves of garlic,. minced.
  7. It’s 3 tablespoons of grated ginger.
  8. Prepare 1 tablespoon of fresh ground pepper.
  9. It’s 1-2 Tablespoons of Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional).
  10. You need 1 of butterflied leg of lamb, 4-5 lbs.

Grilled Butterflied Leg Of Lamb instructions:

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag that contains the lamb (I usually add them to the still frozen lamb and leave in the fridge for 24 hours, turning the bags occasionally), otherwise, marinade for 6 – 12 hours.
  2. Heat the grill to 500 – 600 degrees F (260 C – 300 C).
  3. Add the lamb, discarding the marinade.
  4. Cook 15-20 minutes for medium rare or more according to how you like the meat. But medium rare – medium is perfect for grilled lamb.
  5. Serve on heated plated..

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  • Ensure every thing is icy in a sealable package or bag.
  • Meat in particular needs to be properly wrapped.
  • Make bread straight from fridge, anti-waste plan urges.
  • Know that such a thing that’s a higher water material, like lettuce, won’t be the same after being icy and then defrosted.
  • Attempt to freeze every thing when at their freshest. Defrost meat thoroughly before preparing, but other items such as for instance bread for toasting may be prepared straight from the freezer.
  • Never refreeze organic meat that’s been freezing and then thawed – you can, nevertheless, freeze grilled meat that was frozen when raw.
  • Make certain the fridge isn’t stuffed so whole that air can not circulate.

Methods for starting out!

Start with fresh, balanced ingredients. Baking sugary sweets such as for example brownies, cakes, and snacks won’t support your health or your waistline. Likewise, introducing a lot of sugar or salt can change a healthier home-cooked food into an harmful one. To ensure your diet are great for you in addition to being tasty, start with healthy elements and quality with herbs rather than sugar or salt.

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Grilled butterflied leg of lamb

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Grilling lamb is more difficult than beef because of its higher fat content. Flareups can also be an issue. This recipe calls for MED grill temperatures.


  1. 1 Combine all ingredients in a blender and make a smooth paste.
  1. 1 Rub paste into the lamb.
  2. 2 Place in a glass dish and let sit about 5 hours (4 1/4 hrs in fridge and final 45 min coming to room temperature).
  3. 3 Grill over medium high heat (400-450F) on both sides until lamb reaches 135 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
  4. 4 Wrap in foil and rest for 10 minutes.
  5. 5 Slice thin across the grain and arrange on a platter garnished with fresh mint and lemon slices.

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Grilled Leg of Lamb

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 3 H, 10 M
  • Serves 12

Ingredients US Metric

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh fennel fronds or fresh basil leaves (or a combination)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced, or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 (5 1/2- to 6-pound) boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, well-trimmed of fat
  • Mustard, for serving (optional)


In a medium dry skillet over medium heat, combine the fennel, cumin, and coriander seeds and toast until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the seeds to a mortar and pestle. Pound until the seeds start to break down but aren’t pulverized (or use the flat of a knife to crush the seeds).

In a large bowl, combine the crushed toasted seeds with the fennel fronds, garlic, anchovies or anchovy paste, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in as much oil as needed to make a paste and then rub the paste all over the lamb.

Cover the lamb with plastic wrap (or stuff it into a large resealable plastic bag) and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, heat an outdoor grill to high (or heat a broiler with the rack set 3 inches [8 cm] below the heat source).

Grill or broil the lamb until it reaches your desired doneness, 7 to 14 minutes per side. For medium-rare lamb, you’re looking for an internal temperature of 125°F (52°C) on a meat thermometer, which will climb to 130°F (54°C) or 135°F (57°C) before you slice it.

Let the lamb rest (it will continue to cook), loosely covered with foil, for at least 10 minutes before slicing it. Serve the mustard alongside, if desired.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Dan Kraan

A boneless lamb leg of 5-1/2 to 6 pounds is a rare thing around here. So, I only did half the recipe with a 3-3/4-pound boneless leg. That’s still enough for 4 to 6 people, depending on how much you enjoy lamb. The finished grilled leg of lamb is well seasoned and grilled up beautifully. Since it was butterflied, the doneness of the meat was consistent throughout the roast.

I chose sides of turnips in rosemary brown butter and a basic polenta. I paired this with a red and a white but the white seemed a better choice in this instance. It was an off-dry, fruity varietal (Riesling and Gewürztraminer) from a local winery and allowed the flavors on the plate to really come through!

Jenny Howard

While there may not be anything groundbreaking about this recipe for grilled leg of lamb, its combination of whole fennel, cumin, AND coriander is brilliant, and the toasting of the seeds before grinding is absolutely key. In conjunction with the more common lamb partners of lemon, garlic, and anchovy, the spices elevate the marinade to something special. So much flavor for such little work! We loved the pungency of the anchovy, the brightness of the lemon, and the generous hit of garlic alongside the warm and exotic background spices.

No doubt this will become our standard lamb marinade from here on out. Any number of side sauces would complement this particular recipe, so we tried an herby chimichurri alongside some mustard and both were quite good. (Next time I might make more of a mustard sauce so that the meat isn’t overpowered by the straight-up dollop of mustard.) We’re also looking forward to leftovers. lamb sandwiches on fresh, crusty rolls, maybe a little shaved red onion, roasted red pepper and a smidge of mayonnaise or garlic aioli? I’m in!

Alan D.

I love lamb and this was an amazingly delicious way to prepare it using a different array of spices and flavor rather than my typical mustard, rosemary and garlic rub.

I prepared the paste and let it marinate on the lamb for 7 hours in the fridge, and then placed it under the broiler for the recommended 7 minutes per side. My lamb was considerably thicker on one side and after the 14 minutes I cut that part off and broiled it for an additional 5 minutes to get it to medium rare while the other part rested under aluminum foil. The end result was a deliciously tender grilled leg of lamb that didn't need any additional salt or seasoning. I served with roasted potatoes and green peas in butter. Our guests raved about it and asked for the recipe.


If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


We have a more Italian version that marinates in wine, lemon juice, fresh mixed herbs, evoo poured over the lamb that has been covered with an anchovy garlic paste and is served with a caper sauce made with butter, anchovy and lemon juice. The rub with the toasted seeds (especially cumin) sounds delicious so we will try this for Easter, I bet our caper sauce would compliment this as well. A dry French Rose is a nice choice here since the recipe after all is French plus it’s springtime! BTW a meat thermometer is a must also as the price of Lamb has gone way up.THX

That does sound lovely, lowandslow. I think your caper sauce will pair nicely with this. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

Recipe Summary

  • 2 ounces ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • Boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced Spanish onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup huckleberry or currant jam
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • One 2-pound butterflied leg of lamb
  • Canola oil, for brushing
  • Pepper

In a heatproof bowl, cover the chiles with boiling water and let stand until softened, 20 minutes. Drain the chiles, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid. In a blender, puree the chiles with the reserved soaking liquid until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine sieve.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the cumin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chile puree, sesame seeds, breadcrumbs, chocolate and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, jam and vinegar and bring just to a simmer. Season the sauce with salt and keep warm.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the lamb with canola oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 135° for medium-rare or 140° for medium, about 20 minutes total. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve across the grain and serve with the warm ancho-huckleberry sauce.