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Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary. Photo © Thomas Heinser
© Thomas Heinser

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary

  • ACTIVE: 45 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 4 HRS 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 6 to 8

Instead of butterflying a boned leg of lamb and cooking it whole, Cal Peternell carefully cuts along the four natural muscle separations (they're easily visible) and pulls the four pieces apart with his fingers. Grilling the lamb this way is quicker, makes it easier to determine doneness, and simplifies carving. Plus the meat develops a mellow flavor and lots of delicious crust.

Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips

  1. One 4- to 5-pound boneless leg of lamb, not butterflied
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 8 large garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Spread the lamb on a work surface. With a boning or paring knife, cut between the muscles and separate them using your fingers. Trim away any excess fat and gristle.
  2. In a large, shallow dish, combine the olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 4 hours, turning a few times.
  3. Light a grill. Season the lamb with salt and pepper; do not scrape off the garlic or rosemary. Grill the lamb over a hot fire, turning often, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in each piece registers 125° to 130° for medium-rare. The times will vary according to the size and shape of the lamb leg, anywhere from 8 minutes for a 6-ounce piece to 20 minutes for a 1 1/2-pound piece. Transfer the lamb to a carving board as each one is done, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Thinly slice the lamb and serve.
Make Ahead The lamb can marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Bring to room temperature before grilling. Serve With Grilled asparagus and white bean salad.

Suggested Pairing

Grilled leg of lamb tastes best with a medium-weight red that has soft tannins, such as a California Merlot.

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