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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

April 2005


Credit: © Thomas Heinser

Recipe Summary

45 mins
3 hrs 45 mins
6 to 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • In a large, shallow dish, combine the olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Add the lamb and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours, turning a few times. Let stand at room temperature, 1 hour.

  • Preheat grill to high (450°F to 500°F).

  • Season the lamb with salt and pepper; do not scrape off the garlic or rosemary. Place lamb on oiled grates; grill, uncovered, turning often, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in each piece registers 125°F to 130°F 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.