Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary


Chef Cal Peternell's easy method for cooking lamb leg on the grill results in tender, flavorful meat in only 20 minutes after it's finished marinating.

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins
6 to 8 servings

Instead of butterflying a boned leg of lamb and cooking it whole, chef Cal Peternell carefully cuts along the four natural muscle separations (they're easily visible) and pulls the four pieces apart with his fingers. Grilling 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.

Many side dishes pair well with grilled lamb leg, and we especially like grilled asparagus and white bean salad. Check out our guide to grilling vegetables for more tips.


  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless leg of lamb, not butterflied

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 8 large garlic cloves, smashed and coarsely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black 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. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours, turning a few times. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Grilled Leg of Lamb and Rosemary
William F. Dickey II

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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