Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary

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Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb is the ultimate summer feast! Slather boneless or butterflied leg of lamb in a Mediterranean-inspired marinade made with loads of lemon, garlic, & aromatic herbs. Cook on the grill in about 30 minutes or less for until charred & smoky yet super juicy & meltingly tender lamb meat. Serve with pita & a mezze platter or with a few simple sides for a hearty summer dinner. Grilling lamb is so much simpler than you'd think!

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A mezze-style platter served on a round wooden board is filled with thinly sliced grilled leg of lamb, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, dips & spreads, and pita bread. The platter is surrounded by a jar of pickled red onion, cherry tomatoes on the vine, loose fresh herbs, and a blue and white striped linen napkin.

Grilling a Butterflied Leg of Lamb is Much Easier Than You Think!

Lamb is one of my all-time favorite proteins. I’ve enjoyed it braised and tossed it into pasta, rolled into lamb meatballs, and slow cooked then shredded over cozy carbs but I especially love grilled lamb.

If you’re looking for an impressive addition to your summer grilling rotation, this Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb is 100% it!

Lamb’s delicate, earthy flavor naturally pairs well with simple-yet-flavorful Mediterranean ingredients. This recipe uses an easy Mediterranean-inspired marinade to infuse the leg of lamb with the punchiness of lemon, garlic, and herbs. Simply let the marinade do its thing and the boneless leg of lamb is ready to toss on the grill!

Juicy and tender lamb meat becomes beautifully charred and smoky on the grill – it’s the perfect way to switch up your summer dinner!

While cooking a large cut of meat on the grill may be a bit intimidating at first, grilling a leg of lamb is much simpler than it seems.

The intense heat of a hot and smoky grill transforms boneless (aka butterflied) leg of lamb into juicy, succulent, and perfectly charred summer dinner – all with minimal effort!

Serve it alongside a mezze board with warm pita, pickly veggies, and spreads like hummus or toum, creating a show-stopping centerpiece and fun dinner experience for family and friends. Or treat yourself to tender and juicy lamb any night of the week. A must-try for your summer grilling bucket list!

Boneless Leg of Lamb (aka Butterflied Leg of Lamb) is Perfect For Grilling

While grilled leg of lamb might seem intimidating, it’s truly super simple. If this is all new to you, no worries! Here’s everything you need to know…

Leg of lamb is exactly what it sounds like! In the context of cooking, we most often refer to the upper back haunch of the animal – it’s a beautiful cut of meat that’s rich and juicy and cooks beautifully over the strong heat of the grill!

Boneless leg of lamb, olive oil, lemons, garlic, fresh rosemary, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and ground black pepper are arranged on a creamy white textured surface.
If you can only find bone-in leg of lamb, ask your butcher to de-bone and butterfly it for you!

When it comes to grilling, it’s easiest to work with a boneless leg of lamb. Since the leg has a fairly irregular shape, removing the bone allows the leg to lay flat with a more uniform thickness (i.e. “butterflied”).

As a result, it is WAY easier to grill than a whole leg of lamb with the bone and cooks a lot more evenly on the grill. It’s kind of like grilling a big steak!

Sourcing Tip! ⇢ You can find boneless/butterflied leg of lamb at the butcher counter of most conventional grocery stores, especially during grilling season. Most of the time, you’ll find it’s packaged in netting – simply remove and unwrap!

The Perfect Mediterranean-Inspired Marinade

Lamb naturally lends itself to Mediterranean flavors, so I love using a simple Mediterranean-inspired marinade for this grilled leg of lamb.

Fresh herbs, bright lemon, and aromatic garlic are Mediterranean staples that make for seriously fresh and bold flavor that highlights lamb’s natural richness effortlessly. The perfect balance!

Marinated leg of lamb rests inside of a white double handle baking dish. The dish sits atop a creamy white textured surface surrounded by a white ceramic pinch bowl filled with ground black pepper, and a blue and white striped linen napkin.
Be sure to use your hands to rub the herbs and spices into the lamb, ensuring flavor soaks into every nook and cranny!

To make the marinade, mix together some olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, rosemary, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes. Place the lamb in an airtight container or resealable storage bag and pour the marinade on top.

Marinating Time

Since leg of lamb is rich and hearty, it needs a bit of time to soak up all the flavors of a marinade. Plan to marinate the lamb for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days, so feel free to prep it ahead of time and let it do its thing in the fridge. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more prep tips!

How to Grill a Boneless Leg of Lamb (Hint: It’s Super Simple!)

Grilling a butterflied leg of lamb might seem a little intimidating, but it’s really so much simpler than you’d expect – I promise! You’ve got this! 🙌🏼

Before You Begin. ⇢ There are a few things you need to do to prepare for grilling.

  • Warm to room temp. About 30 minutes before you want to cook, take the lamb out of the fridge. Why? ⇢ Especially with large cuts, warming meat to room temperature helps ensure it cooks evenly and gets a beautiful char from the grill.
  • Preheat the grill. As the lamb comes up to room temperature, preheat the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling.
An overhead shot of butterflied grilled leg of lamb resting atop gas grill grates.
Boneless leg of lamb can be a fairly irregular cut so be sure to use an instant read thermometer to check doneness often!
Grilled leg of lamb rests atop an aluminum baking sheet surrounded by grilled lemons and sprigs of rosemary. The baking sheet pan sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A blue and white striped linen napkin is tucked underneath the sheet pan.
Be sure to allow the grilled lamb to rest and for the natural juices to settle. Doing so makes for a tender, juicy result.
1

Grill the lamb over direct heat and close the lid. Once you place the lamb on the grates, let the grill’s heat take over. Close the lid to allow the hot air to circulate around the grill, which helps the lamb cook throughout.

2

Flip the lamb to grill evenly on both sides. After about 7-10 minutes of cooking on one side, use a pair of grill tongs to flip the butterflied grilled leg of lamb over. Grill for about the same amount of time on the second side for an even cook. Those beautiful grill marks are the best! 🤩

3

Use a thermometer to determine doneness. We love a nice medium-rare butterflied grilled leg of lamb, but the level of doneness is totally up to you! No matter what cook you prefer, the best way to determine whether your lamb is done is to use an instant-read thermometer. Tip! ⇢ Check for doneness often and pull the lamb from the grill once it’s 5-10 degrees shy of your final desired temperature. See below for a guide to doneness temperatures!

4

Rest the grilled leg of lamb before serving. Once cooked, transfer the grilled butterflied leg of lamb to a plate to rest for about 10 minutes before carving. Why? ⇢ Like steak, a quick resting period allows the lamb’s natural juices to settle a bit, keeping it nice and tender for serving.

How to Slice

Slicing butterflied grilled leg of lamb is pretty straightforward since it’s already boneless – think of it like slicing a steak! Take a sharp chef’s knife and slice against the grain. I like cutting really thin slices – they’re super tender and easy to eat and share.

Sliced grilled leg of lamb rests atop an aluminum baking sheet surrounded by grilled lemons and sprigs of rosemary. The baking sheet pan sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
Slice the lamb against the grain and it’s ready for serving and sharing!

Grill Time and Doneness

Leg of lamb is a relatively irregular cut in terms of its shape and thickness, which makes gauging cook time a little tricky. At the end of the day, there are a lot of variables at play!

Rather than aiming for a certain total cook time, actively monitor doneness by temping with an instant-read thermometer often.

A Quick Guide to Leg of Lamb Doneness Temperatures:

  • Rare (deep pink verging on red, very juicy!): Cook to an internal temperature of 105-110 degrees F. The lamb’s carry-over heat will cause the internal temperature to rise to a final internal temperature of 120 degrees F.
  • Medium-rare (warm pink, juicy): Cook to an internal temperature of 115-120 degrees F. The lamb’s carry-over heat will cause the internal temperature to rise to a final internal temperature of 130 degrees F.
  • Medium (light pink, moist): Cook to an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees F. The lamb’s carry-over heat will cause the internal temperature to rise to a final internal temperature of 140 degrees F.
  • Medium-well (barely pink turning to gray, drier): Cook to an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees F. The lamb’s carry-over heat will cause the internal temperature to rise to a final internal temperature of 150 degrees F.
  • Well-done (gray throughout): Cook to an internal temperature of 150-155 degrees F. The lamb’s carry-over heat will cause the internal temperature to rise to a final internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Serving Suggestions – Make it a Mezze Night!

A gorgeous grilled boneless leg of lamb begs to be shared! My favorite way to serve a grilled leg of lamb is alongside an epic mezze board. It’s impressive yet totally inviting.

Here’s some mezze platter inspiration to get you started…

  • Dips and spreadsHummus, baba ganoush, toum, or even tahini sauce are all perfect for slathering over a slice of grilled lamb. Prep them at home for an extra-special spread or go the low-effort route and grab your favorites from the store – delicious either way!
  • Pickly goodness like olives, peppers, or quick pickled red onions adds bright tanginess – such a nice balance to the richness of lamb!
  • Pita bread – While you can definitely buy pita bread at the store, I swear by this easy homemade pita recipe. It’s such a fun and delicious baking project, and you really can’t beat warm, fresh pita bread! Stuff the sliced lamb in the pita pocket for the perfect bite.
Two small pieces of pita bread are topped with hummus and a Greek yogurt dipped then topped with thinly sliced grilled boneless leg of lamb and other thinly sliced veggies. The two pitas sit atop a creamy white textured surface alongside a small glass jar filled with roasted red peppers and a small white ceramic bowl filled with a Greek-yogurt based dip.
Warm pita, your favorite toppings, and tender, smoky grilled lamb – there’s nothing better!
A close up of a mezze-style platter served on a round wooden board topped with thinly sliced grilled leg of lamb, sliced cucumbers, artichoke hearts, dips & spreads, and pita bread. The platter rests atop a creamy white textured surface and a blue and white striped linen napkin rests alongside.
Crunchy cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers are some of my favorite add-ons for a mezze platter.

For a more classic summertime dinner, carve your grilled boneless leg of lamb and serve it with a few simple sides.

I love doubling down on Mediterranean flavors and serving alongside a Greek Orzo Pasta Salad, pairing with classic grilled veggies or adding some freshness by making a big green salad tossed in a tangy vinaigrette!

A close up of a mezze-style platter served on a round wooden board topped with thinly sliced grilled leg of lamb, sliced cucumbers, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, dips & spreads, and pita bread. The platter rests atop a creamy white textured surface and a blue and white striped linen napkin rests alongside.
A mezze board is the perfect way to serve this lamb. Arrange it alongside a variety of toppings for a fun and filling dinner!

I can’t wait for you to try this Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary! It’s a delicious and seriously impressive way to serve lamb this summer and I know you’ll love it as much as we do!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo and tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy grilling!

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A partially carved grilled leg of lamb rests atop an aluminum baking sheet surrounded by grilled lemons and sprigs of rosemary. The baking sheet pan sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a blue and white striped linen napkin and a small wooden pinch bowl filled with kosher salt resting alongside.

Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Garlic, & Rosemary

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Inactive Marinating Time: 12 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 6-8 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, Lamb Recipes
  • Method: Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb is the ultimate summer feast! Slather boneless or butterflied leg of lamb in a Mediterranean-inspired marinade made with loads of lemon, garlic, & aromatic herbs. Cook on the grill in about 30 minutes or less for charred & smoky yet super juicy & meltingly tender lamb meat.

Because it’s a large cut, butterflied grilled leg of lamb makes an especially show-stopping centerpiece for any summer dinner table! I love to slice it up & serve it alongside a mezze board with warm pita, pickly veggies, & spreads like hummus or toum, creating a fun experience for dinner guests. Be sure to refer to the blog post, above, for more serving suggestions. 

Totally delicious & totally do-able – I hope you love this grilled leg of lamb recipe as much as we do! ♡


Ingredients

Scale
  • 22 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, butterflied to about 2 inches thickness (see Recipe Notes, below)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 810 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • optional: up to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, as desired
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: pita, hummus, pickled red onions, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, pickled peppers, etc.

Instructions

  1. Prep the Mediterranean-inspired marinade and marinate the leg of lamb: Trim as much excess fat from the surface of the leg of lamb. You’ll need to leave some to keep the butterflied cut held together, but excess fat will cause unwanted flare-ups on the grill. From there, place the leg of lamb in an airtight container resealable storage bag. Top with the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, rosemary, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and ground black pepper as desired. Use your hands to really rub the herbs and spices into the nooks and crannies of the lamb. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days.Marinated leg of lamb rest inside of a white double handle baking dish. The dish sits atop a creamy white textured surface surrounded by a white ceramic pinch bowl filled with ground black pepper, a wooden pinch bowl crushed red pepper flakes, loose cloves of garlic, and a blue and white striped linen napkin.
  2. Prepare for grilling: About 30 minutes prior to grilling the lamb, pull them out of the refrigerator to let it come up to room temperature. I typically just pull it out of the fridge right before I preheat the grill. Preheat the grill for medium-high direct heat grilling, 450-500 degrees F. Once preheated, clean the cooking surface by firmly brushing a wire brush over the grates.Weber Genesis II Propane Grill on a deck.
  3. Grill the leg of lamb: Place the leg of lamb on the grill grates, directly over the heat. Close the grill lid. Grill 6-12 minutes per side, noting that grill time will vary based on the thickness of the lamb. For a nice medium rare on a 2-inch thick butterflied leg of lamb, I typically grill 6-7 minutes per side, until an instant read thermometer inserted in the steak registers an internal temperature of 115-120 degrees F. Refer to blog post above for more guidance on different lamb temperatures and cook times. Transfer the grilled leg of lamb to a plate and set aside to rest.Grilled boneless leg of lamb rests atop gas grill grates.
  4. Rest, carve and serve: Set the grilled leg of lamb aside to rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve as desired. I like to thinly slice against the grain and serve the lamb with fresh pita, hummus or tzatziki, pickled onions and peppers, and a leafy green salad. Build your own lamb pitas, or enjoy the grilled leg of lamb as-is alongside grilled veggies or a summer salad. Enjoy!A mezze-style platter served on a round wooden board is filled with thinly sliced grilled leg of lamb, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, artichoke hearts, dips & spreads, and pita bread. The platter is surrounded by a jar of pickled red onion, cherry tomatoes on the vine, loose fresh herbs, and a blue and white striped linen napkin.


Notes

  • Everything you need to know about butterflied leg of lamb: 
    • What is butterflied leg of lamb: Leg of lamb is a beautiful cut with a kind of funky, irregular shape. By removing the bone, the resulting cut is a little easier to work with, especially for grilling – it not only lays flat, but it also has a relatively uniform thickness across.
    • Where to find butterflied leg of lamb and what to look for: Boneless/butterflied leg of lamb is sold in the butcher case of most conventional grocery stores, especially during grilling season. If your grocery store only carries bone-in leg of lamb, ask your butcher to de-bone and butterfly it for you.
    • How to prepare butterflied leg of lamb for the grill: More often than not, boneless/butterflied leg of lamb is sold packaged in netting. Simply remove the meat from the netting and unwrap it so it lays flat. If there’s a section that’s thicker than the rest, carefully use a sharp knife to butterfly it, creating uniform thickness with the rest of the meat to ensure the leg of lamb cooks evenly on the grill. From there, trim off as much excess fat as possible, which will only cause unnecessary flare ups.
  • Storage and Reheating: Grilled boneless leg of lamb is best served fresh off the grill, though leftovers will keep for a couple of days. Transfer cooled lamb to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Enjoy leftovers cold or easily reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.

Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.

Follow along with Plays Well With Butter on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest for more unfussy recipes that pack a big punch of flavor!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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