Grilling a Butterflied Leg of Lamb is Much Easier Than You Think!
If you’re looking for an impressive addition to your summer grilling rotation, this Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb is 100% it! Lamb is one of my favorite proteins, but I especially love grilled lamb. The intense heat of a hot & smoky grill transforms boneless aka butterflied leg of lamb into a juicy, succulent, & perfectly charred summer dinner – all with minimal effort!
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, & herbs. Simply let the marinade do its thing & the boneless leg of lamb is ready to toss on the grill!
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. Plus, the end result is absolutely worth it – a platter of tender & juicy lamb makes a show-stopping centerpiece for any summer dinner table! I love to serve it alongside a mezze board with warm pita, pickly veggies, & spreads like hummus or toum, creating a fun dinner experience for family & friends.
Grilled Leg of Lamb Recipe Highlights
You’ll LOVE this butterflied grilled leg of lamb because it’s…
- EASIER THAN IT SEEMS. There’s no need to feel intimidated about grilling a butterflied leg of lamb! Everything comes together easily after a simple marinade & quick grill – it’s much simpler than it sounds!
- MEDITERRANEAN-INSPIRED GOODNESS. A quick marinade made with lemons, garlic, rosemary, & oregano infuses the grilled leg of lamb with bold Mediterranean-inspired flavor. It’s simple, but yields SO much flavor!
- SMOKY & SUCCULENT. Rich lamb stays juicy & tender as it cooks, while the grill adds a touch of smokiness & irresistible char. It’s the best!
A must-try for your summer grilling bucket list! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Garlic, & Rosemary, or jump straight to the recipe & get grilling!
Everything You Need to Know About Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb (aka Butterflied Leg of Lamb)
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…
What is boneless leg of lamb? ⇢ 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! 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 cooks a lot more evenly on the grill.
Is a grilled boneless leg of lamb the same as a butterflied grilled leg of lamb? ⇢ Yep! A butterflied leg of lamb removes the bone, which “butterflies” the meat, allowing it to lay flat as it grills. Grilling a boneless leg of lamb is exactly the same as grilling a butterflied leg of lamb.
Why is boneless lamb great for grilling? ⇢ Lamb is amazing on the grill because it’s a rich & juicy protein that cooks beautifully over the strong heat of the grill. It also has plenty of natural flavor & takes on simple grilling marinade really well. Butterflied grilled leg of lamb is WAY easier to grill than a whole leg of lamb since it lays nice & flat on the grill grates. It’s kind of like grilling a big steak!
Boneless leg of lamb shopping tips!
- 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 & unwrap!
- If you can only find a bone-in leg of lamb, ask your butcher to de-bone & butterfly it for you.
- I always look for New Zealand grass-fed lamb. Its quality is simply unrivaled! New Zealand’s temperate climate makes it one of the best places in the world for pasture-raised farming. The animals graze freely in the beautiful & biodiverse green pastures, giving them a nutrient-rich diet that yields leaner & more naturally flavorful grass-fed lamb. Find New Zealand grass-fed lamb at a store near you!
The Perfect Mediterranean-Inspired Marinade for Grilled Leg of Lamb
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, & aromatic garlic are Mediterranean staples. Such a simple lineup of ingredients, but one with seriously fresh & bold flavor that highlights lamb’s natural richness effortlessly. The perfect balance!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
To make the marinade, mix together some olive oil, lemon zest & juice, garlic, rosemary, dried oregano, & crushed red pepper flakes. Place the lamb in an airtight container or resealable storage bag & pour the marinade on top. Be sure to use your hands to rub the herbs & spices into the lamb, ensuring flavor soaks into every nook & cranny!
Suggested Marinating Time
Since leg of lamb is rich & 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 & let it do its thing in the fridge. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more prep tips!
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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. Especially with large cuts, warming meat to room temperature helps ensure it cooks evenly & 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.
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Tips for Making Butterflied Leg of Lamb on the Grill. ⇢ Once the grill is lit, grilling a butterflied leg of lamb perfectly is all about immersing yourself in the grilling process. Trust your instincts & use a good meat thermometer to monitor doneness.
Grill the lamb over direct heat & 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.
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! 🤩
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. Check for doneness often & 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!
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. Like steak, a quick resting period allows the lamb’s natural juices to settle a bit, keeping it nice & tender for serving.
How to slice grilled boneless leg of lamb. ⇢ 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 & slice against the grain. I like cutting really thin slices – they’re super tender & easy to eat & share.
A Quick Guide to Leg of Lamb Doneness & Temperature
Leg of lamb is a relatively irregular cut in terms of its shape & 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.
Here’s a quick guide to reference when deciding how long to grill lamb:
- 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.
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Serving Suggestions for Grilled Lamb – Make it a Mezze Night!
A gorgeous grilled boneless leg of lamb begs to be shared! I love serving this recipe at a summer dinner party or as a Sunday supper with family & friends. Everyone LOVES it!
My favorite way to serve a grilled leg of lamb is alongside an epic mezze board. It’s impressive yet totally inviting – such a fun way to eat grilled leg of lamb in the summer! Some mezze platter inspiration to get you started…
- Dips & spreads – Hummus, 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 & 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 & delicious baking project, & you really can’t beat warm, fresh pita bread! Stuff the sliced lamb in the pita pocket for the perfect bite.
For a classic summertime dinner, carve your grilled boneless leg of lamb & serve it with a few simple sides. Some side dish inspiration to get you started…
- A Greek Orzo Pasta Salad or Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad pairs well with the Mediterranean flavors of the lamb.
- Grilled veggies are an easy add-on since the grill is already lit! Try grilled cauliflower, zucchini, or baby peppers.
- Make a big green salad tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. For a heartier salad, try a Greek Farro Salad or Falafel-ish Quinoa Salad – both pair with a Mediterranean-inspired meal beautifully!
I can’t wait for you to try this Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Garlic, & Rosemary! It’s a delicious & seriously impressive way to serve lamb this summer & 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 & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations!
Looking for more delicious lamb recipes? You’re in the right place! 🙌🏼 Be sure to our Slowly Braised Lamb Ragu, Mediterranean-Inspired Lamb Meatballs, Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder, or Lamb Pasta with Pesto next. ♡ Happy grilling!Print
Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Garlic, & Rosemary
- 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
If you want to step up your grilling game this summer, Butterflied Grilled Leg of Lamb is the perfect place to start.
While cooking a large cut of meat on the grill may seem a bit intimidating, grilling a leg of lamb is much simpler than you’d think. By removing the bone, boneless aka butterflied leg of lamb lays nice & flat on the grill, so it cooks evenly & relatively quickly – much like steak! You can find boneless leg of lamb at the butcher counter of most conventional grocery stores these days, but if bone-in is all that’s available, simply ask your butcher to de-bone it for you. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more sourcing guidance.
Since lamb’s delicate, earthy flavor pairs well with simple-yet-flavorful Mediterranean ingredients, this grilled leg of lamb recipe starts with an easy Mediterranean-inspired marinade made with loads of garlic, fragrant herbs, & lemon. Simply let the marinade do its thing, then toss it on the grill!
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! ♡
- 2 – 2 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 & juiced
- 8–10 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 & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving, as desired: pita, hummus, pickled red onions, artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes, pickled peppers, etc.
- Prep the Mediterranean-inspired marinade & 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 & juice, garlic, rosemary, dried oregano, & crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Season with 2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Use your hands to really rub the herbs & spices into the nooks & crannies of the lamb. Cover & marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 2 days.
- 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.
- 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 & cook times. Transfer the grilled leg of lamb to a plate & set aside to rest.
- Rest, carve & serve: Set the grilled leg of lamb aside to rest for 10 minutes, then carve & serve as desired. I like to thinly slice against the grain & serve the lamb with fresh pita, hummus or tzatziki, pickled onions & peppers, & 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!
- 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 & 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 & butterfly it for you. Ever since learning about the amazing quality of New Zealand grass-fed lamb, it’s what I look for at the grocery store. New Zealand’s temperate climate makes it one of the best places in the world for pasture-raised farming, which results in lamb that is richer in flavor & leaner in texture than most domestically raised lamb. It’s absolutely worth looking out for! Learn more & find New Zealand grass-fed lamb at a store near 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 & 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 & 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 & store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Enjoy leftovers cold or easily reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through.
Keywords: grilled butterflied leg of lamb, grilled leg of lamb, grilled boneless leg of lamb, mediterranean, greek, how to grill boneless leg of lamb, juicy, tender, mezze board, summer dinner, dinner party
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.
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