Roasted Leg of Lamb

A perfect joint to eat on a warm spring day

 Over the years I have come across many recipes for a roasted leg of lamb. This is one I came up with after getting my first charcoal kettle grill. It isn’t a necessity, but having the lamb slowly cook over charcoal infuses the meat with just the right amount of smoke, and the results are simply the best I’ve had.

 This recipe is abridged from my book Cooking Meat.

 Serves 8 to 10

 1 (6–7 pounds) bone-in lamb leg

1 cup Middle Eastern Marinade (recipe follows)


  1. Rub the lamb leg all over with the marinade, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Better yet, preheat a charcoal grill, adjusting the airflow to achieve 300°F. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack ready.
  3. Place the marinated lamb leg on the roasting rack and place the roasting pan in the center of the oven. If you’re using a charcoal grill, place the lamb slightly beside the charcoal, to avoid flare-ups. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 135° (for medium), about 2½ hours.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, tent it with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  5. To serve, slice the lamb and arrange on a serving platter. Salsa Verde is a perfect sauce with this roast.


Middle Eastern Marinade

 I call this my Middle Eastern marinade because it contains the warm spices of coriander, cumin, and fennel, all popular in the cuisine of the Cradle of Civilization, and works especially well with lamb.

 Makes 2 cups

 ½ cup finely sliced green onions

½ cup chopped garlic

3 Tbsp grated lemon zest

2 Tbsp chopped thyme

1 cup olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp ground coriander

1 Tbsp ground fennel seeds

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp pepper

1½ tsp ground cinnamon


  1. In a food processor, purée the green onions, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, oil, and lemon juice until the mixture has the consistency of pesto. Add the salt, coriander, fennel seeds, cumin, pepper, and cinnamon, and blend until emulsified. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.




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