Juicy, tender and ridiculously delicious, this recipe for Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary, Mint and Garlic can be made with either a bone-in or boneless version and makes an impressive meal for family and friends.
There is something special about grilling meats on fire versus roasting it inside in the oven. The addition of char and smoke to meats really takes your meal to a whole new level of awesomeness.
Although this post focuses on grilling a bone-in leg of lamb, you can also use this marinade for a boneless version. You can also marinate the meat and prepare it in the oven, just in case you are buried in snow and can’t quite grill yet!
Why you should try this recipe
I know a lot of people are not lamb eaters, but my family loves it. Being Persian, I was raised eating lamb. We love them skewered and grilled as kabobs or braised lamb shanks in stews.
With a leg of lamb, you have two options. You can go with bone in or boneless. You can roast it in the oven or grill it outdoors. This particular recipes is one of our favorites.
The marinade is fairly simple, but full of flavor and impact: fresh herbs like rosemary and mint mixed in with garlic, shallots, lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil. You rub this past all over the meat, cover it with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator.
So easy. See my Grilled Leg of Lamb Web Story for a quick visual guide to making this recipe.
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Our grill is not a traditional gas grill or a charcoal grill. We have a Big Steel Keg. Before the Keg, we had the traditional gas grill. Now I don’t want to knock down the gas grill, it is super convenient to cook with – just like cooking with my gas stove top inside the house, except I can stick the meat right on the grate.
Although you get the charred, fire roasted sensation from you foods, a gas grill doesn’t give you the smokey flavor you can get with the use of hardwood charcoals. Yes, you can add a smoker box, we used to do that, but the flavor does not compare with cooking over hardwood charcoal.
For the past couple of years, we have perfected smoked beef brisket and smoked pulled pork using our Big Steel Keg. You can control the internal temperature of your grill by adjusting the vents on the top and the bottom of the grill.
But that means you have to be home managing the grill, or texting your spouse to keep checking the grill while you are out running some random errands while your meat cooks. Low and slow cooking is definitely an art, and it absolutely requires patience. But it is oh-so-worth the time and love you put into it.
Controlling your grill temperature
Another investment we made into our grilling equipment, is the addition of the BBQ Guru’s CyberQ Wifi BBQ Temperature Controller. I won’t lie. When my husband told me he wanted this thing, I rolled my eyes and thought, “Oh, no! Not another electronic toy we don’t need!” as well as “How much is that thing??!!” But we saw the benefits of using the BBQ Guru from day 1.
The setup: You have two temperature leads, one inserted into the meat you are grilling and the other in the grill itself. You set the grill temperature and the meat doneness temperature into the BBQ Guru. The kit comes with this little fan that regulates the grill temperature.
You can also determine how often the BBQ Guru emails you with temperature updates. For example, we set ours to 10 minutes. Of course, you get an alert to your phone with the meat has reached the internal temperature you have set.
Now, you do not have to wait for the alerts to learn about the current temperature of your grill and meat – you can check it anytime with the use of your smart phone.
Now this lamb recipe only takes a couple hours on the grill to cook. That’s no big deal. But when you are cooking a brisket or pork shoulder for 6-8 hours, well, being chained to the grill can be rather boring.
Our first time using the BBQ Guru we made a pork shoulder roast, which required 8 hours on the grill. While it was cooking, the family and I went to the beach and enjoyed a couples hours of sun and surf. It was great getting updates on our phone from the grill!
My skepticism vanished after that first day using the BBQ Guru. No more constantly going outside to check the grill. No more texts from my husband asking me to check on the grill. Just perfectly grilled meat with as little hassle as possible.
If you have a grill master in your life, this makes a great birthday, Father’s Day or holiday gift. Trust me, they will thank you for it – over and over again!
Ingredients you need
- Bone-in leg of lamb: This marinade can be made for a boneless leg of lamb, but your grilling times will be completely different. See below for grilling a boneless leg of lamb.
- Fresh herbs: I used fresh rosemary and mint. You can also use basil, oregano, thyme, parsley or cilantro. Fresh herbs adds way more flavor than dried herbs.
- Shallot: If you don’t have shallots, use a little red onion instead.
- Extra virgin olive oil: Oil adds moisture and flavor to the marinade so skimp on this thinking it is too fatty.
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon zest: Grating the zest from a lemon adds a wonderful lemony aroma without making the meat sour. You can also use lime or orange zest. Then squeeze the juice for your salad dressing!
1. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients and make a paste.
2. With a sharp knife, slice deep slits all over leg of lamb. Place the leg of lamb on a large baking sheet and rub herb mixture all over and stuff into the slits. Cover entire lego of lamb with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to overnight.
3. Remove leg of lamb 2 hours before cooking to allow meat to come to room temperature.
4. If you are using a charcoal grill, add coals or wood charcoal and heat grill to 325ºF.
If using a gas grill, preheat grill with all burners on high. After 15 minutes, turn off the center burners and reduce the outer burners to medium.
Place the lamb in the center of the grate and grill covered for until internal temperature reaches 140ºF, approximately 2 hours. Use some sort of meat thermometer to insure doneness!
When grilling or roasting meats, I strongly recommend using a meat thermometer. You can set the alarm when the roast comes to the temperature you set, insuring perfectly cooked meat!
5. Remove lamb from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Recipe tips and FAQs
This recipe turned out beautifully on the grill. I usually grill a boneless butterflied leg of lamb marinated in yogurt. If you want to use this marinade but use a boneless legs of lamb, use that recipe for the grilling instructions.
If you want to use this marinade, but don’t have a grill, you can also cook this leg of lamb in the oven. Sometimes you can find the lamb with the bone in but with the exposed bone cut off. This helps the lamb fit in your oven.
Once marinated, place lamb fat side down on a roasting pan and broil for 5 minutes until the the lamb is seared and browned. Turn the roast over and broiler again until the other side is seared, about 5 minutes more.
Set oven temperature to 325°F and roast in a roasting pan until internal temperature reaches 135ºF. This can take up to 2 hours.
Whether you are carving a holiday turkey or a simple roast, you really need a cutting board with these juice grooves. This keeps the overflow of meat juice from spilling off your board, over your counters and on the floor. Yes, speaking from experience!!
We have now made this bone-in recipe several times and it gets inhaled super quick. You can eat it with freshly roasted vegetables and potatoes, or with basmati rice. You can even make sandwiches with the lamb and serve it with pita bread and mast-o khiar (Persian yogurt with mint, dill and cucumbers).
Just like the meat thermometers you use in your oven indoors, for accurate readings, remember to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of your meat, without touching any bone. Letting the meat rest after removing from the grill allows the juices to get absorbed back into the meat.
Whether you are cooking a bone-in or boneless leg of lamb, cook until the internal temperature reaches 140ºF/60ºC. This is the temperature whether you are grilling your lamb outdoors or roasting it indoors.
When grilling a bone in leg of lamb on a charcoal grill, grill at 325ºF/163ºC for about 2 hours. You want to cook until the internal temperature reaches 140ºF/60ºC. By cooking low and slow, you will have a very tender and juicy dinner!
- 7 to 8 pound bone-in leg of lamb
- ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBS kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Zest from 1 large lemon
- With a sharp knife, slice deep slits all over leg of lamb.
- In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients and make a paste.
- Place the leg of lamb on a large baking sheet and rub herb mixture all over and stuff into the slits.
- Cover entire lego of lamb with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours or up to overnight.
- Remove leg of lamb 2 hours before cooking to allow meat to come to room temperature.
- If you using a Big Steel Keg or Big Green Egg, add coals or wood charcoal and heat grill to 325ºF.
- If using a gas grill, preheat grill with all burners on high. After 15 minutes, turn off the center burners and reduce the outer burners to medium.
- Place the lamb in the center of the grate and grill covered for until internal temperature reaches 140ºF, approximately 2 hours.
- Remove lamb from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
You can also cook this leg of lamb in the oven. Prepare lamb the same way. Sometimes you can find the lamb with the bone in but with the exposed bone cut off. This helps the lamb fit in your oven.
Place lamb fat side down on a roasting pan and broil for 5 minutes until the the lamb surface looks seared and browned. Turn the roast over and place under the broiler again until other side is seared, about 5 minutes more.
Set oven temperature to 325°F and roast in a roasting pan until internal temperature reaches 135ºF. This can take up to 2 hours. Let roast rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Serving Size:2 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 23.3gSaturated Fat: 8.8gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 761mgCarbohydrates: 2.4gFiber: 0.9gSugar: 0gProtein: 21.4g
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback.
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