Butterflied and Marinated Leg of Lamb

The combination of flavors in this delicious sauce takes this grilled butterflied and marinated leg of lamb to another level!

Butterflied, marinated, grilled and sliced leg of lamb served with grilled asparagus.

I am not much of a beef eater myself, but I love this marinated leg of lamb. My dear friend Tricia shared this recipe with me many many years ago and it is definitely a winner! The secret sauce (marinade) is so delicious, you’ll want to drink it. 🙂  In fact I think it would be a delicious marinade on other beef cuts as well as chicken. I always double the marinade ingredients so that we have more than enough to pass around the table as a sauce on top of the sliced lamb. This meal has become a tradition on Easter for my family, they expect it!

What is butterflied leg of lamb?

Butterflied refers to the way the lamb leg is cut. To butterfly the leg of lamb just means to cut it in half and remove the bone. Doing this allows the meat to lay more flat and therefore it will cook more evenly. I don’t ever do this myself. The butcher at your local market or butcher shop is happy happy to do this for you! If you are an adventurous one, here is a video on how you can easily butterfly your own lamb leg.

Grilled and sliced leg of lamb served with a marinade sauce and grilled asparagus.
That crust! So delicious!

What’s better~American or New Zealand grown lamb?

Well I’ll let you decide for yourself. I prefer the American lamb because to me it tastes less gamey. Again, that is my preference. You can ask the butcher or in some cases it will be indicated on the label where it came from.

Here is a short article about the difference between American and New Zealand lamb as they do differ in taste and cost.

How long should I marinate the lamb?

The marinade is easily made in the blender and can be done up to a day ahead of time. The lamb can marinate for as little as 2 hours or overnight if you have time. Don’t forget to keep enough marinade aside to warm before serving to pass around the table. I always make a double batch so we have plenty of sauce! Good enough to drink!

Marinade sauce simmering on the stove with fresh ginger root floating in it.
I love the fresh ginger root simmering in the sauce!

How long do I cook the leg of lamb?

Use a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to determine the temperature. Keep in mind that once you take the lamb off the grill, you should let it rest with a loose piece of foil on top of it. The temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees while the meat is resting.

Use this table to determine your preferred doneness:

  • Rare: 135°F
  • Medium-rare: 145°F
  • Medium: 155°F

We love the digital thermometers from ThermoWorks, and they make Gr8 gifts! (This is an affiliate link.)

Let’s make it a meal and serve:

Marinated and butterflied leg of lamb sliced and served with sauce and grilled asparagus and bacon vinaigrette potato salad.

These lamb recipes are also appetizing:

We love when our Gr8 Friends try something new. Please let us know if you try this recipe by commenting below! Enjoy!

Marinated Leg of Lamb
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Butterflied and Marinated Leg of Lamb

I always double the marinade recipe because my family loves to have plenty to add to the cooked lamb at serving time.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Marinate at least2 hrs
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: marinated leg of lamb
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Kyle


  • 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 inch slice fresh ginger root, unpeeled
  • 1 leg of lamb, boned and butterflied (5 to 6 pounds boned weight)


  • Combine the first 8 marinade ingredients in a blender. (I use the blender but a whisk could also be used.)
  • Set aside a small amount of marinade (about 1/2 cup or more if you doubled the recipe) for drizzling on the lamb at serving time.
  • In a large container, combine the remainder of the marinade, ginger root, and lamb and marinate the lamb for a minimum of 2 hours  in the refrigerator. I usually marinate the lamb overnight. Turn the meat in the marinade at least once.
  • Remove the lamb and discard the marinade and ginger.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 450°F or prepare coals or gas barbecue.

In the oven:

  • Place lamb on a rack, fat side up, and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the lamb over and roast another 20 minutes more. This timing is approximate. Use a thermometer to determine how long you cook the lamb. This depends on the doneness that you prefer.

On the barbecue:

  • Place grill 4 to 5 inches above the coals or flame and grill, fat side down, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn meat and grill, covered, about 15 minutes more on the other side.
  • Lamb should be slightly pink inside. Be sure to check the temperature as different thicknesses will require more or less cooking time. (USDA Recommendation – rare at 135ºF, medium-rare at 145ºF, and medium at 155ºF.)
  • To use the reserved marinade as a sauce, warm it on medium low heat in a small saucepan. 
  • To serve, cut the lamb in slices against the grain and pass the warmed sauce to drizzle on top of the sliced meat.


Gr8 Tip:
If you are interested, click here for some interesting information about marinating meat.
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About The Author


  1. Kyle | 19th Jan 19

    Hi Dee, Thank you so much for pointing that out! Although I have always marinated the lamb in the refrigerator, I think that was the way the recipe was given to me about 30 years ago. I have updated the post. This marinade is so delicious! Let us know if you make it and if you like it. Thanks for being a Gr8 friend!

  2. Dee | 18th Jan 19

    The marinade sounds delicious but I was surprised the recioe says to marinate at room temp for up to 2 hours. I clicked on the link for tips on marinating meat. One thing it says is never marinate at room temp, due to danger of bacteria growth, for any length of time.

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