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October 2, 2012

Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Asian Marinade

by BBQ Insanity

This recipe is for butterflied leg of lamb.  A butterflied leg means the bone has been taken out leaving the meat from the leg all in one piece.  As leg of lamb is quite tender, it does not need to be cooked for a long time and can be grilled quickly on the barbecue.  It is possible to butterfly a leg of lamb yourself, but it is much easier to ask a butcher to do it for you!  This recipe is from Steve Raichlen’s book called “BBQ USA” and features an Asian inspired marinade using lots of ginger.

Butterflied leg of lamb


  • 1/2 leg of lamb, butterflied
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches), chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 scallions chopped
  • 1/2 cup ginger ale
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1-3 teaspoons hot sauce (I used tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


The key part of this recipe is to make the marinade.  Chop the ginger, garlic and scallions and add to the ginger ale, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, hot sauce, five-spice powder, and pepper.  You can use any type of hot sauce for this, I used tabasco pepper sauce, but a piri-piri style sauce would work equally well.   Put it all in a blender and give it a blitz.   Pour the marinade all over the lamb, turning a few times to ensure that all the meat is covered.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours.

When the lamb is ready, take it out of the marinade.  Set aside the marinade, as this can be used to baste the meat as it cooks on the grill.  I like to put the remaining marinade in a saucepan and heat it up so that the basting sauce is warm when basting the meat.  Prepare a barbecue grill to a medium-high heat.  I’ve found that it’s not good to have the grill too hot, as the marinade will drip down onto the hot coals and cause huge flare ups.  This can still happen with medium heat, but the fire will generally be easier to control.

Put the butterflied leg on the grill.  The lamb takes between 16-20 minutes to cook.  The important thing to note when grilling butterflied leg of lamb is to not over cook it.  This is easliy done, so keep a close eye on it as it cooks, turning frequently so that the outsides don’t get too blackened.     I prefer my lamb to be slightly pink in the middle, but you can see from the photo that the lamb was cooked slightly more than that  (comfortably medium rather than medium rare).  When cooked to medium rare, the internal temperature of the lamb should be about 145 degrees F. When cooked to medium it will be about 160 degrees F.  Depending on how hot the grill is, and how thick the lamb is, it could take 8 minutes per side.  Just keep watching it!  When cooked to perfection, transfer lamb to a cutting board.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes before slicing.

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