Lamb is to Easter what turkey is to Thanksgiving. It’s tradition, expected and all too often, it’s just average. Not this time! This time, I’m embracing tradition while adding a twist by slow-grilling a bone-in leg of lamb to tender, juicy perfection.
This year, our family’s set to host Easter and I know I won’t want to be stuck inside cooking all day while everyone else is outside enjoying the day. Enter my Professional™ TRU-Infrared™ Gas Grill and a six-pound, grass-fed leg of lamb. You’re probably wondering if bone-in makes a difference, and my answer is a big Y-E-S. Not only does a bone-in leg cost less than the alternative, but it’s usually more flavorful, yielding more medium-rare slices than a butterflied leg, and, of course, offers a showstopper presentation! After all, few things can get an appetite going like a perfectly frenched bone attached to giant hunk of meat, firing away on the grill.
My favorite way to prepare lamb for a springtime feast is with tons of fresh herbs and garlic, as well as a sweet and tangy combination of citrus. This marinade bursts with rosemary, mint, lemon/orange zest and juice, garlic for days, a splash of white wine, extra-virgin olive oil, a bit of brown sugar, a hint of cumin and plenty of salt and pepper. It smells so fresh and springy while marinating in the refrigerator that every time I open the door, I’m reminded a serious lamb take down is just around the corner.
Remember, when you’re preparing a large roast of any kind, it’s always a good idea to make a few cuts in the top of the meat to allow the marinade to infuse the meat; Keeping the marinade to the surface only allows the flavor to penetrate so far. Another trick to bump up the flavor while grilling is to mix your remaining marinade with a stick of melted butter, and then use it to baste the meat while it cooks. With this leg of lamb, I like to set a timer to turn and baste every fifteen minutes or so. When using the Char-Broil Professional™ TRU-Infrared™ Gas Grill, I had absolutely zero flare-ups and the temperature remained so steady and even, my lamb was perfectly cooked in just one hour. To get the perfect level of doneness for your taste, I suggest starting to check it at the 45-minute mark.
- 1, 5-6 lb. bone-in leg of lamb, frenched and trimmed (ask your butcher)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 minced fresh mint
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 8-10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 of a large English cucumber, grated
- 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Fat side up, use a sharp knife to create 1 inch long, ½ inch deep cuts every 2 inches or so.
- Place the lamb in a shallow casserole dish, and cover with marinade. Use your hands to massage the garlic and herbs into the meat, making sure to tuck some down inside the cuts.
- Cover and let marinate at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- For the dipping sauce, drain all of the water you can from the grated cucumber by squeezing it tightly using cheesecloth or a clean dishtowel.
- Combine the yogurt, garlic, oil, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cucumber and dill. Stir to combine and set aside. This can be done the day before and kept in the refrigerator.
- Take lamb out of refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking to come to room temperature. Melt a stick of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Pour marinade from lamb into the saucepan and simmer on low. You will use this butter/marinade mixture to baste the lamb as often as you turn it.
- Turn all of the burners of your Professional™ TRU-Infrared™ Gas Grill to high heat for 15 minutes. After that, turn the middle burner(s) off and lower the heat of the outer burners to medium.
- Place lamb, fat-side up, in the middle of the grill over the indirect heat. Grill covered for approximately 1 hour, rotating and basting often. Start checking temperature at 45 minutes, and cook until an internal thermometer reaches 135-140 degrees. This is for medium-rare to medium. Continue to cook if you desire more doneness.
- Serve with tzatziki sauce.