Butterflied lamb

This happens to be one of my favourite dishes: beautifully tender lamb, butterflied, slightly pink, infused with mouthwatering garlic and rosemary together with a crisp outer skin. I can’t think of many dishes that smell better too – a winner in every way!


The first dish I ever cooked on the Big Joe was butterflied lamb. It was also the first recipe I cooked on this blog. I didn’t get many photos previously so I decided to give the dish another go (my father-in-law was also coming up and lamb happens to be his favourite).


It’s a pretty similar recipe with only a couple of changes; both work but this definitely produced better results. Let me know what you think?




leg of lamb

for the marinade:

4 tbsp olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

handful fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tsp lemon juice (I’ve used cyder vinegar in the past)




If you don’t want to, ask your butcher to butterfly the leg of lamb for you. But if you’re feeling adventurous then give it a go yourself – it’s not too hard and doing it yourself makes it so much more satisfying!

  • with a sharp but not too broad blade, cut the thinest part of the flesh towards the bone.butterflied-lamb-on-the-big-joe-4-www-butterwouldntmelt-com
  • keep cutting until the bone is removed, running your knife along and around the bone to free it up.butterflied-lamb-on-the-big-joe-5-www-butterwouldntmelt-com
  • every bit of meat is different so just take your time and make small cuts – it doesn’t matter if it’s not perfectly clean!
  • finally open your leg out, laying the meat flat on your surface. You are looking for as even a thickness as possible; if you have a really chunky section then cut an incision a little way into the meat half way through and open it up like a book again. If it’s only a little thicker cut little slices at regular intervals.
  • don’t waste the leftover shank – throw it into your freezer to make into stew later on.

Next, mix all the marinade ingredients together with plenty of seasoning.


Rub half into one side of the meat then flip it over and do the same with the other half.

Place into a large tray and cover with clingfilm before leaving to stand in the fridge for at least 2 hours (prepare the night before if you’re planning to cook it for lunch).

Light up your bbq and set it up for a direct cook between 180 – 200C, with the grill on the highest setting. I used a 3/4 load of charcoal, top vent closed with the daisy wheel fully open and the bottom vent 1/4-1/3 open.

While your bbq is coming up to temperature, take the lamb out of the fridge to warm to room temperature.


When you are ready to cook, run a couple of skewers through the meat – keeps it from curling during the cook and makes it much easier to handle.


Lay your meat on the grill over the coals.


In this cook I had the Joe set up for both indirect and direct heat as I had some leeks on the side.


After 10-15 minutes flip it over.


After a further 10 minutes check the internal temperature, it is ready when the reading is 54.5C (I tend to serve lamb a little pink, but this is a great guide to internal temperatures). 


Take it off the grill and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes before thinly slicing to serve.


I served it with a roasted leek, pancetta and crouton side!


A few more shots from the cook:





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