Lamb By the Leg

barbecue-butterflied-leg-of-lambI confess I’m not a great lover of lamb. I do enjoy the occasional lamb chop but I’ve pretty much avoided the leg. Nothing against legs mind you, it just seemed like a very large piece of meat.

But on a holiday, it does seem to be the thing to do, so this Easter I secured a leg and decided to give it a try.

There is nothing much to cooking a leg of lamb actually. It turned out quite simple. We liked it fine, and I have plenty in the freezer to make ragu’s of varying kinds in the up-coming months.

So when the right holiday comes along, do give it a try. Like many recipes, one should make it at least once in a life time. And if you find it grand, well, you have found a new friend!


  • 1 6-8 lb leg of lamb
  • 1 c white wine
  • 1/2 c orange juice (or substitute 1/4 c of lemon juice)
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. If you leg is bone in, place in a plastic bag. If boneless, tie it up with twine before placing it in the plastic bag.
  2. Mix the balance of the ingredients together and then pour into the bag, massaging the marinade so that the leg is well covered.
  3. Refrigerate for a good six hours, or longer up to about 12 or so. Turn the bag over when you think of it.
  4. Remove the bag from the refrigerator about two hours before cooking to bring it to room temperature.
  5. Preheat the oven to 475-500°.
  6. Place the leg on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. (Line with foil to help the cleanup)
  7. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes, turn over and roast another 10 minutes.
  8. Reduce the temperature to 325°.
  9. Roast until you get an internal temperature of 135° which is the high side of medium rare. Do not overcook or it will be dry.
  10. You should figure about 10-15 minutes per pound. Start checking after the first hour, but remember, that once it starts to move up, the temperature will usually move up fast, so do pay attention.
  11. When it is at the temperature you wish, (125° would be rare), remove the roast and allow to sit tented with foil for about 20-30 minutes before carving.

Serves: 10

NOTES: You can vary the herbs a bit if you wish. And plenty of people don’t care for the citrus marinade so you can omit it if you wish. If you do I would make small slits in the meat and insert the slivers of garlic and herbs that way. Or mince your garlic and make a light paste of olive oil and the herbs and garlic and spread that on the meat before placing in the oven.