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Advice on charcoal grilling boneless leg of lamb please!

There are only going to be three of us for Easter dinner, and since I won't have the pickiest of the picky kids here, I'm going to make Greek this year. Lamb, lemony rice pilaf and a huge greek salad.

Trouble is, I've never cooked lamb before. I picked up a boneless leg of lamb at Costco yesterday, it's about 4 1/2#. Is it possible to cut this in half and cook half of it over charcoal without incinerating it, or should I just cook the whole thing and make gyros later?

Thank you!

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  1. http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/gril...
    Yes, you certainly can cut your leg of lamb in half and cook it using a variety of methods, including charcoal grilling. When I use my charcoal grill for leg of lamb I take some time to stabilize the temperature and close the grill to provide an evenly heated environment (or at least as even as you might expect to achieve with a charcoal grill).

    1. Sure, you can do either (although gyros are not typically made from lamb in Greece -- more commonly beef or pork).

      The Greeks like their lamb well done -- VERY well done, to the point of it shredding and falling apart. You may or may not like it this way. You can quickly grill and have the interior be rare to medium rare, or you can cook over indirect heat (Best: Spit Roast) low and slow until it falls apart. Either way, you need little more than some Olive Oil, Lemon and Rosemary to baste with. Tip: Make a brush out of the Rosemary branch.

      1. For your first time grilling a leg of lamb, I would recommend opening it up so that you get a fairly even thickness. Since the leg has already been deboned, this should be fairly simple to do. Cut off the amount you want to cook for dinner. [I would select the area with the even thickness for this.]

        For a Greek-flavored lamb, rub with some garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and rosemary. I would do this several hours before you plan to cook. Don't add too much olive oil or you will get flare ups.

        1. Get a grill thermometer. One with a probe and a display connected by a cable. Most Americans and Europeans like their lamb rare to medium rare as acgold7 noted. Low and slow is indeed the key. I use a marinade of good olive oil, garlic, oregano, lemon juice and pepper, with a hint of salt. I have also studded the boneless leg with garlic. What I would do is grill it for a while to get a nice crust, then finish in the oven at about 225. Either way, this is one time when a thermometer is really a must. Well done lamb is fine for some dishes, but I generally prefer pretty rare (as does my wife and those friends I know who like lamb a lot).

          Oh, and here the Costco legs have a stretchy net. I am not sure what is in it so I remove it and use twine if I grill the leg.

          1. What kind of grill do you have?
            I'd suggest cooking it with indirect heat - not *over* the coals, but off to the side and with a closed lid. When its maybe 10 degrees below the desired doneness, grill it over the coals.

            11 Replies
            1. re: porker

              Just a regular Weber.

              Thank you all so much for the information!

              1. re: drummagick

                "Just a regular Weber" sounds so demeaning. Hehe - Webers are great for slow burning charcoal. Make the fire on one side (not very big) and lamb on the other. Close lid. Drink Greek wine. Add more charcoal if needed. Get more wine if needed. Voila.

                1. re: porker

                  After seeing grills at Lowes that look like the Starship Enterprise, our Weber looks a little...archaic.

                  Thanks again :)

                  1. re: drummagick

                    Some of the others may look like starships, but I'd bet that Scotty would choose the Weber - does more jobs better than most, and no need for fancy fuels, be they dilithium crystals or propane :-)

                    One of my Webers did a fine job today on a twice-smoked ham. Six hours on thirty or so briquettes, plus a few hardwood chunks.

                    How did the lamb turn out?

                    1. re: Cheez62

                      It was wonderful! I marinated it about 12 hours, olive oil, lemon, rosemary, oregano, garlic, salt. Cooked it off to the side from the coals for maybe an hour with the dampers mostly closed then opened everything up and finished it over the coals. It was done a bit more than pink, which is how we like it, but it absolutely ran juices. Excellent! Thanks to everyone for the advice!

                      1. re: Cheez62

                        If his choice of bbqs run along the same lines of women, I'm thinking cap'n kirk would choose a big green egg.....

                        1. re: porker

                          Haha, you are probably right! I'd choose one too, if I wanted to spend the cash....

                          1. re: Cheez62

                            But then again have a lookey here....it really is the starship enterprise bbq...


                            1. re: porker

                              That's great! "To boldly grill where no man has grilled before?"

                      2. re: drummagick

                        My father has a Starship on his patio in NH and we've thought of bringing up a mini Weber when we visit since they work so well. Glad the lamb worked out well. I sometimes use the trimming from a larger leg of lamb in the meat grinder to make lamb patties for another meal. I season the meat aggressively with salt, pepper, and cumin and cook them to just under medium. Good on a brioche bun. Best when the lamb is local. :)
                        Glad your meal turned out well!

                2. My husband frequently does the boneless leg of lamb on the grill, and recently he has begun segmenting the muscles of the piece of meat, and cooking each separately according to its thickness. It Works really well this way, and each part is done perfectly. Since a boneless leg of lamb is not so beautiful that you'd want to present it to your guests before carving, it really doesn't matter that it has been cooked in pieces.

                  1. I have been grilling Costco "bag o lamb" for years. One day before cooking I butterfly it to even it out, trim some of the fat, stud all over with thinly sliced garlic. I coarsely chop fresh herbs like flat parsley, mint, oregano or marjoram, rosemary, and lay on the meat, Splash with lemon juice or red wine and olive oil, roll up and put into a large zip lock bag, refrigerate over night, turn a few times. I remove most of the herbs before cooking and cook the meat side directly over medium coal, then move off flame for the fatty side, until rendered somewhat, then onto flame. Let it rest before slicing. We like the variability in doneness. I serve with Trader Joe's Tzaziki cucumber yoghurt sauce. Left overs (if there are any) are great.

                    I like the idea of finishing in a low oven (travelerjim), might try that next time.

                    1. whole indirect is great but I like it medium rare
                      or sometimes we cut it into chunks and make kabobs
                      or grind it and make kofte

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rasputina

                        A Greek family friend invited us to his home in Athens for a meal of Lamb some years ago. As we arrived early, he gave us step by step instuctions which went from mid-day on late into the evening.

                        First he inspected the Lamb and gave it a bath of two lemons, squeezed and juiced over the meat. It sat there for at least one hour. TrevelerJim's marinating recipe above was followed, with the inclusion of a bit of cinnamon (Canelle), and dried mint. Our host said one could either add garlic to the marinade, or even add rough copped garlic and tie it up into the lamb meat to be cooked. Ours was added to the marinade.

                        Hot coals and cool wine flowng, the lamb was spit roasted. A branch of rosemary was used as a basting tool , which added olive oil and marinade to the lamb while roasting. Nonetheless the lamb was blackened before removing, and then allowed to sit for 20 minutes. It was great, as was the evening.

                        I have since cooked this many times and it is consistently good. I have also used the rosemary branch basting method with fish and other meats in subsequent grillings, and it always adds a nice touch of flavour to the meal.

                        A natural, fragrant touch, and a good reason to grown rosemary.