Herb Crusted Grilled Leg of Lamb
Impress your guests with our herb crusted grilled leg of lamb recipe. Tender, juicy, and bursting with flavors. Elevate your grilling game now!
When it comes to grilling, there’s nothing quite as impressive and delectable as a perfectly cooked herb crusted grilled leg of lamb. This succulent dish is a showstopper that will have your guests oohing and aahing over the divine flavors and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
This dish combines lamb with a medley of aromatic herbs, resulting in a flavor profile that is both complex and harmonious. The herb crust enhances the flavor of the meat in the best way.
Whether you’re planning a special occasion or simply want to indulge in a gourmet treat we will guide you through how to perfectly grill a tantalizing herb crusted grilled leg of lamb that will wow your family and friends.
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Table of contents
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Leg of lamb – You need to trim the excess fat from the leg of lamb and butterfly it to allow it to cook more evenly on the grill. We follow this same process for our sriracha grilled leg of lamb. If you want to simplify things, you can use our herb crusting method to make grilled lamb chops.
- Lamb Spice Rub – We used a spice rub similar to this but any brand of lamb rub will work. We suggest you choose one that isn’t described as spicy.
- Garlic – This is a must-have! Garlic enhances the flavor of the lamb.
- Lemon juice – This tangy juice brightens the flavor of the lamb and pairs well with fresh herbs.
- Parsley – This bright, green herb has an earthy, slightly tangy flavor.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro is best described as lemony and peppery.
- Unsalted butter – We like to use butter rather than oil as our fat because it sticks to the meat better and allows us to get a good coating over the whole piece of meat.
The Perfect Cut: Selecting a Pristine Leg of Lamb
Before we delve into the herb crust, let’s begin with the foundation of our dish—the leg of lamb itself. To ensure the utmost tenderness and flavor, it’s crucial to select a high-quality cut of meat. Look for a leg of lamb that is fresh, well-marbled, and preferably sourced from a reputable local butcher or specialty market.
When choosing a leg of lamb, you have the option of bone-in or boneless. While both options have their merits, we chose a boneless leg of lamb for this recipe and then we butterflied it to allow it to cook more evenly on the grill.
The Art of Herb Crusting: Elevating the Flavors
Selecting the Perfect Herb Combination
When it comes to creating the ideal herb crust, the possibilities are endless. However, certain herbs and spices pair exceptionally well with lamb, enhancing its natural richness and bringing out its best qualities. Consider using the following herbs and spices:
- Parsley: You’ll want to use flat-leafed or Italian parsley. It is a versatile herb that perfectly complements your herb crusted grilled leg of lamb. Known for its crisp texture and mild, slightly peppery flavor, parsley adds a delightful touch to your lamb dish.
- Cilantro: Cilantro, also known as coriander leaves, is a vibrant herb that adds a burst of fresh and citrusy flavor to your herb crusted grilled leg of lamb.
- Rosemary: A classic herb that complements the flavor of lamb beautifully, providing a slightly piney and aromatic note.
- Thyme: With its delicate and earthy flavor, thyme adds a layer of complexity to the herb crust.
- Mint: Known for its refreshing and bright taste, mint brings a burst of freshness to the lamb.
- Garlic: A staple in many savory dishes, garlic lends its robust and pungent flavor to the herb crust.
Note: We recommend fresh herbs for this dish but if fresh herbs are not readily available, dried herbs such as dried rosemary and thyme can be used as a substitute.
Creating the Herb Crust
To create the perfect herb crust, follow these simple steps:
- Pat the leg of lamb dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, combine the chopped herbs, minced garlic, lamb rub, salt, pepper, and softened butter. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Rub the herb mixture all over the surface of the lamb, ensuring an even coating.
- Allow the lamb to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
How to Grill Leg of Lamb
Step 1 – Preheat grill. Heat grill to 400 degrees F.
Step 2 – Add Herb Crust. Coat lamb in herb crust (see above).
Step 3 – Cook lamb. Place herb crusted leg of lamb on the grill and sear for 5 minutes on each side.
Close grill lid and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Step 4 – Rest. Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
Step 5 – Cut and serve. Carve the leg of lamb against the grain into thin slices, ensuring each piece showcases the succulent pink center.
This recipe is what convinced us of how delicious grilled lamb can be! Once you’ve been converted try our sriracha leg of lamb, Tandoori grilled lamb chops, or our Greek Sliders made with lamb burgers.
What Temperature Should Lamb Be Cooked to on the Grill?
The recommended internal temperature for cooking leg of lamb depends on the desired level of doneness. Here are the general guidelines for lamb:
- Medium-Rare: Cook the lamb to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). At this temperature, the meat will be pink and juicy, with a slightly rare center.
- Medium: Cook the lamb to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). This will result in a more cooked and slightly less pink center while still retaining juiciness.
- Well-Done: Cook the lamb to an internal temperature of 170°F (77°C) or higher. This will result in fully cooked meat with no pinkness. However, note that lamb is best enjoyed when not cooked beyond medium doneness to avoid dryness.
To ensure accurate temperature readings, it’s recommended to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb, away from any bones. This way, you can achieve your preferred level of doneness while ensuring the meat is safe to eat.
Remember to let the lamb rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute before carving and serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
While a leg of lamb is traditional for this dish, you can also experiment with other cuts such as lamb shoulder or lamb loin. Just keep in mind that cooking times may vary.
Yes, dried herbs can be used as a substitute if fresh herbs are not available. However, keep in mind that the flavor may be slightly different.
While it’s best to apply the herb crust just before grilling, you can prepare the herb mixture in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before applying it to the lamb to make it easier to get an even coating.
How to Store It
Proper storage is essential to maintain the freshness and quality of your herb crusted grilled leg of lamb. Here are some guidelines on how to store it effectively:
- Cooling and Resting: After grilling the lamb, allow it to cool for a short period at room temperature. This helps the juices to redistribute within the meat and enhances its flavor. It’s important to rest the lamb for about 15-20 minutes before storing to retain its juiciness.
- Refrigeration: Once the lamb has cooled and rested, transfer it to an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place the wrapped or covered lamb in the refrigerator promptly. Proper refrigeration is crucial to prevent bacterial growth and maintain food safety.
- Storage Time: Herb crusted grilled leg of lamb can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Beyond that time frame, the quality and flavor may deteriorate. It’s best to consume the leftovers within this period to enjoy them at their best.
- Labeling and Dating: To keep track of the storage time, label the container or wrapping with the date of preparation. This will help you easily identify when the lamb was cooked and determine its freshness.
- Freezing: If you have a larger amount of leftover herb crusted grilled leg of lamb or want to store it for an extended period, freezing is an option. Wrap the lamb tightly in freezer-safe wrap or place it in freezer bags, ensuring all air is squeezed out. Frozen lamb can be stored for up to 2-3 months without significant loss of quality.
- Thawing Frozen Lamb: When you’re ready to use the frozen lamb, it’s best to thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. This slow thawing process helps maintain the meat’s texture and quality. Alternatively, you can thaw the lamb in a sealed plastic bag submerged in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until fully thawed.
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Herb Crusted Grilled Leg of Lamb
- 2.5 pounds Boneless leg of lamb, butterflied and trimmed
- 1 tablespoon Lamb Spice Rub
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons Lemon juice
- ½ cup Finely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup Finely chopped cilantro
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted butter, softened
- Heat grill to 400 degrees F.
- Pat lamb dry with a paper towel.
- Combine butter, spice rub, garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro in a bowl and mix well.
- Coat butterflied leg of lamb in the herb butter.
- Place leg of lamb on the grill and sear for 5 minutes on each side.
- Close grill lid and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
- Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve the leg of lamb against the grain into thin slices, ensuring each piece showcases the succulent pink center.