Flavours of warm al fresco dining
Summer is on its way and what better way to feel summery than barbecued Greek-style butterflied lamb.
PREP TIME: 5 mins + overnight marinading
COOKING TIME: 25 mins
DIFFICULTY: easy (*this recipe can be done in an oven to)
IDEAL FOR: one-pot meal, family, crowd-pleaser, barbecue
WINE PAIRING TIP: Suzie (Michael Sutton’s Cellar) has suggested some blinders for this lovely lamb dish.
The Rhône Le Sabounet Roger Sabon, has juicy fruit and a ripe flavours and goes perfectly with lamb.
And for a little more budget the Domaine Yves Cuilleron Syrah, Rhone Valley has flavours of crushed blackcurrants and black pepper with luscious raspberry and cherry flavours. Yum.
Summer = barbecued Greek-style butterflied lamb
We may not be able to jump on a plane to Greece (or anywhere else in Europe this summer).
But we can get out in our gardens, down to the beach or into a park with a BBQ.
Light her up and get the sweet smells of the Med cooking away on a hot British summers day.
The thing is, there actually isn’t anything better than a perfect British summers day.
After months of cold and dark (and this year, lockdowns), you really do appreciate summer.
And when the weather does turn-out in England, it’s stunning!
Everyone is extremely cheerful, the beer gardens are buzzing with happy sunburnt faces.
The beaches and parks are full of laughter and gentle puffs of BBQ smoke drifting up into the cloudless blue summers sky.
And this recipe, has the perfect cut of lamb to make any barbecuing, on a large or small BBQ, pretty easy.
(If course, you can easily do this lamb in your oven as well 😉
What is butterflied lamb leg
It’s simply the bone removed so the meat lies flat.
And this means the lamb will cook faster than if it was still on the bone like a roast.
It also means, you can add lots of different flavours by marinading it.
You can ask the butcher to butterfly a leg of lamb or even a half leg.
Or you can do it yourself.
Learn how to butterfly a leg of lamb yourself
Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a lovely butterflied lamb to grill.
If you can, try to prepare your lamb the day before you want to cook it.
- Put the leg, meatier side down, on a large chopping board and use your fingers to locate the bone.
- Keeping your knife as close to the bone as possible, cut along one edge to completely reveal it.
- Now, cut right around the bone as close to it as possible, then remove it.
- Lay the lamb flat on a chopping board, fat-side down. With your knife, make an incision halfway into the flesh, where the meat is thicker, then open it out like a book.
- You should now have a flat piece of lamb with a pretty even thickness throughout.
- Cut away excess fat and sinew, if necessary but remember fat is flavour & helps lock in moisture so don’t get carried away.
- * if it’s really uneven, you can lay a piece of cling film over the meat and bash the surface with a rolling pin to flatten it slightly*
- Marinade the lamb and stick in the fridge overnight (or for at least 3 hrs before cooking).
- nb: You can cook this by barbecue or in the oven.
Best lamb cuts for the barbecue
If you don’t fancy a leg of lamb, not to worry.
Lamb is a great meat to BBQ with its strong flavour.
And the best cuts to use on the grill are loin, rump, ribs (and leg).
The best way to cook lamb is by firstly tenderising it with a marinade.
You can give it a little pounding first e.g. the butterflied leg before marinading.
The marinade is best done overnight but that’s not always possible so aim for at least 3 hrs.
Simple marinades work best such as olive oil with mint, lemon or garlic.
And when you place it on the grill, put a good coating of oil over it first as lamb tends to stick more.
Other flavours to use on lamb are basil, thyme, rosemary, pepper, dry mustard and curry powder.
Just have a little play with flavours.
Tzatziki – perfect with barbecued Greek-style lamb
- ½ cucumber, halved and deseeded
- 170g pot Greek yoghurt
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- handful mint leaves, chopped
Coarsely grate the cucumber, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and squeeze out all the liquid.
Tip into a bowl with the yogurt, garlic and mint, and mix well.
Barbecued Greek Style Butterflied Lamb
- 1 butterflied leg of lamb
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 3 large garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 zest of lemon
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Mix all the marinade ingredients into a large zip bag, then add the lamb and massage the marinade into the meat. Place in the fridge overnight (or min. 3 hrs)
- Take the lamb out of the fridge an hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
- Once your BBQ is hot and ready to cook on, place the lamb on the grill fat side down and cook for approx 15 mins. Then turn over and cook for another 10 mins. I use a meat thermometer to help so you're aiming for 57°C / 135°F for medium-rare. Don't stress if thinner parts are cooked a little more.
- Take off the grill, loosely cover with foil, and rest for at least 10 mins before serving.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Brown the lamb first in a frypan.
- Roast for 22 – 25 minutes or until 57°C / 135°F for medium-rare.