No need to wait for a holiday to enjoy lamb. This Grilled Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce is prepared on the grill in less than 25 minutes!
When you think of cooking a leg of lamb, what images come to mind? Perhaps you envision an Easter feast, with dad proudly bringing a giant platter of lamb to the family table a la Chevy Chase in Christmas vacation. Or maybe you recall the scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Toula tells her mother her boyfriend is a vegetarian. After overcoming her initial shock, her mother loudly declares, “That’s ok! I make lamb!”
I have always associated lamb with special occasions. I assumed it was far too labor intensive for an average weeknight. When I envisioned myself making a leg of lamb, it looked like a black and white infomercial starring me, hopelessly confused and lost, trying to figure out how to cook, carve, and serve this strange hunk of meat.
But the truth is, cooking a leg of lamb can be as simple and worry-free as any other piece of meat. In fact, this method for making Grilled Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce requires less than 25 minutes on the grill and delivers a super tender, flavorful piece of meat you can enjoy any night of the week.
The key to a quick and easy grilled leg of lamb is to have it butterflied. I recommend buying American lamb from your local butcher, who will happily do the work of butterflying the lamb for you. You’ll be left with a long strip of boneless lamb that has a standard thickness, which allows for quick and even cooking.
You could marinate the lamb in any number of combinations of herbs and spices, but I’m a complete sucker for lamb and mint. I chose to marinate the lamb overnight in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, mint, and fresh rosemary. It’s a bright and refreshing garden mix, perfect for a summer gathering.
When you’re ready to grill the lamb, simply take it out of the marinade, thread a few skewers along the length of the leg to help it stay together, then toss it on a hot grill. The outside will get a lovely char, while the inside stays tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Like steak, the lamb benefits from a short rest before being sliced and served.
The flavor of the lamb can really stand on it’s own, but I love to finish it with a classic mint sauce. It may sound strange at first to combine a slightly sweet mint sauce with meat, but trust me on this one, it is an ideal compliment. The tangy sweet sauce cuts the richness of the lamb and gives the whole dish a fresh, summery flavor. Pair it with a pale ale that’s bold enough to stand up to the flavor of the lamb, but also has just a little bit of caramel to bring out the sweetness in the sauce.
If you’re looking to try lamb for yourself for the first time, I highly recommend finding a local butcher where you can buy American lamb. American lamb is sustainably raised by local farmers, and typically has a more tender, less gamey taste than lamb coming from other countries. It’s a great choice for those who may be intimidated by the strong flavor of lamb, and also a wonderful way to support your local farmers.
For more information about American Lamb, you can check out the American Lamb Board’s website and head over to their contest page where you can vote on your favorite Brews + Ewes grilling recipe and enter for a chance to win the ultimate lamb grilling package!
You don’t have to be a member of the Portokalos family to enjoy some fabulous lamb. Grab some friends, a few good beers, and your grill, and you’ll have a feast worthy of a celebration in no time at all.
For the marinade:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 4-5 lb. boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
For the sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
For the marinade:
- In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mint leaves, and rosemary. Add the marinade to a large ziplock bag or casserole dish. Add the leg of lamb and turn it to make sure the marinade is evenly distributed. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature while the grill preheats to medium high. Skewer the meat lengthwise (I used four long metal skewers) to help it stay together on the grill. Place the meat on the preheated grill, brush with additional marinade and cook until internal temperature reaches desired doneness (Rare: 125 degrees; Medium rare: 135 degrees; Medium: 145 degrees) I recommend medium rare for lamb, which will take 8-12 minutes per side.
- When the lamb is at the correct temperature, remove it to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.
For the sauce:
- While the lamb grills, whip up the sauce. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, hot water, salt, and black pepper until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the mint and vinegars until well combined. To serve, slice the lamb into thin strips across the grain then spoon over mint sauce. Serve warm.
This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep NeighborFood ticking!