Smoked Leg of Lamb with Gremolata Sauce

smoked leg of lamb with gremolata sauce

This Tuscany inspired smoked leg of lamb recipe could easily replace the prime rib at your next family gathering or holiday dinner. The slow smoke roasting process uses oak wood to create incredible flavor that your crowd is going to love, at half the price of prime rib. 

Don’t be afraid to try this smoked leg of lamb recipe if you have a gas grill, it can absolutely be done. See my tips below for that.

Cranking the temperature at the end of the cook creates a perfect internal doneness while developing a beautiful and flavorful crust. It really is a trophy meat and a show stopping centerpiece for any dinner table.

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Is Lamb Meat Good For Smoking?

In short, lamb meat is excellent for smoking. It’s often overlooked when you think about smoking meat, regularly playing second fiddle to pork, beef, or even fish.

I highly encourage those who haven’t tried to smoke lamb to give it a shot. It takes smoke very well and the flavors of mild smoke and lamb are made for one another.

sliced smoked leg of lamb

How Long Does It Take To Smoke a Leg of Lamb?

A typical leg of lamb is a pretty large piece of meat, but it cooks to a beautiful medium rare rather quickly. For a five to seven pound bone in leg of lamb, (or boneless leg of lamb), plan on between 90 minutes and two hours.

leg of lamb on a cooling rack

This is enough time to get some great smoke flavor and color on the meat, and results in a medium rare finish — preferable for lamb. For a medium finish, you should add ten to twelve minutes to the cooking time.

What Is The Best Wood To Smoke Lamb?

The best wood is subjective of course. I prefer oak for its well balanced and subtle flavors. I’ve also used hickory, pecan and apple, and all have turned out great results.

Having said that, I don’t recommend mesquite for lamb. That is a personal preference, others may enjoy it. I feel like mesquite is “too big” for lamb and the flavors don’t play well together.

pile of oak wood for smoking meat near a grill

Tips For Smoking Leg of Lamb

The Herbs: In recipes like homemade buttermilk ranch, I advocate for dried herbs. That’s not the case here, use fresh herbs if possible.
Cooling Rack: Placing the lamb on a wire cooling rack makes it convenient to put on and take off the grill.
Using a Gas Grill: Simply place a smoking tube of wood chips or pellets over an active burner on the grill grate. These will smolder and put off a pleasant wood smoke that will greatly enhance the flavor of the lamb.
Temperature Increase: For a gas grill this is as simple as turning a knob. For a charcoal grill, you’ll want to open all the vents and the lid. The increased airflow will stoke the coals and temperature will increase rapidly.
Leftovers: Highly recommended that you use any leftovers for these incredible lamb sliders.

unsliced smoked leg of lamb

How To Make Smoked Leg of Lamb Recipe

Serves: 10-12 | Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 90 mins

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb, semi boneless 7 pounds

Herb Paste:
3 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
Juice from one lemon
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp olive oil

Gremolata:
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Zest from one lemon
Juice from half a lemon
¾ cup olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

Step 1: In a mixing bowl, combine the herb paste ingredients and mix together, set aside. 

Step 2: Using butcher’s twine, tie a series of tight loops every one to two inches around the leg of lamb. This will help the lamb maintain its shape and cook evenly while it’s on the grill. 

Step 3: Place the leg of lamb on a large piece of plastic wrap, rubbing the paste over the entire surface of the lamb. Wrap the lamb tightly with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for three to five hours. 

Step 4: Remove the lamb from the refrigerator, unwrap it while it’s still cold, and allow it to sit out at room temperature while you prepare your grill. 

Step 5: Light your grill and set up for two zone cooking, and add one large oak wood chunk to the hot coals. Establish temperature in the indirect zone at 250°F as indicated by a reliable leave in thermometer.

chunk of oak wood on hot coals in a grill

Step 6:  Insert a reliable leave-in meat thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb and place it on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid on your grill and allow the lamb to slow roast and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 110°F, about one hour and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the leg of lamb. 

leg of lamb on a grill

Step 7: While the lamb is roasting, combine all ingredients for the gremolata in a small bowl and whisk together. Allow it to sit at room temperature until served.

Step 8: When the lamb has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest.

smoked leg of lamb just off the grill

While the lamb is resting, increase indirect heat on the grill to 425°F. Return the lamb to the grill, close the lid  and allow it to roast for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, or until the lamb reaches 130°F internal temperature.

Step 9: Remove the lamb from the grill, loosely tent it with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for ten minutes before slicing and serving with gremolata.

sliced smoked leg of lamb on a cutting board
sliced smoked leg of lamb

Smoked Leg Of Lamb with Gremolata Sauce

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • 1 6-7 lb semi boneless leg of lamb

Herb Paste

  • 3 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • zest and juice from one lemon

Gremolata

  • 1 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • zest and juice from ½ lemon

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the herb paste ingredients and mix together, set aside.
  • Using butcher's twine, tie a series of tight loops every one to two inches around the leg of lamb. This will help the lamb maintain its shape and cook evenly while it’s on the grill.
  • Place the leg of lamb on a large piece of plastic wrap, rubbing the paste over the entire surface of the lamb. Wrap the lamb tightly with plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for three to five hours.
  • Remove the lamb from the refrigerator, unwrap it while it’s still cold, and allow it to sit out at room temperature while you prepare your grill.
  • Light your grill and set up for two zone cooking, and add one large oak wood chunk to the hot coals. Establish temperature in the indirect zone at 250°F as indicated by a reliable leave in thermometer.
  • Insert a reliable leave-in meat thermometer into the thickest part of the lamb and place it on the grill over indirect heat. Close the lid on your grill and allow the lamb to slow roast and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 110°F, about one hour and 20 minutes, depending on the size of the leg of lamb.
  • While the lamb is roasting, combine all ingredients for the gremolata in a small bowl and whisk together. Allow it to sit at room temperature until served.
  • When the lamb has reached the desired temperature, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest. While the lamb is resting, increase indirect heat on the grill to 425°F. Return the lamb to the grill, close the lid  and allow it to roast for an additional 10 – 15 minutes, or until the lamb reaches 130°F internal temperature.
  • Remove the lamb from the grill, loosely tent it with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for ten minutes before slicing and serving with gremolata.

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