Lemon thyme and fennel butterflied leg of lamb

  • Serves 6
  • Hands on time 5 mins, 25-30 mins barbecue time, plus 1-24 hours marinating and 5 mins resting
  • Easy
This butterflied leg of lamb recipe is fantastic as a summer Sunday lunch. The marinade for this barbecued dish will work well with any type of red meat, poultry or fish.

Nutritional info per serving

  • Calories783kcals
  • Fat43.1g (2.2g saturated)
  • Protein71.2g
  • Carbohydrates30.5g (0.7g sugars)
  • Salt0.9g

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  • 2.5kg good-quality leg of lamb, butterflied (ask your butcher to do this for you), trimmed of fat
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 6 lemon thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • Pared zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Maldon sea salt flakes
  • ½ tsp coarsely crushed black peppercorns
  • Chunky chips, to serve


  1. Cut and open up any thicker areas of meat so that it is all about 4-5cm thick. Mix all the other ingredients (apart from the chips) together in a large shallow dish, add the lamb and coat well. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, or chill and marinate for up to 24 hours.
  2. If using a charcoal barbecue, light about 30 minutes before you want to cook. For a gas barbecue, preheat 10 minutes beforehand.
  3. Lift the lamb out of the dish, let the excess oily marinade drain away, then lay on the barbecue. Cook over a direct high heat for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally and moving away from any flare-ups, until well-coloured but pink and juicy in the middle. Test by making a cut in the thickest part and check if cooked to your liking or test by pushing in a meat thermometer – it should read 60°C. Cook for longer if you like.
  4. Transfer the lamb to a board, cover and rest for 5 minutes. Carve into thick slices and serve with chunky chips.
  • ‘Butterflied’ lamb is so-called because when the bone is removed from the leg and the meat is opened out, the shape resembles a butterfly’s wings. Cooking temperature: direct high heat.

From June 2008

Main Ingredients:

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