Grilled Leg of Lamb, Sam's Way



This lamb recipe comes from a feast that Mark Bittman and Sam Sifton prepared in Charleston, S.C. They found good lamb and decided to cook it two different ways, braised and grilled, to bring different textures and flavors to the plate — and also to nod to the tradition of the paschal lamb in Jewish and Christian springtime traditions.

Serve with


  • 4cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 2tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 1boneless leg of lamb, 5 to 6 pounds, butterflied
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2handfuls pecan shells, or wood chips, soaked in water


  1. Combine the garlic, rosemary and olive oil in a bowl. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, then massage with the garlic and rosemary mixture and put the meat in the bowl. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Allow it to come to room temperature, approximately 30 minutes. Meanwhile, build a fire in your grill, leaving 1/3 of the cooking area free of coals.
  3. When the fire is hot, sprinkle the pecan shells or wood chips over the fire and place the lamb fat side down. Sear each side of the lamb for approximately 4 minutes each, then remove the lamb to the side of the grill without coals and roast, covered, for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Tent in foil for 10 to 15 minutes, and serve.

Originally published in The New York Times Grilled Leg of Lamb, Sam's Way, by Mark Bittman And Sam Sifton