Grilling is our favorite way to cook lamb. Lamb lends itself to the grill like no other meat. Perhaps it’s because lamb’s essential earthiness stands up to the smoke and char, yet its fat protects the meat. Whatever it is, there is nothing better than coming home on a summer night and throwing a butterflied leg of lamb on the grill. And we know plenty of people who grill straight through winter, too.
Rub it with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and you’ve got a fantastic dinner in 20 minutes — or try this Indian-style rub. Just remember, lamb is a fatty meat, so beware of flare-ups: always watch your meat closely, and move it to the top rack if you feel that it is getting done too fast or runs the risk of burning.
2 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 tsps. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
1 1/2 tsps. coarse salt, plus more for serving
1 tsp. peeled grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for the grill
1 (5- to 6-pound) boneless, butterflied leg of lamb, untied (ask your butcher to do this for you or DIY — we describe how to on page 123 of The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat; you can also buy bone-out leg of lamb)
- In a small, heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium heat, combine the garam masala, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper. Toast the spices, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn them, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the spices turn a shade darker. This releases the aromatic oils and improves the flavor of the rub. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and transfer the spices to a glass or metal bowl.
- Add the salt, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar to the toasted spices and mix thoroughly. While stirring, slowly add the oil until a thick paste forms.
- Score the meat by making small cuts all over the fat side of the lamb. Rub the lamb with the spice paste and place it in a glass or ceramic dish or a plastic bag.
- Let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator.
- Remove from the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes before grilling.
- Heat a grill to medium. Lightly oil the grates. Grill the lamb, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 120 degrees F for medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes per side.
- Remove the lamb from the grill. Sprinkle it with additional salt and pepper, tent it loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the lamb and serve.