I love lamb. And I love to roast large chunks of meat (for the ease of preparation and for the leftovers). So, leg of lamb is a fairly regular occurrence in our house. It is also a fairly cost effective meat, typically much cheaper than beef and only slightly more expensive than pork (especially if you stick with leg roasts). I have made this recipe both with the deboned leg roasts sold for $4 per pound at my local Costco and with the bone-in grass-fed lamb roasts sold for $9 per pound by my local farmer (GrassFedTraditions and US Wellness Meats also sell leg of lamb). I think the flavor is better with grass-fed (and it’s clearly healthier), but it isn’t always within my budget. I typically find roasts in the 4-5 pound range, but this recipe could easily scale up or down (you’ll just have to adjust the cooking time accordingly). This is another one of those recipes that is better the longer you let the roast “marinate” with the seasonings, but it’s also good if you don’t have time and just pop it straight into the oven.
I prefer bone-in leg of lamb roasts when I can find them. I think the flavor is better when the meat is cooked around the bone, and the marrow in the bone is so luxurious (I have been known to suck it out with a straw) that it’s worth the sacrifice of a little less meat on my roast. I advise using an oven-safe meat thermometer here to make sure you get your roast done perfectly to your liking. Serves 6-8.
- 4-5 pound Leg of Lamb (boneless or bone in)
- Zest of 2 Lemons (about 2 Tbsp)
- ¼ cup Finely Chopped Fresh Oregano (measured after chopping; or use 3 Tbsp Dried Oregano)
- 5-6 cloves Fresh Garlic, crushed
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp cracked Pepper
1. Combine lemon zest, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub over entire surface of the leg of lamb roast. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, overnight is preferable.
2. Preheat oven to 250F.
3. Unwrap roast and place fat side up on a roasting pan (there’s usually one side of the roast with a thicker fat layer or fat cap). An oven-safe meat thermometer is fantastic for making sure your roast is cooked perfectly to your liking. Make sure to check it at least a half an hour before you think your roast should be done.
4. Bake in the oven for 3-3½ hours for rare (or internal temperature of 130-135F), 3½ -4 hours for medium-rare (internal temperature of 140-145F), or 4-4½ hours for medium (or internal temperature of 150-155F). (Internal temperature goals are 5F below the goal temperature because of the next step)
5. Turn oven onto broil. Broil roast for 5-7 minutes to create a nice crispy top.
6. Remove roast from oven and cover with tin foil. Let roast rest 10-20 minutes before slicing and serving.