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Greek-Style Slow-Grilled Leg of Lamb

Photo: Oxmoor House


Hands-on time 50 mins
Total time 7 hrs, 30 mins
Yield Serves 12 (serving size: about 3 ounces lamb, 4 slices tomato, 1 slice onion, and about 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce)
Greeks prefer their lamb cooked through--as in well done. It's not a dry, unpleasant well done, mind you, but from a long, low and slow dry heat that results in a significant (often deeply seasoned and lemony) exterior crust, and an almost fork-tender interior. Things will shrink, but flavors will also concentrate. Turn the lamb fairly frequently. Meat juices will stay in motion, and you'll get an evenly moist interior.


  • 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, netted
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated yellow onion
  • 1 cup cucumber juice (from 1 cucumber grated and squeezed or processed in a juicer)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • a few grindings of black pepper
  • 6 large heirloom tomatoes, each cut into 8 slices

Nutrition Information

  • calories 222
  • fat 8.6 g
  • satfat 3.5 g
  • monofat 2.9 g
  • polyfat 0.7 g
  • protein 26 g
  • carbohydrate 10 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 76 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 296 mg
  • calcium 54 mg

How to Make It

  1. Place the lamb leg in a large baking dish. Pierce the lamb in about as many equally spaced slits as you have slices of garlic. (No need to count them. You're cooking.) Slide the garlic into the pockets.

  2. PREP THE MARINADE Combine the grated onion, cucumber juice, parsley, lemon juice, oil, oregano, and thyme in a medium bowl.

  3. Pour the onion mixture over the lamb leg and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably longer--as long as 24 hours.

  4. GET READY TO GRILL... If you have a rotisserie-type contraption for your grill, fantastic. If not, don't sweat it. Ready your grill for low-slow cooking over indirect heat. Charcoal is ideal. Gas, in this instance, is perfectly acceptable.

  5. ...AND GRILL

  6. Remove the lamb from the marinade and discard the marinade. Rub with 1 teaspoon

  7. of the salt. Place the lamb leg on the grill over indirect, medium-low heat. Cover and cook 1 1/2 hours, turning every 15 minutes or so.

  8. Fan the onion slices on the unheated side of the grill over indirect heat. Place the lamb on top of the onions, allowing them to slowly cook--all the while being basted by the lamb.

  9. Cook the lamb, covered, another hour, turning every 15 minutes. Remember, spit-style Greek lamb is typically cooked well done and beyond, until the leg is nearly fork-tender.

  10. Remove the lamb and the onions from the grill, allowing the lamb to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

  11. Remove the netting and carve the lamb into thin slices, reserving at least 1/4 cup of the juices for stirring into the yogurt sauce.


  13. To prepare the sauce, combine the Greek yogurt, the red wine vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the reserved lamb juices in a small bowl.

  14. Fan the tomatoes on a large serving platter followed by the onions, followed by the sliced lamb, followed by the yogurt sauce.

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