Rotisserie Bone In Leg of Lamb (Moroccan style)

Ever since I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I've wanted to cook a bone in leg of lamb on my rotisserie.*

*The scene where Toula's in-laws are visiting for the first time, pull up, and see the whole lamb on the rotisserie in the front yard.

**Yes, it's true. When I'm watching a movie, what I'm thinking is "Hmm. When can I cook that?"

Unfortunately, I don't have a big enough grill for an entire lamb, so I had to make do with just a bone-in lamb leg.

Recipe: Rotisserie bone in leg of lamb, Moroccan style

  • Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit 650 with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here it is.)
  • Aluminum foil drip pan (9"x11", or whatever fits your grill)

  • 3 to 4 lb Butt end leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
Lemon and olive oil:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Salt and Rub: Sprinkle the roast with the kosher salt, covering completely; try to get more salt on the thicker part of the roast. Crush the rub spices until coarsely ground, then rub all over the roast. Try to get the rub ingredients in any seams in the meat as deep as you can. Let the roast rest for 24-96 hours in the refrigerator; if you don't have enough time to do that, salt and rub the roast a couple of hours before cooking.

2. Tie and rest at room temperature: 2-4 hours before cooking, remove the roast from the refrigerator, and truss it - tie it tightly, every 1.5", making sure there are no loose, floppy parts for when you're on the rotisserie. Rub lamb all over with lemon juice, then the olive oil. Skewer the lamb leg as close to the bone as you can.

3. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for rotisserie cooking at high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turning the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)

4. Cook the lamb: Put the spit on the grill, and start the rotisserie. Cook with the lid closed, until the lamb is 130*F in the thickest part for medium, 120*F for medium-rare, and 115*F for rare. (Unlike beef, I prefer my lamb to be medium). This should take about an hour, depending on the size of the lamb leg and the heat of your grill; assume roughly 15 minutes per pound. Start checking the lamb's temperature at 30 minutes, and watch out for the bone and the spit - they can throw the reading off.

5. Rest and carve: Remove lamb leg from the grill, and let rest at least 15 minutes before carving. Remove trussing string, carve into 1/4" to 1/2" thick slices, and serve.

*Fresh herb rub: Instead of the spices, use a combination of fresh thyme, oregano, and rosemary (about 1 tbsp combined - don't go heavy on the rosemary, though, it's a strong flavor).

*Provencal: Use Herbes de Provence and Dijon mustard instead of the spice rub.

*Tapenade: Skip the spice rub, and use 1/4 cup of tapenade instead of the olive oil.

*Greek: Replace rub with 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp fresh oregano, and the zest of 1/2 lemon. Just before rubbing the roast with the olive oil, rub it with the juice of the lemon.

*Fancy herb basting brush: Make a brush out of a bunch of woody herbs - rosemary, thyme, oregano, or some combination of them, tied together to form a brush. Baste the lamb every 10 minutes with olive oil, or a lemon/olive oil vinagrette, or the drippings in the drip pan using this brush. Note that this will extend the cooking time a bit.*
* doesn't seem to help the flavor that much, at least to me. I'd rather put the herbs in the rub instead. It sure looks impressive, though, so if you want to look like you're the master of the grill, give it a try.

*I served this with couscous, and a tomato and onion salad with a lemony vinaigrette.

*Leftovers make great Gyros. Cut the lamb into thin slices, slice some red onion, make some tzatziki sauce, and buy a pack of pita bread. I've already got this on our meal plan for later in the week.

*My butcher removed the shank bone from the leg of lamb for me. This made it easer to skewer, because there was just the leg bone running in one direction. This did leave me with a floppy piece of meat at the end of the roast that I had to carefully tie when I was trussing, to make sure it didn't flop around while the rotisserie was running.

*If you don't remove the shank bone, it results in a "dog-leg" turn in the bone. Here's a link to carving a lamb leg if the shank is not removed.

*How to skewer a bone in leg of lamb, in pictures:

The bone runs where the skewer is in this picture

Run the skewer through just next to the bone, on the thicker side of the meat, trying to hit center mass

Voila! Skewered right through the middle.

*The lamb cooks quickly because of the skewer - it conducts heat into the middle of the roast. Also, you pull it off sooner than you usually would, because the carry-over heat from the skewer will help finish it. Here's the Time and Temp chart for my 4lb roast -
20 min - 61*F
30 min - 75*F
40 min - 95*F
50 min - 115*F (Pulled it at 55 min, assuming I'd be about 120*F. The thin end was well done; thick end was medium; see picture at top.)

*If at all possible, do the early salting! This was the most flavorful leg of lamb I've ever cooked, and I think the early salting had a lot to do with it.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Rotisserie Boneless Leg of Lamb with Greek Brinerade
Rotisserie Leg of Lamb Provencal
Click here for my other rotisserie recipes.

Inspired by:
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

How to Grill by Steven Raichlen

The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers (pre-salting works wonders!)

Weber Summit w/ Infrared Rotisserie Burner

Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It's a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!

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