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How To Butterfly Lamb

There are several ways to barbecue leg of lamb. The easiest way is to keep it whole, and hot smoke it as a round roast. Another way is to cut it open, unfold it like a butterfly, and lay the resulting butterfly lamb like a flat roast on the barbecue grill.

By butterflying a leg of lamb you get a thinner piece of meat which will shorten the required cooking time by a factor 2 or more. You will also increase the effectiveness of a marinade or dry rub since there will be more meat surface to absorb the flavours.

On this page you will discover that a butterflied leg of lamb is really quite easy to make.


Photograph of butterflied leg of lamb on the barbecue by Hot Smoke BBQ. Butterflied leg of lamb on the barbecue grate, surrounded by potatoes...


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How to Butterfly Leg of Lamb

There may be more ways to obtain a flat leg of lamb, but we can recommend the following procedure for a bone-in leg of lamb:


Step 1 - Wash Your Leg of Lamb

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Photo of leg of lamb round roast by Hot Smoke BBQ. Rinse the leg of lamb thoroughly under cold running water, removing any loose meat, fat or bone particles, if any;

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Blot lamb roast dry using paper towels;


Step 2 - Cut Off the Surface Membrane

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Photo of cutting off the skin membrane from the leg of lamb by Hot Smoke BBQ. Cut off the surface membrane and any dangling pieces of meat or excess fat;

This will allow better penetration of the flavours of dry rub or marinade;



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Step 3 - The First Cut is the Deepest...

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Place leg of lamb on cutting board with the flat side down, short side of the leg (inner thigh) pointing upwards;

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Photo of cutting through the center of the leg all the way to the bone of the leg of lamb. Make a longitudinal cut through the center of the leg all the way to the bone;


Step 4 - Unfold First Wing

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Over full length of bone, cut 1/4 around the bone towards the left, exposing 1/4 of the bone;

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Photo of cutting around the bone and horizontally into the meat of the leg of lamb. Make a horizontal cut, starting at the bone, cutting outwards through the meat, but do not cut further than 1 inch from the outside of the meat;

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unfold flap of meat horizontally;


Juancho's BBQ Tip  

A word of caution here: when working with raw fish or meat, make sure all work surfaces, utensils, and your hands are thoroughly clean before you start, and clean thoroughly immediately after you finish!

Consider the people you love. A good food poisoning can ruin more than just your reputation as a Pit Master...


Step 5 - Unfold Second Wing

Repeat the same procedure for the other side of the leg of lamb:

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Photo of cutting around the bone of the leg of lamb. Over full length of bone, cut 1/4 around the bone towards the right, exposing 1/4 of the bone;

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Photo of cutting horizontally into the meat of the leg of lamb. Make a horizontal cut, starting at the bone, cutting outwards through the meat, but do not cut further than 1 inch from the outside of the meat;

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unfold flap of meat horizontally;


Step 6 - And Bob's Yer Uncle!


Photograph of butterflied leg of lamb by Hot Smoke BBQ. Your butterflied leg of lamb is now ready to receive the extra flavours of a beautiful marinade or a spicy dry rub.


Juancho's BBQ Tips

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For marinating flat cuts of meat like a butterflied leg of lamb I preref to use a shallow sealable plastic container;

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Allow the meat to marinate for at least one hour, but prefereably overnight;

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For health reasons, keep your meat in the refrigerator during marinating;

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One hour before you expect to put the meat on the barbecue grill you should take the meat out of the fridge and let it adjust to room temperature;

In this way you will gain the first few degrees inside your beautiful barbecue spareribs without spilling a flame!




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The PitBoss Suggests:

Here's some ideas on what to do next with that beautiful butterflied leg of lamb. Enjoy!


Wet Rub / Barbecue Curry Paste for Lamb

Photo of Wet Rub or Barbecue Curry Paste for Lamb by Blue Smoke BBQ. This particular barbeque curry recipe, in which Thyme and Rosemary are combined with Cardamom, Cloves and Allspice, is especially suitable to flavour bbq lamb.

Grilling a Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Photo of Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb by Blue Smoke BBQ. Hot smoking lamb meat is easier than you thought. This easy lamb barbecue does not take too long, and the result is a beautiful piece of really spicy and juicy smoked lamb.







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