Perfect Reverse Sear Leg of Lamb (Or Goat)

A whole roast leg of lamb is perfect for holidays and special occasions, but cooking one can be intimidating. With this reverse sear leg of lamb recipe from award-winning Chef Alan Bergo, you’ll be able to get perfect results every time. Here’s how to make it.

Roasted to perfection leg of goat
Perfectly roasted reverse sear leg of lamb.

This reverse sear method, popular for steaks, is something chef learned while cooking at Heartland in St. Paul, where he needed to be able to produce perfectly rested cuts at a moment’s notice. Serving up big roasts on a daily basis, he was able to fine-tune the method to be virtually foolproof, even for beginner home cooks. Here’s a tutorial on reverse-sear roast legs. It works well with either leg of goat or lamb. First you’ll want to debone the leg if it still has the bone in it.

How to Debone the Lamb Leg

What Temperature to Cook Reverse Sear Leg of Lamb to?  

Cook the leg in the slow oven until it hits the following temperature for your preference, I like mine around 130 °F. After it hits the desired temperature, you’ll want to remove it from the hot oven and brown it. Keep in mind the meat will raise in temperature about 5 degrees after it’s taken from the oven and allowed to rest before carving.

  • Rare: 120 °F
  • Medium rare: 130 °F
  • Medium: 140 °F
  • Medium-well: 150 °F

Roasted and Seared Leg of Goat
Roasted and Seared Leg of Goat

This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo. He’s a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at 


Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo

Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.


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Roasted Goat Leg
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5 from 1 vote

Perfect Reverse Sear Leg of Lamb (or Goat)

Reverse seared goat leg is one of the easiest ways to cook a larger cut of meat.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Goat Leg, Reverse Sear
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 244kcal
Cost: 30


  • Heavy sauté or cast iron pan for searing
  • Digital meat thermometer
  • Roasting pan with a cooling rack
  • Kitchen twine, for tying the roast to ensure even cooking


  • 1 Goat Leg roughly 4 - 5 lb (or purchase a boneless leg approximately 3-4 lb)
  • Flavorless high heat cooking oil, like grape seed
  • Aromatic herbs like rosemary sage and thyme, finely chopped to yield ¼ cup
  • 5-2 teaspoons kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or more to taste



  • (If using a bone-in leg, refer to the photos below for instructions on deboning.) When working with a whole lamb or goat leg, this method requires deboning the meat first, but fear not: As long as you have super-sharp knife, that’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. Or purchase a boneless leg but give up the option of using the leg bone for soup.
  • From there, the rest is easy: You cook the meat at a low heat (I like 250 °F). When the meat comes up to desired temperature (see guidelines below), you take it out of the oven, rest it thoroughly, then sear it in a hot pan on the stove top, and serve. The result is a perfect, evenly cooked rosé interior and a beautifully browned crust.
  • First, remove the bone, I like to save it to make soup or broth afterwards. Raw, it also makes a great dog treat. See the photo gallery in this post for help on deboning.

Salting, Searing and Roasting

  • Season the meat with salt, pepper and herbs inside and out. Roll the leg up tightly and tie with kitchen twine to ensure even cooking. Let it sit uncovered in the fridge overnight. I’ve found about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt for a 3-4 lb goat leg is great.
  • The next day, 1.5 hours before you want to serve (assuming a 3-4 lb leg) preheat the oven to 250 °F and place the leg in the oven. Set a timer for 1 hour, and take the temperature in the middle of the roast with the thermometer. When the internal temperature comes up to your target temperature, remove the leg from the oven and allow to cool on its rack in a warm-ish location for 15-20 minutes. You could even turn the oven off and let the roast rest in there with the door slightly ajar.
  • Meanwhile, heat up your sides and garnishes and prepare to serve.
  • Finally, heat a few tablespoons of oil in the sauté or cast iron pan on high. Turn on the hood, and or open a window, since you’ll be using some high heat for a few minutes. When the oil is just starting to smoke gently, reduce the heat to medium-high and brown the roast deeply on all sides.
  • After the roast is browned, transfer to a cutting board, remove the twine, cut into slices with a sharp knife and serve immediately.


Either lamb or goat legs can be used this way, and they can also be cooked with the bone in. 


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 244kcal | Protein: 39g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 118mg | Potassium: 551mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 3mg