Smoked Boneless Lamb Leg on the Pellet Grill

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 A tender, boneless smoked leg of lamb is one of the best cuts of meat for entertaining, and something everyone should know how to make. It’s an easy recipe, but does take a little preparation if you’ll be removing the bones yourself. But, if your lamb leg came boneless and wrapped in butchers twine it’s incredibly easy. Read on and I’ll explain everything you need to know to smoke boneless legs of lamb at home like a chef.

A sliced, smoked leg of lamb next to a knife on a cutting board.

Why This Recipe Works

Dry-brining the meat, applying a dry-rub and allowing it to rest overnight ensures even seasoning. Slow smoking until the perfect internal temperature is reached and resting the meat before slicing means the leg of lamb will be perfectly tender and juicy every time. If you have New Zealand lamb, which has a stronger gamey flavor, smoking also helps mellow the taste, making it into something everyone will enjoy. Everyone likes smoked meat.

How to De-Bone a Leg of Lamb

Your lamb might have come already boneless, if it did, it’s probably wrapped in butchers twine or netting too. If if is, feel free to skip down to how to smoke a leg of lamb.

Leg of Lamb Boneless
Leg of Lamb Boneless.

If your lamb leg still has bones in it you can remove them for easy slicing, or the leg can be cooked whole, bone-in. After the bones are removed I also like to remove as much fat as possible from the leg, which can vary depending on the age of your animal. Pictured is a larger lamb leg, around 1 year old, known as hogget. The images below illustrate the process, and I also go over it in the video.

How to Smoke A Boneless Leg of Lamb

After the bones are removed, depending on your lamb and where it came from, you may want to remove some of the fat. After the fat has been trimmed, one of the most important things is seasoning the meat with a dry-brine and allowing it to rest overnight wrapped in cling film. This allows the outside of the meat to dry out and absorb the smoke as it cooks, making the delicious, smoky bark everyone loves. I use the process here with a boneless leg, but it will also work with a bone in leg of lamb.

After the meat is seasoned, it’s tied with butchers twine. Large legs can be unevenly-sized after removing the bone, so you may find it helpful to cut the leg into two evenly-sized roasts. Tying the leg helps it cook evenly, but the knots don’t have to be perfect. All you need is for the leg to hold its shape.

To smoke the leg, you preheat the smoker or pellet grill like a Traeger to 225 F. The meat is rubbed with a little olive oil and cooked for 2.5-3 hours depending on size. Once the desired internal temperature is reached, the lamb is removed from the smoker and allowed to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes per pound before slicing. You can warm the leg of lamb up in the oven for a few minutes before slicing to make sure it’s hot.

A pink or medium temperature smoked lamb leg sliced with a long knife on a black walnut cutting board.
Most people will prefer their leg of lamb cooked medium-nice and pink.

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Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo, The Forager Chef

This recipe is by James Beard award-winning Chef Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant and the Salt Cellar. Author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora, he’s one of the most respected voices in the world of foraging and wild food. He’s best known as the founder of Forager Chef, his website focused on wild ingredients that reaches millions of readers each year. Learn more about Chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at foragerchef.com

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.

Tips

  • Resting meat is important and keeps the meat juicy.
  • Trim the lamb fat side of the leg of excess fat to avoid making a mess in the smoker.
  • A chef trick for keeping meat warm is to put slices of meat on top of warm side dishes on the plate, like wilted greens or mashed potatoes.
  • Instead of a whole leg, you can also smoke individual lamb roasts. See how to cut a leg up into roasts here.
A smoked leg of lamb sliced on a black walnut board next to a carving knife.
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Smoked Boneless Lamb Leg

A perfectly cooked, tender smoked boneless leg of lamb recipe. Works with goat or venison too.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smoked boneless leg of lamb pellet grill, smoked leg of lamb boneless
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 12kcal
Cost: 30

Equipment

  • 1 Pellet grill or smoker such as a Traeger
  • 1 Cling film
  • 1 Butchers Twine

Ingredients

Lamb

  • 1 3-4 lb Leg of lamb goat or venison
  • kosher salt roughly 1/2 teaspoon per pound
  • 2 tbsp dry rub recipe follows or use your favorite rub
  • 2 teaspoons light olive oil or cooking oil

Spiced Chili Rub

  • 1/4 cup Ancho Chili Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Chili Rub (optional)

  • Combine all ingredients for the chili rub and mix in a bowl. You can also use your favorite dry rub.

Debone the lamb (If needed)

  • If you haven't done this before, the video will illustrate everything for you. If your lamb leg came already de-boned, you can skip to dry-brining the lamb.
  • Working with the lamb fat side down, first remove the aitch bone.
  • Next, begin exposing the femur, working slowly along the seams of the meat.
  • Reserve both bones for making stock. I like to keep them in a freezer.

Dry brine the lamb

  • Season the lamb all over with salt to taste on both sides. For a 3-4 lb lamb leg, you'll need about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
  • Season the lamb leg all over with the dry rub on both sides. For a 3-4 lb leg, you'll need about 1/2 cup.
  • Roll the lamb leg up and tie it into a cylinder as best you can. If your leg came already deboned and wrapped in twine, you can just season the outside only.

Smoke the lamb

  • Preheat a pellet grill to 225 F. Smoke the lamb until the internal temperature reaches 135-140 F on a meat thermometer, depending on your preference, then remove it from the smoker. It should take about 2.5-3 hours.

Serving

  • Ideally, you'll rest the leg of lamb for 10 minutes per pound of meat. You can do this in a warm, turned off oven. You can also rest it on the counter on a cuttingb board and gently warm it up before serving.
  • Remove the twine with a scissors. Cut the meat into thin slices against the grain with a long sharp carving knife. Serve with some crunchy salt like Maldon at the table.

Video

Notes

  • Medium rare lamb (135 F) might sound good in theory, but most people will prefer the temperature of the meat closer to medium (140F)  as it helps the connective tissue become tender. 

Nutrition

Serving: 5oz | Calories: 12kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0.1mg | Sodium: 0.4mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.03g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.4mg

 

 

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