Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Smoked Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sauce

January 7th, 2010 · 31 Comments

Meat SmokerOne of the “Smoked Entrée of Day” menu items on the Columns Hotel menu was the Smoked Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sauce, which sold for $12.50 per plate. The meat smoker in the back was usually filling the neighborhood with mesquite, hickory, oak, or pecan smoke aroma on a typical day.

I recreated this dish at home and was part of our Christmas Day meal at the cabin.

Leg of lamb is typically sold with the bone in and weight around 5 to 7 pounds each, but before they can be prepared for service a bit of butchering must be completed to remove the bone(s). Once the bone is removed, the leg is stuffed with fresh rosemary leaves and then tied with butchers twine to hold it up in one piece.

Once tied up the lamb leg is marinated overnight in a simple red wine and water liquid and the next morning is set out to the smoker.

After the smoker is set up with a hot fire and some wet wood, the prepared and seasoned leg of lamb is placed on the smoker pit for six to eight hours for a cool smoke. Once the smoke is completed the leg of lamb can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before roasting, which is about 15 to 20 minutes per pound, or about 1 ½ hours in a pre-heated 350° F oven. The complete butchering tips and images are described below. For more details on how to smoke meat check out the Smoked Seafood Salad recipe, it has a primer on smoking foods.

Removing the Bone

The first step is to find the bone and start separating the muscle from the connective tissue to get to the bone. Then making cuts around the bone to remove any muscle and connected tissue. Once the bone is removed, the bone cap is cut out and the leg meat is now boneless.

Lamb leg with bone exposed Making first cuts with boning knife
Lamb leg with bone exposed Making first cuts with boning knife
Cutting away from the bone Knife under bone, almost done
Cutting away from the bone Knife under bone, almost done
Final cuts removing bone Removing bone cap
Final cuts removing bone Removing bone cap

Removing Fat and Silver Skin

Then the next step is to remove some of the fat and silver skin from leg using a boning knife.

Cutting a thin layer of fat and silver skin More leg muscle meat exposed
Cutting a thin layer of fat & silver skin More leg muscle meat exposed

Stuffing and Tying

Next is to add the rosemary leaves and seasonings, then to tie it up into a nice whole piece.

Rosemary leaves placed inside Starting with the butchers twine
Rosemary leaves added Starting with the butchers twine
Continuing with tying the leg Leg of lamb all tied up
Continuing with tying the leg Leg of lamb all tied up


Once the leg is tied up it is now ready to marinate. The marinade consists of red wine, water, garlic, salt and white pepper. The total amount of marinade varies depending on the number of legs prepared, but for this one leg it was 1 ½ cups red wine, ½ cup water, a few cloves of garlic, and one teaspoon each of salt and white pepper. The ingredients are mixed and then added to a plastic bag with the lamb leg, and then it all sits in the refrigerator overnight.

Marinating lamb leg

Marinating the lamb leg in a zip-type bag.

Smoking the Meat

The next morning I stoked up the smoker, soaked the wood, and set the leg of lamb along with a turkey breast too. About seven hours later the perfectly smoked foods are ready to be refrigerated for later use, or roasted in the oven until done and ready for service time.

Fresh marinated meats on the smoker Seven hours later, ready to chill or roast
Fresh marinated meats on the smoker Seven hours later, ready to chill or roast

The rosemary sauce served with the lamb made from a lamb stock reduction, red wine, garlic, shallots, and fresh rosemary leaves. The lamb stock reduction was made with the lamb bones, which were cut in half to expose the inside marrow for more flavor and then covered with cool water. A cut up onion, celery, and carrot were added to the stock and brought to a slow simmer, then allowed to continue simmering for 4 hours. The liquid is strained from the stock then allowed to reduce by half, and then the red wine, garlic and shallots are added with the fresh rosemary. Again, quantities vary depending on your taste and quantity of liquid. This is brought to a simmer for 30 minutes, then strained again, and thickened either with a dark roux or with Wondra flour slurry.

Cutting and Plating

Nice smoke ring  around the lamb leg

Nice smoke ring around the lamb leg

Smoked Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sauce

Smoked Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sauce

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tags: Columns Hotel · Entrees · Holidays · Recipes

31 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Harold (SMM) // Jan 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    OH have MERCY! You just made my mouth water.

    That came out looking wonderful. I love to smoke and had never given any thought to lamb. Definitely going to have to try this out.

    Great walk-through and pics.

  • 2 The Hungry Mouse // Jan 7, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Heaven on a plate. Seriously! Yum!


  • 3 Jessie // Jan 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    wow the end result is delicious! all that hard work prepping the lamb was well worth it!

  • 4 Dimitry Mishchuk // Jan 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Now I know what I’m making this Saturday.

  • 5 Drick // Jan 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    beautiful plate of grubs….. nice how you tell us about how deboning…. never tried a leg of lamb

  • 6 Elizabeth // Jan 7, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    This is one of my very favorite things. There were a handful of things that tempted me when I was a serious vegetarian, and leg of lamb cooked slowly on a smoky grill was one of them.

  • 7 Kristen // Jan 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I’ve never had smoked leg of lamb but I am sure this is delicious!

  • 8 bernie kasper // Jan 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Your killing me..that must have been delish !!!

  • 9 penny aka jeroxie // Jan 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    What a lovely dish and to smoke it yourself. Yummo!

  • 10 Shree B. // Jan 7, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    I LOVE lamb. This looks fantastic! Wow!

  • 11 East Village Eats // Jan 7, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Lord Have Mercy! That looks great! I don’t have a smoker, but I think I’m going to have to roast a leg of lamb. Thanks for the instructions on how to debone the lamb, I tend to make a pig’s ear of it whenever I try!

  • 12 Shirley // Jan 7, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    That must be so delicious!

  • 13 Noelle // Jan 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    What a beautiful lamb recipe and great step by step process!

  • 14 John D. // Jan 7, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    That looks seriously good. This post will be a good argument for me to get a smoker!

  • 15 The Local Cook // Jan 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! DH got a smoker for Christmas.

  • 16 sweetlife // Jan 7, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    How goregous and what a great Christmas meal, I love your dishes, I have the same set.

  • 17 Brie // Jan 7, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    mmm, yum! love the step-by-step photos.

  • 18 Dana // Jan 8, 2010 at 4:52 am

    This recipe is pretty delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  • 19 Divina // Jan 8, 2010 at 9:44 am

    This is total upgrade on leg of lamb and they’re so succulent.

  • 20 Alta // Jan 8, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Thank you for the step-by-step on deboning leg of lamb. I have two in the freezer and appreciate the instruction, so I won’t totally destroy my prized meat! Never had smoked lamb, sounds delicious.

  • 21 MaryMoh // Jan 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Looks very delicious…yum!

  • 22 Emily // Jan 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I have this belief that rosemary makes any and every dish amazing. (I’m thinking about using it in a crudite this weekend)

  • 23 Beth // Jan 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Lamb is a meat that I have only tried once and I didn’t like, but I give everything a few chances. This looks awesome!! I will try lamb again, maybe one that I have prepared.
    I love the step by step info.

  • 24 wasabi prime // Jan 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    What a beautiful dinner — I appreciate the photos of the how-to for the prep. I always like to see the process, as just reading in a cookbook isn’t the same!

  • 25 Bromography // Jan 10, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    This looks absolutely beautiful!

  • 26 sizzlechef // Jan 11, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Cheers!

  • 27 Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz // Jan 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I have never smoked but curious about it. Looks very good!

  • 28 Zibi // Jan 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    This looks so good. Your step-by-step photos make this easy to follow, even for someone who hasn’t cooked a lamb leg yet.

  • 29 Ingeborg // Nov 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Excellent! Love lamb.

  • 30 Mike // Nov 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I smoke a lot and have wanted to try lamb. What is the best wood to use and what temp did you smoke at? I enjoyed your step by step instruction on prepping the leg.

  • 31 Cajun Chef Ryan // Nov 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Hi Mike,

    For lamb any wood would do, there is no “best” wood per se; as it all depends on your personal taste. I have used hickory, mesquite, pecan, oak, and cherry wood for various meats and seafood items that are smoked. Try any of them and see what flavor combinations you arrive at depending on the protein and wood.

    However, having said that, I do like to use hickory and mesquite for heavier cuts of meat such as beef, pork and lamb. An I have used pecan, oak and cherry for lighter protein such as seafood. But there are no set rules on the type of wood to use for the type of protein.

    As far as temperature, I did not measure the smoke chamber temperature; however, I would say it was probably elevated about 20 – 30 degrees above the ambient air temperature, and that can vary depending on the particular day. When this leg of lamb was smoked it was a cooler December day and most likely the temperature in the smoking chamber was between 80 – 100 degrees depending on the time of day.

    I hope this helps you!

    Bon appétit!