Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter

Just because I’m publishing this right before Easter doesn’t mean you have to do leg of lamb for Easter. This may not be something you throw on the grill on a random Tuesday to celebrate your team winning or gas going down 10 cents a gallon. It might be a bit spendy for something so casual. This is ideal for a special occasion. But lamb doesn’t have to just be for Easter. It’s also fitting for a meal like Christmas, New Year’s or even Mother’s or Father’s Days. Those are a lot of options for this dish other than just Easter. With the price of lamb (and a lot of other proteins) being so high, let me help to make sure this epic recipe is a home run. 

Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) of salted butter
  • 3 oz gorgonzola cheese
  • 3-4 lbs boneless leg of lamb 3-4
  • Smoked salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Bear Mountain Premium Gourmet Pellets
  • 10 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp of minced garlic (fresh or jarred will work)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Gorgonzola Butter Instructions:

First off, let’s get to the gorgonzola butter recipe. Gorgonzola is just Greek blue cheese which can be a little milder than regular blue cheese. If blue cheese isn’t your thing, go with garlic or onion and chili powder, or fresh herbs, or any combo of these things. Get creative. All you need is a compound butter. Garlic and butter make for an amazing addition to so many dishes.

For this we combined a room temperature stick of butter with the gorgonzola in a separate bowl and blended well.  We highly recommend letting the butter come to room temperature. Softened butter will make the blending process soooo much easier.

Place the gorgonzola butter on a sheet of wax paper which acts like a giant candy wrapper when rolled up:

The gorgonzola butter (or whatever compound butter you come up with) can be made up days and even weeks ahead of time and stored in the fridge or frozen and kept for months.

Lamb Prep:

Now let’s get to the star of the show, the leg of lamb:

We used boneless leg of lamb. I prefer bone in leg of lamb but this is what I was able to procure with the supply chain issues that were prevalent at the time I wrote this. 

A boneless legs of lamb is usually wrapped in some sort of stretchy mesh which can remain in place during the first phase of the cooking process and should remain there as it holds the meat together after the bone is removed. We will remove that mesh before we sear but for right now, go ahead and season the leg of lamb in the mesh. In this case hit it with that smoked salt and fresh cracked black pepper (not pictured):

Also, I love a little white pepper here too if you are so inclined.

Now get the grill ready. For this pricy cut of meat, and it being for a big event I wanted to make sure I had exact temps the entire cook so I used my pellet cooker. I loaded it up with Bear Mountain Premium Gourmet Pellets which have a balanced smoky flavor that pairs well with lamb which is a somewhat milder meat than a heartier beef:

How do you grill a leg of lamb?

I set my pellet cooker at 275 and placed the seasoned leg of lamb in the chamber. Remember to make sure to dab the ends of leg of lamb in the leftover salt and pepper on the cutting board to get an even coating of seasoning:

Who says a pellet cooker doesn’t put off enough smoke. I’ve never experienced that. All I get is that wonderful blue smoke with that amazing Bear Mountain Premium Pellets. Avoid the white smoke which will overpower the food with an acrid flavor. Blue is the way to go. 

Once the leg of lamb is on the cooker, make sure to have that probe thermometer inserted into the thick part of the meat. We’re over having to guess when the food is done because guessing wrong can be really expensive and embarrassing:

Fresh Herb Oil Mop

While the leg of lamb is warming up and absorbing that wonderful blue smoke, it’s time to make a flavored oil mop because we are going to be basting the lamb with an extra layer of flavor throughout the cooking process. And we aren’t using any regular mop brush. We’re going to use a few short branches of fresh rosemary:

I just tied 6 or 7 of those sprigs together at the base with a length of bakers twine. Then I took a couple more sprigs and removed the soft leaves from the woody stems and finely them to make minced rosemary. I added the rosemary and some fresh garlic to a bowl and added a little vegetable oil in a small bowl:

Use the rosemary brush to spread that flavored oil (and all those wonderful bits in the oil) onto the leg of lamb inside the pellet grill:

A fresh herb oil mop can be used with all sorts of recipes and proteins

After about 30-45 minutes into the cooking process, hit the lamb with the first basting of oil. Then every 15-20 minutes after that, brush some more on, flipping the leg of lamb over periodically to get all the way around this round cut. 

Once the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 125F, remove the meat from the pellet cooker:

Uh, so these were JUICY:

Juice was not dripping off the bottom of these but actually pouring out. Look at that pic above again. WOW! 

Next up, crank up the temp of the pellet cooker to 500F. Yeah, my pellet cooker does that!

While the temp is climbing, I removed that mesh I mentioned earlier:

Be careful with this. Don’t tug too hard or too fast on that mesh or some of the great roasted outside of the lamb will come off too:

Unfortunately, most of the bits from the oil will come off, but that’s OK. Those bits were imparting flavor all throughout the smoking process and that flavor is not going anywhere:

Some of those flavor bits stayed on the lamb.

Now that we have the first half of the magic from the reverse sear, now time for the wizardry of the second half with a beautiful sear

Once the temp of the grill grates gets above 400 then we can get get some grill marks:

We can see what the mesh was doing for the leg of lamb as it pulls apart a little here, but the initial smoke should brown the outside enough that it shouldn’t pull apart much more than this:

Check out that smoke ring on the part that is sticking out to the side. Go ahead and take a look, I’ll wait. 

After a couple minutes we get some nice grill marks:

Now let’s get some grill marks on the other side:

Once we get grill marks on both sides of the grilled lamb, and we have reached the desired doneness, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes or so.  If after adding some grill marks, we are below the desired doneness, simply keep rotating the leg of lamb and keep browning the outside. We could also drop the temperature back down and smoke it a little longer.

Before I get into the slicing, I want to explain that I cooked two of these to two different temps. I cooked one to around rare/medium rare and the other to medium. Why? Because this one I cooked to rare/medium rare (the way I prefer my lamb) doesn’t show off the smoke ring with the coast to coast pink which happens when we reverse sear (smoke then sear):

But this one I cooked a little longer, check out the smoke ring:

Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter

Yeah, “Wow,” is right! 

I plated this onto a platter of micro greens and then grabbed that rosemary brush:

Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter

BOOM:

Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter

Don’t forget about that gorgonzola butter:

Now plate a few slices and add a pat of that butter:

Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter

***Pro Tip ~ Make lots of this compound gorgonzola butter

Make more than you need of this butter as it will keep in the fridge for weeks and weeks and it can be frozen for months and months. Feel free to use that butter on a steak or for char grilled oysters or pork chops or burgers or toasted sandos… You get the idea

Leg of Lamb Summary:

So how was it? The outer layer was wonderfully browned from both the smoking process and searing plus that subtle smoke/herbal/garlic flavor all dipped into that super savory butter. And while this is a fairly sophisticated dish for the backyard grill, the person in my family who loved it the most (besides myself) was my six year old daughter. She gobbled up more of this than anyone else besides me. What better testament than that for a family feast?!

Don’t be afraid to go with a bone in leg of lamb. I actually prefer bone in over boneless.

Here’s another leg of lamb I found online that looks pretty special. Give it a look! 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email

I partnered with Bear Mountain Premium Pellets on this post. I love both the pellets they make as well as the fact that they support this obsession of mine so I can keep on grilling and bringing my BBQ exploits to the world. 

Also, you can follow us on our GrillinFools Facebook page and Instagram.

Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter

Leg of lamb, smoked and slathered in herbs, garlic and olive oil before being seared and sliced before being topped with a pat of gorgonzola butter. Get ready for Leg of Lamb with Gorgonzola Butter.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Holiday Meal
Keyword: Barbecue, BBQ, Bear Mountain Premium Gourmet Pellets, Bear Mountain Premium Pellets, Gorgonzola, Gorgonzola Butter, Grill, Grilling, Lamb, Leg of lamb, Pellet Cooker, Pellet Grill, Smoker
Servings: 12 8

Ingredients

Gorgonzola Butter

  • 1 stick salted butter 1/4 lb of butter
  • 3 oz gorgonzola cheese

Leg of Lamb

  • 3-4 lb boneless leg of lamb bone in would be even better
  • 1 tbsp smoked salt substitute any coarse salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 bag Bear Mountain Premium Gourmet Pellets
  • 10 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic fresh or jarred
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Instructions

Gorgonzola Butter

  • Combine room temperature butter and gorgonzola cheese in bowl and blend together thoroughly
  • Place gorgonzola butter onto a sheet of wax paper and roll into a giant butter candy

Leg of Lamb

  • Season the leg of lamb with salt and pepper
  • Prepare the pellet cooker by filling it with Bear Mountain Premium BBQ Pellets and set the cooker to 275F
  • Place the leg of lamb in the pellet smoker, insert a probe thermometer and close the lid
  • Tie off the base of 6-7 sprigs of rosemary to form an herb brush
  • Remove the rosemary leaves from the remaining sprigs and mince them with a knife
  • Add the minced rosemary and garlic in a bowl and pour in the vegetable oil
  • After 30-45 minutes, use the rosemary brush to bathe the leg of lamb with the flavored oil
  • Repeat the rosemary/garlic oil bath every 15-20 minutes, being sure to flip over the leg of lamb periodically, until the leg of lamb reaches an internal temperature of 125F
  • When the leg of lamb reaches 125F remove the meat from the pellet smoker and crank the temp up on the grill to 500
  • While the grill comes up to temp, use a pair of scissors or sharp knife to cut away the mesh from the leg of lamb
  • When the temp of the grill grates tops 400F then sear around the outside of the leg of lamb
  • Once we have grill marks all around the leg of lamb, remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes
  • Slice and serve with a pat of gorgonzola butter

Video

Here are some extra pics:

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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