• Step 1
    Locate central bone

    Lay the leg of lamb on a large, sturdy chopping board with the meatier side facing down. Locate the central bone either end, then use a sharp knife to make an incision from one end to the other, until you hit the bone.

  • Step 2
    Cut the meat from the bone

    Use your knife to cut the meat away from the bone. Try to keep your knife as close to the bone as possible – use a scraping motion to avoid wasting too much meat.

  • Step 3
    Open the butterfly wings

    Continue cutting underneath the bone and around the hip joint until you are able to lift it out of the meat. You can now open the leg to resemble a pair of butterfly wings.

  • Step 4
    Open leg out further

    Make slashes through the thicker parts of the meat to open the leg out further and give you an even thickness all over. This will allow the meat to cook evenly.

  • Step 5
    Remove fat

    Remove any tendons, sinew or large pieces of fat from inside the meat.

  • Step 6
    Bash the meat

    Use a heavy rolling pin or mallet to bash the meat, to flatten it out slightly and give an even thickness throughout. The lamb can now be marinated or cooked straight away.

Locate central bone
Cut the meat from the bone
Open the butterfly wings
Open leg out further
Remove fat
Bash the meat

Barbecued Greek lamb with tzatziki

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(3 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 30 mins - 40 mins Plus marinating

Skill level



Serves 6

Follow our step-by-step guide to butterflying a leg of lamb, prepare with Greek flavours and roast or BBQ

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

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For the tzatziki

  • ½ cucumber, halved and deseeded
  • 170g pot Greek yogurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • handful mint leaves, chopped

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Launch step-by-step
  1. Mash the garlic to a paste with a pestle and mortar. Mix with the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and thyme leaves, and season with a little salt and plenty of pepper. Place the lamb in a large porcelain dish. Pour the marinade over the lamb and massage into the meat. Leave the lamb for at least 1 hr at room temperature, or longer in the fridge, but no longer than overnight or the meat will become too soft.
  2. To cook the lamb, fire up the barbecue, or heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. To cook on the barbecue, wait for the coals to turn ashen, then lay the lamb on the grill and cook for 15 mins on each side for meat that is pink, or 20 mins on each side for well done. To cook in the oven, place the lamb in a shallow roasting tin and roast for 30 mins for pink or 40 mins for well done, turning the lamb halfway through. Leave the meat to rest for 10 mins before carving.
  3. Meanwhile, make the tzatziki. Coarsely grate the cucumber, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and squeeze out all the liquid. Tip into a bowl with the yogurt, garlic and mint, and mix well. Carve the lamb into thick slices and serve with the tzatziki wrapped up in warm flatbreads.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2012

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Show comments
Bertie200's picture
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Made this last weekend end for BBQ. Followed the recipe apart from making slits in lamb and worked marinate into slits. BBQ for 30 minutes each side then put it in the oven for 20 minutes just to be sure it wasn't too pink. Squeezed lemon juice on top covered with foil to rest. Carved like a dream and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely make it again especially when leg of lamb half price in supermarket.

Jambozo's picture

Great barbecue recipe - very straightforward and easy to accomplish great tasting results. I substitute Simon Hopkinson's tzatziki recipe, but prepare the lamb exactly as written. Give it a go!

hazelsimpson's picture
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Not too bad, we also overcooked it and it tasted mostly of the marinade, rather than of lamb. The dip was good, added chopped in the mixer gherkins, olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar, as this was on the ingredients list of a pack of dip I had bought and it defiantly worked. The courgette with feta and lemon was the highlight, delicious. WIth some good food houmous as well is was a great Greek night dinner with a splash of white wine.

Simon220775's picture

Mint in tzatziki, noooooooooo!

janie73's picture

Delicious. A really tasty BBQ dish, makes a really nice change from the usual stuff! Impressive when having friends round too. Don't think it needs as much time though for cooking- nice to have it slightly pink.

sjampack's picture

Really delicious and full of flavours! I love lamb cooked with lemon/ garlic/ mint they just go so well together. The tzatziki is really light and refreshing, makes the lamb less greasy. Have them in pita bread, also made the griddles courgettes with pine nuts and feta from the goes well suggestion below, lovely lovely lovely summery Greek feast!

sanukyim's picture

Hi it is a delicious dish, although it takes a little time to cook , the waiting to worth, thanks for sharing . Similar one I found is here http://tinyurl.com/nmbfr77