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Thrill of the Grill: Bob Hart’s butterflied and marinated leg of lamb

This is a seriously good dish, and it can be as complex or as dead simple as you like. Here’s how:

The first thing to do is to butterfly and open out a whole leg of lamb. Which may sound complicated and, if you have never done it, it can be a bit tedious. But then, the easy way to go is to ask your butcher to do it for you.

Then, you marinate the lamb. And while there are a number of ways to go with this, there are two that I love. The first involves splashing on some EV olive oil, some herbs de provence (from the spice rack in any decent food shop), some minced garlic, salt and pepper. Leave it in this marinade overnight, covered and refrigerated.

But the second method – the approach I prefer – is to give the lamb a Greek emphasis by marinating it in, once again, that generous slug of EV olive oil. Then add minced garlic, finely chopped fetta cheese, a squeeze of lemon and Greek oregano (from any Greek grocer’s or deli). Again, chill and leave overnight.

The lamb can be cooked over either direct or indirect heat – your call. I prefer to go indirect but, if your weapon of choice is a feisty, gas-powered Weber Q or similar, go direct over plenty of heat.

Do not overcook it, however. Try around 15-20 minutes a side, depending on the heat of your barbie, and how much pink you like in your lamb. If you use a probe thermometer, I take it off at around 62C, but if you go a touch higher the world will not end,

Rest the cooked meat on a board, then slice against the grain and push the slices into warmed pitas bread or even those delicious Turkish rolls. I like to add a little tzatziki to complete the effect.

And … there is an even simpler approach. For lucky Melburnians, lamb a la greque, ready for the charcoal, is available for around $40 a leg,from Jonathan’s of Collingwood, one of my favourite Melbourne butchers. It comes marinated in the way I have outlined, beautifully vacuum packed. No worries.

Also, if it’s just you, there is another approach: similarly marinated lamb rumps are on sale for $7, and are magnificent1

Bon appetit!

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