Korean-Style Butterflied Leg of Lamb


Korean-Style Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 4 to 24 hours for marinating the lamb
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
  • Method: Direct grilling


  • Butt end of a leg of lamb (4 to 5 pounds bone-in; 3 to 4 pounds butterflied)

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (set aside 1/4 cup scallion greens for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup sake, rice wine, or dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup Asian (dark) sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For serving:

  • 2 Asian or Bosc pears, cut into thin wedges and seeded
  • Asian Pear Dipping Sauce
  • 1 head romaine lettuce (or two heads of romaine hearts), separated into leaves and washed

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Butterfly the lamb or have your butcher do it.

Step 2: Prepare the marinade. Combine the ginger, garlic, and scallions in a food processor and process to mix. Work in the soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper and process to mix. Pour 1/3 of this mixture over the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to hold the lamb. Arrange the lamb on top and pour the remaining marinade over it. Marinate the lamb, covered, in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours (or even overnight the longer the better), turning the lamb once or twice to insure even marinating.

Step 3: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium high.

Step 4: Drain the lamb, pouring any marinade into a saucepan. Add the butter and sugar and boil the mixture until thick and syrupy, 3 minutes. You’ll use this glaze for basting.

Step 5: Brush and oil the grill grate. Spread out the lamb on the grate, fat-side down. Grill until the lamb is cooked to taste, 10 to 15 minutes per side for medium-rare. (If the lamb starts to burn, lower the heat to medium or move the lamb to a cooler section of the grill.) During the last 5 minutes on each side, brush the lamb with the glaze.

Step 6: Grill the pear wedges over the hottest section of the grill, turning the slices 90 degrees after a minute or so to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks.

Step 7: Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Using a sharp carving knife or electric knife, thinly slice the lamb across the grain. Arrange the slices on a platter and sprinkle with the reserved scallion greens. Arrange the grilled pears, lettuce leaves, and bowls of dipping sauce on the platter.

Step 8: To eat, wrap a piece of lamb and a wedge of pear in a lettuce leaf, dip it into the sauce (if using), and pop it into your mouth.

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