Butterflying a leg of lamb
One of the most popular outdoor summer meals from the barbecue is butterflied leg of lamb, nicely browned and crusty on the outside, pink and juicy in the middle.
This is simple to do using a sharp boning knife. To slash-bone the leg, begin at the chump end.
For aitch or hip bone in legs start at step 1. For aitch or hip bone out legs start at step 2.
- Step1: Remove the aitch bone - Your aim is to first free the meat around the irregular part A of the aitch bone, then around the hip joint. Use the tip of your knife to sever the ball and socket joint B so you can free and move the aitch bone slightly away from the femur. Work closely around the aitch bone, back to the tail bone end, being careful not to slash into the meat. Remove aitch bone.
- Step 2: Remove the femur bone - With the tip of your knife mark a straight line from knee cap C to the ball end of the femur B. Now cut down into the meat along this line, until you touch the femur bone. Open the meat up along the length of the bone to expose the femur, stroking your knife closely along the bone at all times. Free the meat from the knee cap C and knuckle joint.
- Step 3: Remove the shank bone - Continue cutting close to the shank bone down its length. Remove femur and shank bone together. You now have a slash-boned leg.
- Step 4: Then - Lay the slash-boned leg of lamb out flat, skin side down. Using a large knife, start from the inner side of the thickest part of the leg (the topside) and make a horizontal cut through the middle of it, taking your knife almost to the outer edge. Fold the top flap out flat (like opening a book). Do the same with the other thick part of the leg (the thick flank). Trim away any fat pockets on the boned side, including the greyish popliteal gland in the silverside/shank region, but leave a thin fat cover on the skin side. Try to leave skin intact. Tidy up the shank end.
The Bone Structure of the Lamb Leg
First marinate, season or flavour the lamb as you wish. Try the following:
- A combination of rosemary or garlic oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper and pomegranate molasses or spicy apricot sauce
- Crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger, lemon rind and juice, teriyaki marinade or light soy sauce, pepper
- Crushed garlic, ground coriander, cumin, pepper, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, sweet chilli sauce
For ease of handling on the barbecue, run two or three large metal skewers horizontally through the leg before cooking. Barbecue the lamb over steady, low heat, turning it every 10 minutes or so, basting if you wish. A small leg may need 30 to 35 minutes, a larger, thicker leg, up to 40 or 45 minutes. Do not overcook, and remember to allow plenty of resting time before carving.