This smoked leg of lamb uses the gentle smoke from olive wood to complement the rich tenderness of the lamb to create a deliciously smoked leg of lamb that is a wonderful treat any time of the year.
The reason we like to use olive wood when we’re smoking lamb is that lamb and olives were meant to go together, the same way peanut butter and chocolate come together.
How to Smoke a Leg of Lamb
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re smoking a leg of lamb. The first is to make sure to take the time to smoke the lamb low and slow; we’ve found that around 4 hours at 200℉ will create a leg of lamb that is juicy and tender with just the right amount of smoke to add some interesting flavor and texture without overpowering the lamb.
The second thing is that lamb is really good at absorbing flavors, so the type of wood matters. We really like olive wood for its subtle Mediterranean flavor; we’ve also found that hickory works well but produces a more full-bodied, firmer lamb.
Temperature is critical for lamb. In our testing, we found taking a leg off at 142℉ and resting it produced a perfectly medium-rare leg of lamb while taking a leg off at 151℉ and resting it produced a well-done leg that was ok, but knew deep down that it could have done better.
If you’re using a boneless leg of lamb it’s important to truss the lamb so it cooks evenly. A simple way to truss it is to use kitchen twine and loop it underneath the lamb a few times.
What to Serve with Smoked Lamb
The way the lamb absorbs the smoke’s flavor deepens the lamb’s already rich flavors, making it ideal for serving with vegetable and rice dishes with complex flavor profiles.
- 4 1/2 lb leg of lamb
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- Start by combining the salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and coriander in a small bowl.1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander
- Rub the spice mixture all over the leg of lamb making sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies.4 1/2 lb leg of lamb
- If you’re using a boneless leg of lamb make sure to open the leg up and rub the spice mixture all over the inside. You’ll also want to make sure you tie up or truss boneless legs of lamb using kitchen twine so everything cooks evenly.
- Cook the leg of lamb in a smoker at 200℉ for around 4 hours. When the lamb’s internal temperature hits around 142℉ take the lamb out of the smoker. Wrap the leg in foil and let it rest for 20 to 25 minutes before serving.