Smoked Leg of American Lamb with Preserved Lemon Aioli

Recipe by 


Prep Time

20 min

Cook Time

3 hrs

Total Time

3 hrs, 20 min



lamb loin chops with cucumber mint salad and sweet and smoky tahini


For the Smoked Leg of Lamb:

  • 1 leg of American Lamb (about 5-6 pounds), bone-in or boneless

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

For the Smoked Potatoes

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, cut in large chunks

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Fresh dill, to finish

For the Preserved Lemon Aioli:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • Juice & zest of one large lemon

  • 2 tablespoon preserved lemon peel, finely chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, grated

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Prepare the Lamb:

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, salt, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander and black pepper to create a marinade.

Place the American Lamb on a baking sheet you don’t mind grilling.  Score the skin fat in a cross hatch pattern.  Rub the marinade all over the leg of lamb, ensuring it's evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, to let the flavors meld.  

2. Prepare the potatoes:

Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.

3. Prepare the Smoker:

Preheat your smoker or grill to 225°F (110°C) using your preferred wood chips or chunks for smoking. Oak, hickory, or cherry wood works well with lamb.

4. Smoke the lamb:

Once the smoker is ready, place the sheet pan with marinated leg of lamb directly on the grate.

Close the lid and smoke the lamb for about 2 hours, then add the potatoes and roast another hour more, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare or 160°F (71°C) for medium doneness.

During smoking, periodically check the smoker temperature and add more wood chips as needed to maintain a steady smoke.

5. Rest the lamb:

Once the lamb reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a moist and tender meat.

6. Prepare the Preserved Lemon Aioli:

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, finely chopped preserved lemon peel, grated garlic and black pepper.  Season with salt to taste.

7. Serve:

Slice the smoked leg of lamb against the grain into thin slices.

Serve the slices of smoked leg of lamb with the preserved lemon aioli on the side for dipping or drizzling.

Garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired, and enjoy your delicious smoked leg of lamb with preserved lemon aioli!

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.

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