Loading Video...

Grilled Butterflied Lamb with African Spices and Herbed Yogurt

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 35 min (includes marinating and cooling times)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
Save Recipe


Grilled Lamb:

3 1/2 to 4 pounds boneless leg of lamb

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 teaspoons sesame seeds 

1 tablespoon ground sumac 

2 teaspoons salt 

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

5 cloves garlic, grated 

Canola oil, as needed

Herbed Yogurt:

1 cup whole-milk yogurt

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro 

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill fronds 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

Dash of cayenne pepper 


  1. For the grilled lamb: Trim the excess fat and any gristle from both sides of the lamb and lay it flat on a cutting board. To make the lamb generally the same thickness, butterfly the thick ends by slicing shallowly on the diagonal into the thickest part and opening it up, like a book. Score the entire roast, both sides, in a shallow 1-inch-wide crosshatch pattern.
  2. Heat a small saute pan over medium-low heat and add the coriander and cumin seeds. Toast until fragrant. Combine the toasted seeds with the sesame seeds and grind finely in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Pour the ground spices into a bowl and add the sumac, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Combine the garlic with a little bit of canola oil to make a paste, and rub into the meat. Rub the spice mix evenly into the meat and leave to penetrate for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or up to 1 day refrigerated.
  4. For the herbed yogurt: Combine the yogurt, chives, cilantro, dill, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat a grill to medium-high heat.
  6. Grill the lamb over medium-high heat, watching carefully for flare-ups, until dark brown on the underside, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until dark brown again, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook the lamb, flipping every minute or so, until the lamb feels bouncy when poked and measures 125 degrees F on an internal-read thermometer for medium-rare, about 5 minutes longer. (If you like your lamb medium, bring it to 130 degrees.)
  7. Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes on a platter, flipping it occasionally, before slicing thinly across the grain and serving with the herbed yogurt.

Grilled Lamb Chops

Herb-Roasted Lamb

Crown Roast of Lamb

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Lemon, Herbs, and Garlic

Grilled Butterflied Chicken

Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Fire Roasted Eggplant and Grilled Tomatoes

Pastrami-Style Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Butterflied Leg of Lamb Marinated and Barbecued