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Butterflied Lamb Raan on the Kamado Joe

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Lamb raan is so good done this way!

There is nothing like a traditional Indian lamb Raan.

The flavours are amazing. Today, however I decided to make my lamb raan a bit different to the authentic way of cooking it.

I promise you… Try this and you’ll be hooked. Juicy medium-rare lamb just doesn’t get much better!


Butterflied lamb raan

I think I’ll be cooking my lamb raans like this from now on!

So what’s different about this lamb raan?

Lamb raan is usually marinated and slowly cooked, covered in the oven until well-done and tender. It is also almost always cooked on the bone for flavour.  

I decided that the top quality leg of lamb sent to me by my friends at Swaledale Butchers is far too good to cook well done.

So I butterflied it and let it soak in a marinade for 3 days. Then I fired up the Kamado Joe and turned this classic recipe into something even better.

Although I do agree that cooking meat on the bone does add to the flavour, this marinade is all you need to cook lamb raan to perfection.

Can I use other cuts of meat?

Yes. In fact, lamb raan is traditionally cooked with mutton or goat.

This is why it is usually slowly cooked until well-done. These meats need to cook longer than lamb to become tender.

So if using mutton or goat, I recommend cooking it the traditional way, low and slow until cooked through.

Planning ahead…

If you want to eat lamb raan at a restaurant, you usually need to call ahead because the marination time is very important.

So you will need to plan ahead if you want to make this.

Let the lamb raan marinate for at least 24 hours. 48 to 72 hours is even better.

I don’t have a Kamado Joe. Can I still make this recipe?

Yep. The Kamado Joe does make it easier as it comes with heat deflectors that make roasting over indirect heat.

You could use any kettle barbecue though.

Just fire up you charcoal and pour it all on one side of your barbecue. Then place a drip tray on the other side that is half full of water. The water will help ensure your meat cooks to perfection as it heats up and steams.

This isn’t necessary with a Kamado Joe and other types of ceramic barbecues.

Step by step photos. 

Leg of lamb

Here’s the amazing leg of lamb I received from Swaledale Butchers!

Let of lamb with fat trimmed off.

Remove most of the fat and sinew from the leg. The fat can be used in other barbecue recipes and curries. 

Remove the bone by cutting as closely around it as you can. You could also ask a butcher to do this.

Preparing butterflied lamb raan

Score the meat all over to flatten it. This also gives you a larger surface area for the marinade. Make slits for the slivered garlic.

Marinating lamb raan

Rub the first marinade all over the meat and let rest while you prepare the second marinade.

Lamb in second marinade

Whisk the second marinade ingredients together and rub it right into the meat.

Lamb leg in marinade

Place in a bowl and cover to marinade for at least 24 hours. I let mine marinate for 72 hours.

Lighting barbecue

When ready to cook, heat up your charcoal in a chimney starter. I used a mixture of restaurant grade Lump wood and charcoal briquettes from Big K.

Let’s talk charcoal…

A good quality charcoal made without any nasty smelling igniting chemicals is always going to be best!

I get my charcoal from Big K.

As I was cooking this meat for a good 30 minutes on indirect heat, I chose slow burning briquettes that maintain a good heat. I also mixed in some lump wood for flavour. 

Checking roast temperature

I recommend getting a good thermometer so that you hit the right temperature. I use a Thermapen smoke and also the classic Thermapen.

Check temperature of meat

When the Thermapen reaches 51c, it’s time to take it off.

Grilling meat

Cover your BBQ and bring it up to about 370c700f by opening the bottom and top vents all the way. This is the perfect grilling temperature.

Charring lamb raan

Char on both sides for a couple of minutes to finish. Then transfer to a carving board and let rest for about 15 minutes.

plated lamb raan

Serve with a good raita. I used a coriander raita. You could also heat up the remaining marinade which makes a delicious sauce.

If you like this lamb raan recipe, you might like to try some of these too…

Railway lamb curry
Kashmiri lamb rista
Keralan lamb curry
Crispy stir fried lamb

Barbecued lamb raan

Dig in!

Yield: 6

Butterflied Lamb Raan on the Kamado Joe

Butterflied lamb raan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 1 leg of lamb, surface fat removed and butterflied
  • 10 garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • 2 tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 3 tbsp melted ghee, for basting
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil, brought to smoking point in a pan and then allowed to cool.
  • 6 green bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 4 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 generous tablespoons crispy fried onions, shop bought fine
  • 1 tbsp salt, plus extra to taste
  • 2 tbsp white distilled vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 500g (2 cups) Greek yoghurt, whisked


  1. Place the butterflied leg of lamb on a clean surface and try to flatten it some by making slits across the meat. This will also give you more surface area for the fantastic marinade.
  2. Now take a sharp knife and make holes all over the meat. Stick the garlic slivers deep in the holes and then rub the meat all over with two generous tbsp of garlic and ginger paste, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp vinegar. Season with a little salt.
  3. Place all of the marinade ingredients except for the yoghurt in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Put this paste in a bowl with the whisked yoghurt and whisk some more until it is well combined. Rub this marinade all over the meat being sure to get it right into the slits you made. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours. The longer the better and yes, you can marinate for a shorter time if needs must.
  4. When ready to cook, build an indirect heat fire in your barbecue. Close the lid and open the air vents until you reach a cooking temperature of about 190c/375f. I use a Kamado Joe barbecue which features an indirect heat deflector that can be placed under the meat but if you have kettle barbecue without that feature, just place a drip pan under the meat on the cooler side of the barbecue.
  5. Always cook a big piece of meat like this by the internal temperature and not time. Rub off as much of the marinade as you can and retain it. Place a meat thermometer in the meat and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 51c/125f om the thickest part of the meat. Mine took 30 minutes to reach that heat but that means nothing. Cook to temperature, not time. It’s ready when it’s ready.
  6. Transfer the meat to a plate and baste it with a little melted ghee. Then build up your fire for direct heat cooking. I usually cover the barbecue and open the vents to bring it up to a good searing temperature of 370c/700f.
  7. Once you have a good searing heat, place the meat over direct heat on the grill and sear for a a minute or two per side. That’s all it should take. Transfer to a serving platter and cover with foil to rest for a good 15 minutes.
  8. When ready to serve, slice the meat thinly across the grain. The thinner pieces should be medium and the thicker pieces will be medium rare. Drizzle with the any remaining ghee and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. I like to serve this with coriander chutney or heat up the remaining marinade until simmering and drizzle that over the meat.

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I hope you enjoy this lamb raan recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.



Saturday 28th of October 2017

Hi Dan, Just giving your recipe a go, it looks amazing 🤗 Once I've marinated the lamb and wrap it in cling film, I have a lot of marinade left over. Do you usually just dispose of this or does it make sense to keep it back and add some more during the cooking stage? Failing that I may purchase some more lamb tomorrow and prep another one. Thanks Chris

Dan Toombs

Thursday 2nd of November 2017

Hi Chris

Reserve the extra marinade. Then stir it into the meat juices, one tablespoon at a time to make a nice gravy.

Thanks, Dan


Saturday 12th of May 2012

just finished marinading, a bit sceptical about cooking times, im using an extra large leg of lamb, any hints?? i used your old recipie last year and it turned out perfect but that one was covered and slow cooked. Thanks

Dan Toombs

Saturday 12th of May 2012

Hi Tom

The traditional way to cook lamb raan is covered and slow cooked. You may prefer this. In which case you should do that for best results. I prefer my leg of lamb to be charred on the outside and nice and pink inside. This recipe should do that for you.

I'm not sure what I wrote in the recipe but I normally cook a leg of lamb for about one and a half hours. Ovens do vary so watch in carefully. You could even cut into the leg to ensure it is cooked the way you like it and then turn the part you cooked to the bottom of the cooking tray if more cooking is required.

I hope this helps. Good luck with it and I hope you like the recipe.



Sunday 1st of January 2012

used this recipie for my extra large leg of lamb id ordered for new years eve, fed 10 friends and everyone was very impressed,couldnt believe how nice it turned out.Was quite worried about how much garlic was involved but it turned out perfect. Thanks.

Dan Toombs

Thursday 5th of January 2012

Hi Tom

Thank you very much for trying the recipe. I'm really glad you liked it. Lamb raan is a real favourite around my house. I will be posting more lamb raan recipes in 2012. Keep in touch.

Happy New Year. Dan

Lan Handsaker

Friday 4th of March 2011

Thank you for this, it truly is superb to discover a webpage which truly delivers good info as opposed to posting rubbish.

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