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Smoked Leg of Lamb

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This smoked leg of lamb is perfect for lazy days outdoors.

I love a good smoked leg of lamb. So much so, I serve smoked leg of lamb in all seasons.

Often this is done on my Traeger but this hanging lamb leg recipe is a lot of fun and great when having friends around.

You might not have tried a smoked leg of lamb like this one before but I think if you do, you’ll want to do it many more times.

Smoked leg of lamb

Charred and nicely smoked. This is a great way to cook leg of lamb!

About this smoked leg of lamb recipe

This isn’t a recipe to attempt if you have a busy day. It takes time, often up to six hours to cook a whole leg.

That’s part of the fun of it though. So grab a few cold beers, invite some friends around and let it slowly cook and smoke.

As the lamb hangs over the fire, it will become deliciously tender too.

The only seasoning require is a bit of garlicky, salt water which you splash on it from time to time. That and perhaps a few sprigs of rosemary from time to time to flavour the smoke.

How hot should the fire be?

As a general rule of thumb, if your hand is uncomfortably hot when held about 6 inches from the fire for 2 seconds, your fire is perfect. 

Remember this smoked leg of lamb is a long cook so no point rushing things. If your fire becomes too small, add another log or two. 

Be sure to move the fire and/or your leg of lamb around from time to time to ensure the lamb cooks evenly. 

You’ll know when your smoked leg of lamb is beginning to cook to perfection after a few hours. The aroma is amazing will will make everyone nearby hungry.

Do I have to smoke a whole leg?

No! The cooking instructions are the same but it won’t take as long to cook.

In fact, other cuts of meat are equally as delicious cooked in this way. Try hanging a couple of chickens or a rub roast. Both are amazing.

Hanging the lamb…

I use a tripod to hang meats over fire.

This isn’t essential kit though. Before I had my tripod, I used to hang my lamb and other meats from a tree branch.

Don’t feel like you have to do your smoked leg of lamb like I do. 

Use whatever you have to get that lamb hanging. 

What if after 6 hours the lamb still isn’t cooked?

This smoked leg of lamb is ready when it’s ready.

You could, however speed things up if required. Depending on the size of your leg of lamb, you might find the the part nearest the fire is cooked to perfection but the meat higher up, closer to the ankle is still a bit raw. 

You could lower the lamb let to try to cook it or take the smoked leg of lamb off the hood, and throw it directly on the coals, ensure that the rarest bit is on the hottest part of the fire. 

This will cook through quite quickly. 

If you are worried about having enough time to cook your smoked leg of lamb, try smoking one or two half legs of lamb instead. 

Step by step photos…

lamb leg smoking over fire

Starting off the long cook

smoked leg of lamb

After four hours, the bottom part of the leg was colouring nicely. The top was a bit rare though.

Leg of lamb smoking

I through the whole leg directly on the coals at the end to cook the rare bits. Then hanged it just a bit longer over the smoke.

To Serve Smoked leg of lamb …

Try this just as it is!

You don’t need anything else with a smoked leg of lamb like this. 

That said, it’s also delicious sliced and served with naans, salad and a few spicy sauces. 

You might also like to try some of these recipes…

New butter chicken recipe
Hot as hell chicken phall
Goan Cafreal chicken wings
Chicken Sajji – Chicken smoked next to fire
Lamb seekh kebabs
Chicken seekh kebabs

Yield: 4 - 6

Smoked Leg of Lamb

smoked leg of lamb
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 4 seconds
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes 4 seconds


  • 1 whole leg of lamb
  • 1 - 2 tbsp salt
  • 500ml water
  • 3 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 4 generous tbsp sea salt


  1. Start by rubbing the salt all over the lamb. This should be done a day or two ahead of cooking but that isn't essential.
  2. Pour the water into a spray bottle and add the garlic and ginger paste and salt. Shake it until the salt dissolves into the water.
  3. Now build a good sized fire and hang the meat, securing it through bone near the ankle with a butcher’s hook or strong wire. The meat needs to hang about one or two feet from the flame while cooking. This is a lengthy cooking process and you will need to adjust the height of the lamb leg from time to time or spread the wood to the sides.
  4. Cook for about four to five hours, squirting the leg with the water mixture every half hour or so. As the meat cooks, it will take on the smokiness from the fire. It smells amazing and believe me… the flavour is worth waiting for.
  5. When the lamb leg reaches an internal temperature of 60c/140f it will be cooked a delicious medium rare.
  6. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. No need for resting the meat. It has been resting the whole time it was cooking. Serve with tandoori roast potatoes, your veggies of choice and coriander and mint chutney.


Depending on the size of your leg of lamb, you might find that the shank is not cooking through as quickly as the top of the leg hanging closest to the fire. No problem! Just throw the whole thing directly on the hot coals and move it around from time to time, ensuring the rarest part is on the highest heat and cook to your preferred doneness.

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