Smoked Leg of Lamb

smoked leg of lamb 1000

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Easter is upon us and this year we are doing smoked leg of lamb with a really nice twist. It is boneless, butterflied, stuffed with cream cheese, jalapenos and crumbled bacon and I have to say that this was the most Easter worthy lamb I have done so far.

You still have time to find a leg of lamb for smoking for this weekend and even if you or your family thinks you do not care for lamb, this might just change your mind about lamb altogether.

If your mind is completely made up against lamb this Easter or perhaps ANY Easter for that matter, then I have plenty of great recipes here on the site that are great when the family gets together for a special time and I will share a few of those links with you as well.

Let the fun begin!

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 2.5 hours* | Smoker Temp: 225°F | Meat Finish Temp: 135 °F | Recommended Wood: Oak/Cherry mix

What You'll Need
  • 4-5 lb Leg of lamb, boneless and butterflied (usually the butcher will do this for you if you ask)
  • Cream cheese, 8oz package, softened
  • 1 jalapeno, cleaned, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled bacon
  • Olive oil, extra virgin
  • Jeff's original rub
  • Butcher's twine
Make Stuffing for Smoked Leg of Lamb

Mix cream cheese, jalapenos and bacon crumbles together in a medium sized bowl and combine well to make the stuffing that will go inside of the leg of lamb.

Lamb stuffing ingredients Lamb stuffing

Set the mixture aside for a few moments.

Prepare the Lamb

Place leg of lamb on countertop and unwrap, remove netting (if any) and lay it out as flat as possible.

Note: if there are any large areas of meat, make shallow cuts into it so that you can lay it out flat.

Remove netting from lamb Unroll lamb

Sprinkle a little of my original rubonto the inside of the leg of lamb

Sprinkle rub on lamb

Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the inside surface of the leg of lamb.

Spread cream cheese mixture onto lamb

Roll the lamb up as tightly as possible and tie with butcher's twine.

Note: There is a right way to do this but don't fret if you are not a pro at tying up meat. The objective is to hold the lamb and stuffing together while it cooks. If you have to do multiple pieces of string and a separate knot for each one then that will work just fine. If you really want to learn how to do this correctly, there are lots of videos on youtube.com showing this up close and personal and you will quickly see how easy it is.

Roll it up tight tie it up with butcher's twine

Pour/brush some olive oil onto the meat then sprinkle some of my original rub and it will be the perfect amount of seasoning.

Tip: place the lamb into a pan to add the oil/rub and it will make cleanup a breeze.

Pour some olive oil onto the lamb Apply Jeff's rub to the outside

Now it is time to go get the smoker ready.

Smoke Time

Prepare the smoker for cooking at about 225°F.

I decided to use the Bradley Digital Smoker for this cook and I have to say that the Bradley smoker absolutely shines on things like this.

Read my page on the Bradley smoker if you need more details or tips about this smoker.

Preheat the smoker to about 225-240°F and allow me to recommend either oak/cherry mix or either one of these by themselves if you have it available.

Once the smoker is at the goal temperature, you are ready to smoke.

Place the lamb directly on the smoker rack.

You can expect the lamb to take about 2 to- 2-1/2 hours depending on how well you hold the temperature, how large the leg of lamb is and other variables such as wind.

Be sure to use a tried and true digital probe meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the lamb to let you know when the lamb is finished cooking.

I like to cook this cut to about 135°F and allow it to come up a little bit during the resting period. You can adjust this depending on how rare or medium you want it.

Finish and Serve

Once the lamb is finished cooking and has reached the goal temperature, quickly place it into a foil pan and cover with foil, Bring it into the house and let it rest with the foil just slightly open for about 20 minutes.

Foil slightly open and resting

This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and ensures that you end up with a piece of meat that is not only tender and tasty but also juicy.

Once the resting period is over or the natives get too restless, slice the lamb into 1/2 inch slices and serve immediately.

Finished resting and onto cutting board Beautiful smoked leg of lamb plated

We served this with delicious roasted brussel sprouts in a balsamic reduction sauce that my wife made. ( Brussel sprouts recipe courtesy of GarnishWithLemon.com)


1. I had quite a bit of the cream cheese mixture that cooked out of the lamb. Though, I have not tried this, I am thinking that a piece of cheese cloth just over the ends of the rolled up leg of lamb, perhaps tucked under the twine a little bit to keep it in place would keep the cheese in place.

The cheese cloth would still allow the smoke to get through as well.

2. To save time, you could easily stuff the lamb, roll it up and tie it the day before and store it in the fridge ready to go.

3. The smoked cream cheese married up with the lamb really well. Someone who was taste testing our lamb for this newsletter mentioned that the cream cheese tasted like really good smoked chèvre i.e. goat cheese due to the lamb flavor and the smoke. I agree and found myself eating some of the cheese by itself.

4.Pay really close attention to the temperature of the lamb. This is best at medium rare and while you can always cook the slices a little more if someone doesn't like it rare, you can never uncook it if you get it too done. Lamb is not cheap so grab the drinks and the snacks and stay close by while it smoke cooks. Be sure to use an accurate digital meat thermometer that you have personally tested in boiling and/or ice water to make sure it is registering the correct temperature. (212/33°F respectively)

Speaking of thermometers, I recommend the “Smoke” by Thermoworks, with dual probes, easy to set alarms and a range of 300 feet, you'll know exactly what's going on in the smoker without having to be out there the entire time.

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  1. My friends and family think I’m a grilling/smoker guru due to the years worth of good foods I’ve made here at the farm. Please don’t let any of them know that Jeff has assisted at my smokers and grills (I have several different kinds) for the past several years. I realize it’s not entirely Jeff’s fault I do a pretty decent job by the fires, but he certainly makes me look good. Thanks Jeff. The best thing I ever did was buy your recipes for the rubs.

    1. You can definitely reuse the net if you like. I have a turkey roast recipe where I leave the meat in the net, apply rub to the outside of the meat/net then some pieces of fatty bacon down in the net on top of the meat. I used the net to hang the meat in my smoker instead of laying it on a rack. As it cooked the bacon rendered and basted the meat while it cooked. I don’t see why you couldn’t do something like that as well if you wanted to.

  2. Jeff, on your Smoked Leg of Lamb from March 28, 2013 you don’t mention anything about brine. Just wondering do I not need to brine the lamb? Also I thought once I purchased the rub and sauce receipts the ads were supposed to go away?
    Big Fan, I look forward to your postings each week.

  3. I made this smoked leg of lamb last week. It was one of the best things I have ever tasted. The smallest leg I could buy still gave me lots of leftovers. The leftovers were almost as good several days later as when I first made it. And this is a really easy recipe to boot!

  4. Smoked my first Cornish Hens today. First time smoking anything. Results were great and Rub & Brine worked great. Thanks!

  5. Howdy Jeff:

    Just a heads up on Leg of Lamb.  Blakley Family Farms Meats has Leg of Lamb each week-end at The Cherry Street Farmers Market 15th and Peoria 7 a.m. till 11 a.m. and on Wednesdays at 41st and Peoria 8 a.m. till Noon. Stop by and see them now through the end of October.


  6. Dear jeff 

    jjust smoked a whole chicken for the first time thanks for the recipe . My Bradley smoker keeps sticking when it pushes the bricks over any idea of how to cure this 

    kind regards 

    andy woodin

    1. Not sure if you still are having problems (not sure how old this post is) but when I had the same problem I took the “puck” apparatus apart (somewhat) and then sprayed the slide area and the push mechanism with Pam cooking spray. Seemed to take care of it.

  7. I wanted to let everyone in the Tulsa area know that I saw leg of lamb at Reasor's in Prattville. I am thinking all of their stores probably have them right now. Just an FYI!

  8. Jeff, I had a problem with the cheese running out of the chicken cordon bleu the first time, then I remembered a trick my mom taught me. Take normal needle and thread and sew the ends shut after you truss it. Make sure to remove before you serve. Worked beautiful the second time. I bet you could do the same thing with your stuffed leg of lamb. Might want to get an upholstery needle to make it easier. Love your rub and sauce and RECIPES. Thanks, Ray

  9. I was JUST looking for the definitive smoked leg of lamb recipe when your e-mail came in!!  MAN, you are good!!! :-)  Trying it out today for a test run.

    1. I forgot to mention that I’m a psychic!

      Thank you for the kind words and let us know how it goes if you get a chance or if you make any changes that turn our really well.

      1. Hi Jeff – HUGE fan!  Your site and e-mail course is required reading for my friends who go crazy for my smoke and want to get started.

        Quick question about the time for this recipe on the smoker.  I found a couple other smoked LOL write-ups (on "other" smoking meat websites) which said about 45-60 minutes per pound at 225F, so 4-5 hours for a 5-lb leg to medium doneness.  I'll go by internal temp obviously, but am trying to narrow down a corridor of time to finish it up.


        1. Tom,

          Thank you for the kind words!

          I can’t speak for others but I don’t cook these often so I put it into the Bradley on the 2nd rack from the top where it would get a very consistent heat. I also made sure that nothing else was around it such as drip pans or anything that might mess with the natural flow of the heat. There was virtually no wind and it was about 52 degrees outside. I preheated the smoker for about 2 hours to make sure it was warm through and through.

          I maintained a very solid 225 throughout and my 4 lb leg of lamb was 135 degrees F in 2.5 hours (+- a minute or two)

          The last one I did was very similar according to my notes so it was what I was expecting. The meat is really tender, not a lot of fat or gristle within the meat so I can’t imagine it taking much more than this.

          Like you say, be sure to use a good thermometer and I think you’ll find that 45-60 per pound is probably a bit much. Seems to be closer to 35-40 minutes per pound in my calculation but this is also more relative to the thickness than the weight so keep that in mind as well.

          1. Perfect on the timing, Jeff.  On a Weber Smokey Mtn with water pan and oak wood, average temp about 230F.  3 hours and reached 135F internal temp, pulled with a 45 minute rest.