Mike Tomkins’ Honey BBQ Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Mike Tomkins’ Honey BBQ Butterflied Leg of Lamb


Lamb is the quintessential British celebratory dish. Take your spring celebrations to the next level with this butterflied leg of lamb recipe, coated in a sweet honey marinade to really accentuate the beautiful lamb flavour. Cook on the BBQ like Mike for extra fun and flavours, or simply pop into the oven to cook your honey roast lamb indoors.


cooked lamb Temperatures

Rare: 52 °C

Medium: 60 °C

Well done: 71 °C

As always, we recommend cooking your lamb to temperature, not time. It's the only way to ensure the fat renders down well and to get a perfectly pink medium rare finish. Use a leave-in meat thermometer to alert you when it reaches temperature, then follow up with an instant-read thermometer to check it all over.


  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • ½ a cinnamon stick
  • 5 spring onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 50g olive oil
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 2kg leg of lamb, butterflied
  • 50g honey
  • Pestle and mortar
  • Food processor
  • DOT Digital Oven Thermometer
  • Thermapen Classic
  • Butcher’s twine
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  • Toast your star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Grind in a pestle and mortar to form a fine powder — don't worry too much if there are still some strands of cinnamon stick that haven't been ground properly!
  • Add your dry spice mix to a food processor along with your spring onions, garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, olive oil and parsley. Blitz until you form a smooth paste - this can take a couple of minutes.
  • Lay your butterflied lamb on a tray, fat side down. Rub your marinade all over the meat where the bone would have been. Flip over and score the fat, then season generously with salt and pepper. Leave in the fridge to marinade for at least 4 hours but ideally overnight.
  • Prepare your BBQ by setting up for indirect cooking. We’re looking for the grill temperature to be around 180-200 °C (if cooking in the oven, set your fan oven to 200 °C). Whilst your grill is coming up to temperature, use butcher's twine to tie your leg of lamb into a neat roll with the fat on the outside. Insert the DOT probe into the middle of the lamb and set the alarm to 55 °C.
  • Once your butterflied lamb reaches an internal temperature of 30 °C, it will have turned an amazing golden brown. We’re now going to take it up a notch and baste with honey every 20/30 minutes until the Thermapen DOT confirms the lamb has reached 55 °C. At this point, use your Thermapen Classic to take some readings from the rest of the lamb; if there are areas that are a little under 55 °C, cook until they reach temperature.
  • Leaving your DOT in the lamb, remove it from the BBQ and rest; this is a crucial step to achieving super tender meat. The temperature will likely rise to around 60 °C, and then drop again to 55°C — this is your cue to start carving. Resting can take up to one hour, but I promise you it's worth the wait!
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" Thermapen is one of those kitchen tools I can't live without – it's something I use every single day from making sauces, to bbq cooking, to private dining and events, it comes with me everywhere! A Thermapen will improve you as a chef and a cook by taking the guess work out of complex cooking."
Mike Tomkins
Masterchef 2021 Runner Up
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