The Butterflied Leg
Cook Time & Temps
Grill over direct heat, flipping every 2–3 minutes till nicely browned all over
Grill over indirect heat for a total cook time of about 20–25 minutes
Head Straight to Our Favorite Butterflied Leg Recipes
Want to take it step-by-step?
Read on for all the details...
Get ready to gather your 'Ohana and friends because this generous cut of meat is packing plenty to share. At first glance, it may seem like you're in over your head, but fear not! We've deboned and flattened it out to make it that much easier to prepare. And with such versatility, it can be cooked in many delicious ways- from grilling and smoking to roasting and braising or even set to forget in the Instant Pot.
Serving size: One 3–5 lb Butterflied Leg serves 6–8.
Defrosting- Be sure to give your butterflied leg enough time to thaw properly before cooking or marinating to ensure even cooking and optimal flavor. Place in fridge to safely thaw at least 2 days before cooking.
Getting Started: To prepare this cut for cooking, begin by carefully removing any visible silver skin (see more on Trimming Silver Skin). You'll quickly discover that it naturally separates along the muscle borders. Divide into 2-3 sizable portions. This will make it easier to evenly marinate and handle while cooking. Some parts will be much thicker, to create a more uniform thickness throughout the meat, butterfly further into the thicker parts or score about ½-inch-deep slits across the surface for a more consistent result.
Choosing your fat: Cook with a good amount of fat to add moisture; choose oil or fat with a high smoking point necessary for a good sear- ghee butter or rendered fats like lard or tallow, or avocado oil.
Flavoring Techniques: A butterflied leg is a perfect canvas for seasoning a wide range of flavors. With plenty of surface area, marinades and spices can impart maximum flavor to the meat. To bring out some of the best flavor of this cut, try dry salt brining- this will help lock in moisture, season the meat throughout, and create an incredible outside crust. Throw in some additional herbs and spices to customize the flavor profile to your preference (see more on Dry Salt Brine). Or simply marinate in an aromatic blend of fresh herbs, a few garlic cloves, lemon, and olive oil - try this Recipe. For best results allow the butterflied leg to marinate overnight.
While there are various ways to prepare this large hunk of meat, one of the most fool-proof methods is grilling. It’s important to first sear the meat over high heat in order to create a crust. Then move to indirect heat and cooked until it reaches the desired level of doneness.
- Start by setting up your grill with two temperature zones- high heat for searing and indirect heat to finish cooking.
- Apply oil all over each piece of meat and lightly oil the grill grates.
- Keep the grill lid open and cook, continuously flipping every 2-3 minutes- just be cautious of flare-ups (have a spray bottle of water on hand and spritz any unwanted flare-ups).
- Once it’s nicely browned all over, move over to the other side of the grill to finish cooking- for a total cooking time of about 20-25 minutes.
- For extra flavor, you can brush the meat with a favorite barbecue sauce during the last few minutes of cooking.
- Keep in mind it will continue to cook once you remove the meat from the grill. When the thickest part of the meat comes within 10°F under the target temperature, it’s time to take it off the heat. The right temperature
- Remove meat from the grill onto a cutting board, tent with with foil, and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.
- Thinly slice against the grain to ensure a tender bite. Cutting guide
A digital meat thermometer is the most reliable way to check doneness. Insert into the thickest part of the meat and aim to remove from heat at an internal temp of 125°- 130°F (medium rare - medium).