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Lemon Kicked Lamb Shanks

lemon lamb shanks

I love barbequeing or “braaing” as we call it in South Africa. You just can’t beat the taste of flame grilled meat. We have lamb at least once a week (it’s certainly does help being married to a butcher). Whether it’s lamb chops, ribs, or shanks, I get drawn to the BBQ, light up the fire, and immediately start imagining the delicious taste sensation we’re about to embark on. These marinate overnight, and are grilled before they are roasted in the oven for a smokey flavor, so prepare ahead.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 4-6 ServingsServings


  • 4 to 5 lamb shanks (Ask your butcher to knick them at two places)


  • 2 large onions, sliced into rings
  • 2 sticks lemon grass (slice lengthwise down the middle, separate leaves and slice into ½-inch slices)
  • Juice of two large lemons (1/2 cup)
  • 1½ teaspoons crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoons lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 6 to 8 sprigs of fresh rosemary


Place half the onions and lemon grass at the bottom of a glass marinating dish. Place lamb on top. Combine lemon juice and garlic and pour over shanks. Sprinkle shanks with spices, ensuring shanks are well covered with spice (you may need a bit more). Place rosemary, then the other half of onions and lemon grass on top of meat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, for 18 to 24 hours.

If using a charcoal barbecue, light it 45 minutes to an hour before starting to cook. Once the flame has died down and the coals are just glowing that lovely orange colour, remove shanks from marinade and place on the grid. Reserve marinade. If using a gas barbecue, make sure the grid is hot enough. Shanks should sizzle as they are placed on it. Turn shanks, cooking until each side is golden brown, about 15 minutes per side. Bring marinade (with onions and lemongrass) to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove grilled shanks into a roasting pan, pour boiled marinade on top, cover, and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F and continue roasting for 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover 15 minutes before removing from oven to crisp up. You can leave in oven at 250°F to keep warm until serving.

Alternatively, you can make this dish braised in the oven if desired (and for Passover just leave out the mustard powder):

Follow step 1 and then preheat oven to 300°F.

Remove lamb from marinade and season lamb with salt and pepper.  Heat Dutch oven to high heat and sear lamb shanks on each side for 2 minutes until golden brown and caramelized. Pour marinade over lamb cover and place in oven for 3 - 4 hours.

You can leave in oven at 250°F to keep warm until serving.

As published in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller (Summer 2012) - Subscribe Now

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