Barbecued Yoghurt Marinated Shoulder of Lamb

The yoghurt marinade is Greek in origin, a very simple combination of yoghurt, onion water (prepared from soaking chopped onion in boiling water), garlic and bay leaves. Start this dish a day in advance so that you allow for 24 hours marinating. I like to use goat yoghurt for a richer flavour. Saffron rice and a simple Greek Salad makes a tasty accompaniment.

6 Portions
Prep: 15 minutes plus 24 hours marinating
Cook: 2-3 hours



  • 1.5kg shoulder of lamb
  • 4-5 tbsp onion water (see below)
  • 400g greek style yoghurt (goat yoghurt works well)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

Onion Water

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 tbsp boiling water


  1. Onion Water: Place the onion in a bowl and pour over 5 tbsp of boiling water. When cool strain the water through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing down on the onion to extract juice.
  2. Marinade: Mix together the onion water, yoghurt, garlic, bay leaves and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Coat the lamb in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. To Barbecue: Heat a gas or coal barbecue to a low to medium heat (the coals should be white and without a flame. Place the marinated lamb on the barbecue and leave to cook slowly for 2-3 hours, turning and basting the lamb every 30-40 minutes to allow for even cooking (you will need to top up the coals to keep the heat on a charcoal barbecue). .
  4. To Serve: Carve the meat and accompany with pilaf or saffron rice and a Greek Salad. If you would like a sauce for the meat try a simple tzatziki (yoghurt, mint and grated cucumber).