Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Grilled Lamb

Packed full of flavor and a burst of spice, Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Grilled Lamb grills up quickly for a relaxing weeknight meal with a cool beer in hand.  

Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Lamb from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

I’ve mentioned in passing that during the summer we New Yorkers love to be outside – be it enjoying the parks, beaches, farmer’s markets and most notably eating in the fresh air.  We can’t help it, our homes are tiny and hot and when you start cooking in our even tinier kitchens they get even hotter.  Not every meal can be eaten at a restaurant though, which means we start to figure out ways to cook outside.  Luckily there are plenty of sources from public grills, setting up one on your terrace, fire escape (I don’t recommend this), and if you are really lucky your backyard.

Now me? I love the eating and cooking on a grill part but I never got into cooking on a public grill, so when my brother put me in charge of cooking during a family weekend a few weeks ago I didn’t say no.  I should have but I didn’t.  You see my family, we’re a big group, we are also loud, opinionated, picky and like to tease {a lot}.  However I was in charge, which meant I picked what we were eating and that choice was lamb.

Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Lamb |

Lamb they said? Yes lamb, I know, it’s not the first thing you think of for summer grilling but hear me out.  When you pick up American lamb from your butcher you’re supporting local farms;  the meat is generally a little fattier but fat equals great flavor.  Plus the lamb doesn’t have that gamey flavor that’s traditionally associated with it.  It’s a great way to introduce people to the cut who claim they aren’t fans, plus once it’s butterflied, it grills up in a flash.  A meat that is generally associated with long and slow cooking totally gets transformed on a warm summer night.  Did I mention it stands up to bold flavors incredibly well?  I’ll never pass up traditional garlic, rosemary and yogurt sauce but for summer fun I went for a different take.

Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Lamb  with Cilantro Pesto |

I marinated my boneless leg of leg with a summer ale, chipotles in adobo sauce, lime juice and onion.  The lamb sat in this flavor bath for 8 hours – which by the way comes together so quickly you can do it before you run off to work, and then gets sprinkled with ancho chili powder, salt and cumin before it’s grilled.  To compliment the spicy flavors, I whipped up a quick cilantro pesto and served it on top of some tortillas.  All that spice in sprinkled on the lamb requires a cool drink to go alongside it, on a hot summers night I recommend a refreshing brew. My choice? A Summer or Pale Ale from your favorite craft brewery. Summer ales are generally lighter in taste but still hoppy and pair well with the chipotle and ancho flavors.

p.s. Don’t have a grill? That’s okay, this cooks up easily on a grill pan and finished in your oven in the same amount of time!

Now that I have you craving lamb for dinner tonight, head on over to American Lamb Board’s website where you can vote on your favorite Brews + Ewes grilling recipe! While you are there, you can enter to win the ultimate lamb grilling package!

Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Grilled Lamb
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  • 1 - 4 to 5lb American boneless leg of lamb, butterflied
  • For the marinade:
  • 12 ounces Summer or Pale Ale
  • 1 - 7 ounce can, chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • For the seasoning:
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Cilantro pesto:
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas and lime wedges to serve


  1. In the bowl of your food processor add the entire can of chipotles in adobo plus the sauce, onion and garlic. Pulse until the onion is completed minced.
  2. Transfer to a large zip top bag contained the lamb and add the beer, plus lime juice. Mix everything together in the bag to combine, seal and place in a container to prevent any spillage. Place in your refrigerator marinate at a minimum of 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
  3. Remove the lamb 30 minutes before cooking to come to room temperature.
  4. In a small bowl combine the salt, ancho powder, garlic, onion and cumin powder. Generously sprinkle the rub all over the lamb.
  5. Heat your grill to medium-high heat and cook the lamb about 9-11 minutes per side, starting with the fat side down. If you feel like the lamb is cooking too quickly, lower the heat slightly. Remove the lamb when it reaches 145 degrees for medium-rare, continue to cook if you prefer your meat more well done.
  6. Let the lamb rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
  7. To make the cilantro pesto, place the cilantro, parmesan cheese, almonds, garlic and lime juice in the bowl of your food processor. Process until the cilantro is broken up and looks like a paste. With the motor running drizzle the olive oil through the top and stop when the pesto is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve the lamb with warm tortillas, the cilantro pesto and lime wedges on the side.
Recipe Type: Main


Lamb is best served at medium-rare. You can continue to cook it longer if that is not your prefer, medium is done at 160 degrees and well done at 170. Please note that the meat will continue to cook as it rests.
If you do not have access to a grill, you can cook the lamb on a grill pan. You may have to cut the roast in half to fit depending on the size of your pan. If so, cook the lamb about 7-8 minutes per side and then finish in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. You can cook the lamb entirely on a grill pan but I found the spices to be a bit overwhelming and smokey indoors.

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 This post is sponsored on behalf of  The American Lamb Board.  As always all opinions are my own and thank for supporting brands that I work with. 

Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Lamb |

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10 thoughts on “Beer Marinated Ancho Chili Spiced Grilled Lamb

  1. Joanne

    I think using a public grill would be a little weird for me…but I am definitely not opposed to capitalizing on family members’ grills! This sounds like a great summer meal!

  2. Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons

    Um yeah, public grills kind of freak me out, so I glad you had that family get-together where you got to grill this awesome recipe 🙂 I mean, it looks so tasty that it MIGHT have been worth using a public grill. Maybe.


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