How to slow cook lamb shoulder
By Natasha Yarr, Medium Well
Lamb Shoulder is the perfect joint for slow (and lazy) cooking, making it perfect for weekend cooking. It has just the right amount of fat to naturally baste the joint while cooking, which makes for a lovely rich and juicy meat when it is cooked with exceptional flavour.
Learning how to cook lamb shoulder can seem daunting at first, but it’s really simple when you know how. In this article, you’ll learn an easy-cook method that cooks in a similar low-and-slow style to pulled pork for 4-5 hours on a low heat and can then then pulled apart or sliced with ease.
Lamb is such a versatile meat, and because it can handle bold flavours so exceptionally well, you can adapt this technique and develop your own recipe and style to suit your taste.
- 3kg shoulder of lamb, bone-in
- 2 tbsp lamb meat rub
- 2 onions, quartered
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 glass wine (red or white)
- Pre-heat the oven to 150ºC/Fan(130ºC)/Gas 2
- As with any joint you are cooking, take the joint from the fridge at least 45 minutes before you intend to cook it. The joint needs time to get to room temperature before going in the oven, otherwise the meat tissues will contract and you’ll end up with a dry joint, whereas we’re aiming for a nice juicy flavour with lamb shoulder.
- Put the shoulder on a chopping board and, using a sharp knife, score the skin all over. Make sure you don’t go to deep into the flesh and meat itself, you really just want to score the skin here.
- Using whatever meat rub you want (we like Lamb Rub, obviously) put at least 1-2 tbsp of rub all over the surface of the lamb. You’ll need to pat and rub it into the lamb, so you might get a bit messy, but it’s worth the mess, trust us.
- Cut the onions into quarters and put them in the bottom of a large roasting tray to cover most of the base. Pour in the glass of wine, but any booze you have lying around will do the same job, so don’t buy wine just for the recipe.
- Sit the lamb shoulder on top, and then cover the lamb and roasting tray in foil. It’s usually easiest to do this loosely as the bone in the lamb can pierce the foil, but don’t worry too much if that does happen, it really won’t affect things too much.
- Roast in the oven for 4-5 hours. You might want to check everything is ok every hour or so, and baste the lamb with the wine and juices that form in the roasting tray.
- Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to make sure you get a nice brown crust on the skin
- When the lamb is cooked, transfer it to a large plate, and cover it loosely in foil. The lamb needs to rest for a good 20-30 minutes, and it is especially important you don’t skip this step if you are ‘pulling’ the lamb. Resting the meat allows the meat to relax after cooking, and the juices are redistributed throughout the joint.
- While the meat is resting, prepare your side dishes and/or accompaniments.
- Either cut or pull the lamb into pieces, using a fork and knife (or two forks if you’re pulling). It’s much more about the flavour rather than the presentation, as this is casual eating. As such we find it goes brilliantly served with easy cook informal sides, such as potato salad, coleslaw and stuffed into flatbreads in a kebab style.
So there you have it, an easy cook method of how to slow cook lamb shoulder. You can adapt it and modify however you want, but the basic principle will always apply - lamb shoulder is super easy to cook.
Your presentation doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s arguably not meant to be, but the flavours are without question the star of the show here. We’d love to see how you get on with cooking lamb shoulder, and if you do post an image on social please use the hashtag #MeatSocially so we can see it.