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Lamb shoulder recipes

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm looking for some possible lamb shoulder recipes. I bought a couple of 10 lb pcs. I've never cooked with lamb before so I don't really have any idea how to proceed but I'm thinking of braising it. Also I have no idea how long it should be braised.

Any input would be great, thanks.
post #2 of 12
If you've got a smoker, smoke it at the 250-275 for about 50 min a pound, to 195 - 200 internal before removing and resting, well wrapped (I use saran) for at least 30 minutes. You're looking for a texture in between brisket flat cooked to the tender slice, and pork cooked for pulling. As the saying goes, "past well done, and into tender." Unbelievably good. As to wood choice, Lamb loves oak, mesquite, citrus, maple, apple and alder in that order. Hickory's down the list with this meat.

May be cooked to the "with a spoon" level of tenderness in a roasting pan, tightly covered, at a low temperature -- around 250 deg F, for 7 hours. Brown it first, though. Because it sure as **** won't brown Check for "with a spoon" recipes, it's tres Francais, although more with a leg (Gigot a La Cuillère). FWIW, it's also got some serious roots in North Africa and Spain. Tip: Keep a little wine in the bottom of the pan throughout the cook.

Cooking to the falling apart but not quite stringy point, for a 10 lb shoulder, using normal braising technique -- I'd guess, and I stress the word, guess, at around 5 hours.

Me, I'd smoke it or cook it a la cuillère.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I looked up 'with a spoon' recipes and found one I want to try. The shoulder is rather large, I don't have any pans that it will fit in to brown it. I'm thinking of just rubbing it with some butter (after trimming the fat) and throwing it under the broiler. Would that would just as well?

post #4 of 12
The broiler will be too hot and will burn the outside before the inside is done. But see below for the opened butterflied leg comments.

Are these legs bone-in or butterflied? Most of the legs I find are boneless butterflied legs but you may have a better source than I do. Cooking bone in usually results in improved flavor, but is more difficult to carve.

A butterflied leg can be cooked a couple of ways. Tied as a roast or open, more like a spatchcocked chicken. I've grilled the opened legs over medium heat to good results and slow roasted a tied leg with good results too.

But also cut in medium small chunks and stewed--my favorite of this method is Lamb Saag, an Indian style lamb and spinach curry. Or you can take these same chunks and cook in a spicy southwest stew with beans, corn and squash to serve over Fry Bread in a Navajo Taco style.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
I found out it's called 'lamb square-cut shoulder'.

I figure broiling to brown it would be perfect, would probably just need to watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn, then just roast it or braise it as per the recipe.

As for carving it, I've been reading that it'll get tender enough that I can just pull the bones right out of it (hopefully), otherwise I'll just figure out how to carve it once it's done.

Edit: apparently I can't post urls yet.
post #6 of 12
hozer -- Sounds good. BDL
post #7 of 12
It has been a while, but I once tried a recipe I saw in a Bon Appetit magazine. Basically you briased the lamb for something like 3 hours in a white wine, not a red as one might expect. And alongside the meat in the pan were 3 or 4 heads of garlic. Yes, heads, not cloves. The long, slow braising tempered the "lambiness" of the roast so the flavor of the lamb just tickled your tongue, it didn't slap you in the face.

I actually like a stronger lamb flavor, but this was for a dinner party where some of the guests were not terribly fond of lamb. They liked it.

You might be able to find the actual recipe on the Bon Appetit web page.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok so I tried roasting it and I don't really like how it turned out. I suppose I didn't expect the lamb to have such a strong taste.

I had rosemary, garlic on both the top and bottom of the shoulder. Rubbed the shoulder with olive oil, salt and pepper. In the oven initially to brown, and then at 170 for 4 hrs.

I also found it hard to carve the meat off, the bone shape of the 2 pieces are really weird. I found a video on youtube that showed how to carve off the ribs which went pretty well, but the shoulder bone was hard to get off. I've been looking for instructions on how to carve it before putting it into the oven but haven't had any luck.

teamfat, I'll definitely try and find that recipe, looking for a more subtle taste. Thanks for the suggestion
post #9 of 12

C'est la vie, it goes to show you never can tell

170 for four hours? In chess, they'd say "(?!!)" If 170C (338F), way too hot to be "low and slow," and get the proteins to denature, which was the idea. If 170F, too cool for safety, and four hours isn't nearly enough time for the proteins to completely denature. That "denature" thing is what makes slow cooked food so tender.

What happened to "250 for 7 hours?" "250 at 7 hours" are time and temperature directions, not a metaphor. I suppose the fault is partially mine if I didn't specify F or C, but still... You said you'd looked up "with a spoon" recipes and didn't ask for anything more specific.

I'm afraid the cut is going to be more "lamby" than the leg because -- well, because that's just how meat shoulders are. And to be honest, a low and slow approach brings out meat's natural flavor. But low and slow weren't in it, were they? Still, considering that the meat should have cooked tightly wrapped or covered (you did cover it, right?) with a substantial hit of wine in the bottom of the pan, you've got a pretty good idea of what a braise is like.

If you just stuck it in the oven and roasted it to medium-well, I can imagine that it was pretty tough, somewhat greasy and more than a bit gamy. Most parts of a lamb should be cooked to medium-rare or very well. Anything in between is anathema. The shoulder particularly responds much better to overcooking.

Finally, a lamb shoulder cannot be "carved," at least not in any normal use of the term. The bone structure around the ball joint is too complicated to take slices. You can "bone it out," if you like. The way to to this is to locate the arm bone, and run a very sharp boning knife along it so the tip just touches the bone. Then work the knife a little deeper into the meat, angling it so the tip follows the contour of the bone. Keep working along the bone until you've got its full width exposed. Trace the side of bone with your knife tip until you hit an obstruction and angle your knife to work around the obstruction. Expose each bone you come to, then work around it. When the structure is exposed, you'll have to work underneath the bones in the same way. Start with a very sharp knife; keep the knife sharp during the process -- it may need to be steeled a couple of times; make short, shallow cuts; and, be very patient. Once the shoulder's been boned, it can be rolled, tied, and treated like any other roast. This takes a while, which is why butchers don't usually do it.

It's also why a shoulder should be cooked long enough to more or less fall of the bone, or be taken with a spoon. So you don't have to "carve."

Hope this clarifies.

Sorry it didn't work out better for you,
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Def. not your fault, plus I expect to make some mistakes anyway, I'm still just learning.

Anyway here's the recipe I followed:

I guess I need to at least increase the temp. to 200F, and probably cook for 6 hours. I guessed the weight wrong on the lamb shoulder, it's actually about 5 lbs bone in. I pretty much followed the recipe, it turned out to be closer to medium well I would guess. I did cover it, using a pan (upside-down) and wrap foil along the edges.

I've got a couple more shoulders, wanted to get it right haha.

Thanks for all the tips.
post #11 of 12
Trust me, please.


5 lb shoulder. 5-1/2 hours at 250F, tightly foiled and/or covered.

Test for doneness, by checking to see if the meat falls off. If not, put back for another half hour, before removing. Or, you can use a meat thermometer. Internal temperature should be 195-200F. If you do use a thermometer, remember the tip of the probe should be as close to the center of the roast as possible, but not touching any bone.

Allow substantial rest time for any large pieces of slow cooked food to settle. Remove the roast from the pan, and wrap it in foil, or (better) saran wrap, then put it in a draft-free place. While the roast rests, you can de-fat the juices in the pan, and make gravy. One will time the other.


Meat can be slow cooked at lower temperatures than 250, and often is despite USDA recommendations (which are usually pegged at or above 250). In fact, if you talk to experience barbecue (by which I mean slow-smoking) you'll learn 225 is the center of the ideal range for pork. A lot of these guys use similarly low temps for beef -- however, on the competition circuit, the winning briskets are cooking in the 250 - 300 range. The reasons for the higher temperatures? Consistently repeatable excellent results, and predictable cooking times. You want both.

Something else to hold on to: Most non-professionals are used to predicting cooking times based solely on weight. However, when you cook large pieces of meat, you learn that after length exceeds thickness, or beyond a certain weight for a given cut, there are absolute times you start to bump against. In this case, that's why the recommendation for a 5 lbs shoulder is not double the recommendation for a 10 lbs cut.

Hope this helps,
post #12 of 12
personaly i bone out the shoulder,stuff with honey,thyme,mint,garlic and anchovie.sit the joint on the bones and mirepiox inch of veal stock.cover in foil and cook for 4 hours on 180c.the stock produced and reduced should provide an excellent jus.
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