When cooked right, slow-roasted lamb effortlessly melts in the mouth and has a delicious taste. Lamb shoulder roast and lamb chops are easy and elegant dining options. It requires a handful of spices and a little bit of time investment to make the most succulent lamb roast or chops.
Lamb shoulder roasts are best done in an oven. The overnight marinated lamb shoulders (with oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and other spices) are roasted in the oven for about 2 ½ to 4 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature reaches 160℉. For grilled lamb chops, the recommended internal temperature is 145℉.
Lamb shoulders are a great choice for roasting lamb. It has the maximum flavor and easily pulls apart when marinated and cooked perfectly. Lamb chops, on the other hand, are cuts from the loin, leg, ribs, or lump that have a strong flavor. They are tenderized by marinating and are grilled on a cast iron skillet on high heat. Read more to find out the best lamb chops and lamb shoulder recipes here.
How To Cook Lamb Shoulder
Lamb shoulder is best cooked low and slow in an oven. For optimum results, always use grass-fed lamb. Before cooking, it is recommended to make small incisions all over the lamb with a sharp knife. This would bring more flavorful and faster results.
Defrost Lamb Shoulder Before Cooking
If you are using frozen lambs, it is important to first defrost or thaw them. Frozen lambs should be removed from the freezer and placed in the refrigerator the night before cooking.
Once thawed, sprinkle some salt, pepper, oil, and garlic and wrap it in foil or plastic wrap. Leave it for up to 12 hours or overnight in the fridge. Remove the lamb shoulder from the fridge about one hour before cooking.
The internal temperature of a perfectly cooked lamb shoulder roast in the oven is 170 ℉ (for well-done), 160℉ (for medium-done), and 140℉ (for rare done).
How To Cook Lamb Shoulder In Oven
The following is a list of some of the best tried-and-tested lamb shoulder recipes in the oven:
1. Classic Lamb Shoulder Roast On Oven Rack
Ingredients Required: Lamb shoulder (about 6 pounds), chopped garlic cloves, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 3 tbsp olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, chopped fresh rosemary.
- Marinade the lamb shoulder overnight with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Remove the marinated lamb shoulder from the refrigerator one hour before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (or 163℃).
- When cooking lamb shoulder in the oven, place the meat on the rack with the fat side up and make sure to add water to the drip pan below it. Wrap with aluminum foil.
- Cook for about 4 ½ hours or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the meat from the oven and take off the aluminum foil.
- Cook the lamb shoulder for another 5-7 minutes to give a nice crisp and golden brown coating.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
2. Traditional Lamb Shoulder Roast with Potatoes
Ingredients Required: Lamb shoulder (4 pounds), minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, 2 potatoes (1 inch thick slices), 1 sweet potato (1 inch thick slices), 2 medium white onions cut in half, mint sauce.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange all the vegetables in the roasting pan in an even layer. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and black pepper and toss to combine.
- Place the lamb on top of the layer of vegetables and brush with some oil. Add some sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Place the roasting pan in the middle rack of the oven and roast for about 2 ½ hours or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Transfer the roasted lamb shoulder to a plate and cover it with aluminum foil.
- Let it rest for about 10 minutes and serve with roasted vegetables, mint sauce, and sliced onions.
3. Slow Roast Persian Lamb with Pomegranate
Ingredients Required: 1 lamb shoulder (weighing around 3.5 pounds), 4 tbsp Pomegranate molasses, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 onions chopped into slices.
- Heat the oven to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl mix pomegranate molasses, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, and garlic. Coat the lamb with the glaze and let it sit for around 15-20 minutes.
- Place onion rings on a deep roasting pan and place the lamb on top of the onions. Drizzle some olive oil on top and cover the pan with a large aluminum foil.
- Place the lamb in the middle rack of the oven and roast it for about 3 hours.
- Remove the foil and roast it further for another ½ an hour to get a beautiful golden crust.
- Transfer the roasted lamb shoulder to a serving plate and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Toss all the ingredients left in the pan and serve them with the lamb.
How To Grill Lamb Shoulder Chops
Undercooking lamb chops may render it an unpleasant chewy texture, and overcooking will dry out the meat. For the best results, both rib chops and sirloin chops should be grilled until the internal temperature reads 145℉ (medium rare done). Here is how to cook lamb shoulder chops:
4. Grilled Lamb Chops with Pimenton Rub
Ingredients Required: 4 bone-in lamb shoulder chops (total of 2 pounds), 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 tbsp dried oregano, lemon juice, kosher salt, garlic powder, and paprika to taste.
- In a small bowl, mix olive oil, oregano, kosher salt, paprika, lemon juice, and garlic powder. Coat the lamb chops with the glaze.
- Refrigerate the lamb chops for about 2-8 hours. Bring to room temperature about an hour before cooking.
- Preheat the cast iron skillet on very high heat (about 450-550 degrees Fahrenheit) and cook the chops on one side for about 5 minutes. Turn once and cook for another 5 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature is 145℉ (for medium rare done).
- Remove the chops and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
5. Indian Spice Grilled Lamb Chops
Ingredients Required: 4 lamb chops with bone-in (about 2 pounds in total), 3 tbsp sunflower oil or canola oil, 2 tbsp lime juice, minced garlic, 2 tsp grated ginger, ½ tsp coriander powder, ½ tsp turmeric powder, salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Combine all the spices in a small bowl and coat the glaze evenly to the lamb chops. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 3-24 hours.
- Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
- Use a cast iron skillet and grill over direct heat. Preheat the grill for about 7-10 minutes before cooking.
- Add the lamb chops to the grill and cook each side for about 6 minutes (10-12 minutes in total) until you get the desired degree of doneness.
- Transfer to a plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Always roast leaner cuts in a hotter oven for the first ½ an hour (at about 450 degrees Fahrenheit) and then reduce the heat to a lower temperature (about 350 degrees Fahrenheit). The total cooking time will be about ½ an hour per pound for medium rare doneness. Roast fattier pieces at about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that fattier pieces of lamb may take a little longer to cook than lean pieces but they are more flavorful and juicier in taste. You should trim excess fat as well as the silver skin before marinating.
Scot has loved smoking food in his free time for the last few years. Each major holiday or off-weekend, Scot spends days testing and prepping new recipes for perfection.