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Lamb Cooking Tips: How to Slow Cook Lamb Soft and Tender

No matter if you’re cooking lamb for a family meal or for an important dinner party, it’s always nice to have lamb that is both soft and tender. While there are many ways to cook lamb so that the meat is succulent and delicious, these are some of our tips on how to cook lamb tender every time!

If you’re trying to get the most tender lamb, slow cooking your lambs is key. Here’s our list of tips for perfecting that technique!

slow cook lamb

Slow cooked lamb 2 easy steps.

Slow cooking lamb is a great way to get tender, delicious meat. It only takes 2 easy steps!

Prepping your meat

  • Preheat oven to 140°C or 284°F (fan forced), then take the lamb out of the fridge and let it come back up to room temperature for 15-20 minutes. This will help your meat cook more evenly in the oven, instead of having some parts be undercooked while other parts are overcooked!
  • Drizzle lamb with oil and season it with salt, pepper, or a flavoursome rub. Give the lamb an herbal coating of fresh rosemary or dried oregano for best results!
  • If you want the most delicious lamb, then be sure to use a roasting dish that’s similar in size with your cut. You can place it on top of a bed of vegetable wedges or garlic cloves for extra flavor!

Long and slow cooking your lamb

  • Cover the roasting dish with a sheet of baking paper and foil to prevent moist from escaping. Remove them for the second half of cooking time so lamb browns nicely without getting overdone on the sides.
  • Cook the lamb for 4-8 hours, until it is extremely soft and tender. After about 2-4 hours of cooking time ( when you removed the foil and baking paper), start to pour some juice from your dish onto the meat every 30 minutes
  • Always remember when you remove the lamb from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10–20 minutes before serving.

Some additional slow cook lamb tips

Why letting your meat come to room temperature is important!

You should never cook any meat straight out of the fridge. Removing the lamb from your refrigerator and tempering it will create more evenly cooked, juicier results.

The idea is that a chilled piece of lamb takes longer to reach the proper internal temperatures. By the time it reaches its ideal temperature, you risk overcooking some areas which were closer to the surface.

Why you want to let your lamb rest after cooking?

A juicy steak, a flavorful chicken breast or even lamb chops can’t be made without the resting period. During this “resting fase” all those fibers relax and reabsorb any moisture they expelled during cooking. This will result in tender meat that’s moist on the inside with crispy browned edges on the outside.

If you cut into your lamb straight away, the juices would spill out onto the cutting board instead.

Why is your slow cooked lamb still tough?

It’s because you haven’t let the collagen break down. Extend the cook time, make sure there’s enough moisture in your roasting dish and keep your eyes on your precious meat of lamb!

Does Lamb get more tender the longer you cook it?

The type of meat you are cooking will dictate the optimal doneness. Lamb chops should be cooked until medium rare or else they’ll become tough.

A lamb shank on the other hand will become more tender with each minute of your cooking time as long as you don’t let your lamb dry out!

The cut of lamb should be on your mind when choosing your delicious meal for hungry guests.

Can you overcook slow cooked lamb?

When cooking lamb, it’s difficult to overcook the meat. You’ll know your lamb is ready when you can easily shredded with a fork and there should be no pink in the center.

Slow cookers make this task even easier by minimizing dry patches on each piece if exposed during cooking time.

To avoid tasting dried out or burnt bits, check periodically for doneness throughout slow-cooking periods and add more broth as needed after 2-3 hours into baking process

Why to use a thermometer when cooking lamb?

One of the hardest parts about cooking lamb is knowing when it’s finished. Even if you’re a professional chef or a backyard grill master there might be some hesitation in guessing how long to cook your cuts. It can get even more difficult with larger roasts like leg of lamb due to their size and cut.

That being said, there is one sure-thing that will give us an accurate reading on whether we should start slicing: using our trusty old meat thermometer!

Kitchen tools and ingredients you’ll need

Best cuts for slow cooking lamb

Chump

This lean cut of lamb is best cooked in the oven, because it only takes 2-3 hours to cook. These smaller roasting joints take less time than larger ones and are perfect for when you’re not looking for anything too fancy!

This meat is the ideal option if one doesn’t want something that’s overly complicated but still wants an easy dish with lots of flavor. It cooks very fast without drying out.

Leg

A succulent roast leg of lamb is the perfect centerpiece for family Sunday dinner! We like to slow-roast it with a mixture of chopped rosemary, lemon zest and olive oil. The meat itself has such rich flavor that you need nothing else on your plate but cornbread (to soak up all those juices)!

Scrag

Scrag is the perfect cut of meat for those that love a good, slow-cooked dish. This inexpensive cut from the neck end requires long cooking to release its wonderful flavour and tenderise this tough but delicious meat.

Shoulder

When you want to go all out with your cooking, try the time honored tradition of the shoulder roast. While not as lean or tender as leg of lamb, this cut is a perfect choice for slow-cooking and will be delicious if cooked properly.

Slow cooked lamb shoulder recipe

slow cook lamb shoulder

Slow cooked lamb shoulder

Homemade slow cooked lamb shoulder
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Prep Time 1 d 30 mins
Cook Time 7 hrs
Total Time 1 d 7 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people
Calories 420 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 kg lamb shoulder
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 4 sprigs rosemary striped
  • 1 tsp jam sweetened
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp grounded black pepper
  • 1 carrot cut into thick slices
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Combine the olive oil, rosemary, sliced garlic and sea salt in a bowl. Rub this mixture over your lamb before putting it into a container with loosely covered plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Be sure to take the lamb out of your fridge about an hours before cooking. And let the meat come to room temperature
  • Preheat the oven to 140°C or 284°F fan-forced.
  • Place the lamb shoulder in a roasting tin large enough to fit it. Add the red wine, jam, sliced carrots, onions wedges and left over olive oil garlic and rosemary mix.
  • cover the roasting tin with the lamb in it with a sheet of baking paper (first) and with a sheet of foil, then cook for 2.5–3 hours.
  • Reduce the heat to 110°C or 230°F fan-forced and cook for 4 more hours. The lamb should be sprinkled with the cooking juices every 30 minutes to ensure that it remains moist.
  • Once the lamb is cooked, allow it to rest for 20 minutes before digging in!

Nutrition

Calories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 42gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 134mgSodium: 3644mgPotassium: 730mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1704IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Slow cooked lamb shoulder
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