How to Roast Lamb: A Beginner’s Guide

Cooking How-To, Dinner, Easter, Holidays
on March 30, 2017
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Best Cuts for Roasting

Leg of Lamb
Whether on or off the bone, the leg of lamb is the ultimate winner for roasting. Consisting of the shank and the juicy sirloin. It’s got it all.

If you ask your butcher for a leg, they may offer it to you in the following formats: sirloin end, shank end and short leg—and they are all really great for a roast! This meat is so tender and flavorful that it needs minimal seasoning. A bit of salt, pepper and rosemary… maybe some garlic, will do the trick. If you ask for it deboned, you can roll and stuff it with a variety of delicious things, like this lamb leg stuffed with basil and parmesan.

Rib Rack
This is normally made up of about eight ribs and is a pretty iconic piece of meat. It roasts like a charm. Again, keep the seasoning low key—just season it, and if you’re feeling fancy you can crust it too. Try this herb crusted lamb recipe.

Shoulder
The shoulder is pretty generous in terms of meat, and it’s nice and fatty! Yes, “fatty” comes with an air of delight, because it means it’s extra juicy. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat; in fact, fat has a lot of very important nutrients, and it melts down into deliciousness. Make sure you roast this piece for longer on a slightly lower heat, because it’s a bit tougher than the leg and rib. But it’s every bit as appealing.

Top Round (Leg Muscle)
This piece of leg muscle is much more tender than others. If you roast this bad boy, the flavors that follow will wow even the most critical palette. You can slice it up and add it to sandwiches, salads or have it with chunky chips and tabasco.

The Foolproof Guide to Roasting Lamb

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Seasonings

Marinades vs. Pastes and Dry Rubs
Marinades are normally used to make tougher meats, like mutton or brisket, more tender. In the case of an already tender meat like lamb, marinating can actually act to make it tough. So, when you are working with lamb, I’d advise you to just use simpler seasonings like salt, pepper, herbs and spices, dry rubs or pastes as opposed to anything liquid. You can rub on some butter and a bit of oil to make sure the flavors come out. Not sure what kind of sauce to serve with your lamb? Try this chimichurri recipe.

Essential Tip
Adding a bit of lemon also helps to stop the herbs and spices from burning!

A Must-Try Seasoning Blend
Make a paste out of salt, pepper, garlic, sweet paprika powder and cumin and rub it on the lamb. It’s a bit different and it’s oh so yummy. Pound it with a mortar and pestle for best results.

Basting
For ultra decadent lamb, you should baste your meat every 15 minutes while it is cooking in the oven. (Basting is when you pour the juices and fat that have escaped from the meat back over the meat to keep it moist and to add flavor.)

The Foolproof Guide to Roasting Lamb

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Temperatures

Test your lamb with a meat thermometer if you can!

Rare
Straight out of the oven: 50°C (122°F)
Temperature after resting in a warm place: 60°C (140°F)

Medium Rare
Straight out of the oven: 59°C (138°F)
Temperature after resting in a warm place: 65°C (149°F)

Medium
Straight out of the oven: 65°C (149°F)
Temperature after resting in a warm place: 69°C (156°F)

Well Done
Straight out of the oven: 70°C (158°F)
After resting: 75°C (167°F)

The Foolproof Guide to Roasting Lamb

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Without Thermometer

If you don’t have a thermometer, here’s how to estimate the best cooking times for doneness.

Set your oven temperature to gas 4-5, 180°C, 350°F.

Rare
20 minutes per 500g or about one pound (and then an additional 20 minutes)

Medium
25 minutes per 500g or about one pound (and then an additional 25 minutes)

Well Done
30 minutes per 500g or about one pound (and then an additional 30 minutes)
 

Resting time

If you haven’t let your meat rest after it has roasted, then you haven’t truly lived. Eating meat hot out of the oven may sound awesome, but leaving it to rest for about 15-20 minutes, it will allow the juices to distribute and will give you a juicier, more tender bite.

When resting, take your meat out of the oven and cover the meat itself completely in foil, so that the whole piece of meat is insulated.

Letting your lamb rest away from the intense heat of the oven allows the fats and juices, which have been pushed to the middle of the meat, to diffuse back into the rest of the meat. This means the meat will lose less of its natural moisture and remain tender and delicious.

If you want really juicy meat, you should let it cool down until the most inner part of the meat has cooled to 60C for medium. (See temperatures for rare, medium rare and well done.)

The Foolproof Guide to Roasting Lamb

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This article from Honest Cooking was republished with permission. It originally appeared on HelloFresh as How to Roast Lamb (Like a Pro).