What Are the Best Tips for Roasting Lamb Shoulder?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2019
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Lamb shoulders are cuts of meat from young sheep, and these can usually be purchased with the bone still in them or with the bones removed. Before roasting lamb shoulder, the fat on the meat can be scored with a knife, and the meat can be seasoned. Once the meat has been seasoned, it can then be placed in a casserole dish or shallow roasting pan and roasted until it is medium rare or medium. The meat should then be allowed to rest for several minutes before carving it.

A lamb shoulder roast usually has a bit more fat on it than other cuts of lamb. It may also be slightly tougher, and it should be slow roasted for the best results. Boneless lamb shoulder roasts usually come tied in twine. Lamb shoulder can also be purchased with the bone in, which is often a little less expensive, but it can be difficult to carve. Since it is naturally juicy, dry roasting is usually the best method for roasting lamb shoulder.

Several seasonings can be used to add flavor before roasting lamb shoulder. Salting the meat before cooking it, however, is not usually recommended, since this can cause the meat to become a little dry. Herbs, including rosemary, thyme, oregano, and garlic, are often used, though.


The fat covering the surface of the lamb shoulder can be scored with a sharp knife before rubbing the seasonings onto the meat. This will help the flavors infuse into the meat. The meat can also be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and allowed to marinate for several hours, or overnight, in the refrigerator.

Roughly a half hour before cooking a lamb shoulder, the meat should be removed from the refrigerator. At the end of the half hour, the meat should be close to room temperature. This will help ensure that all of the lamp shoulder cooks evenly.

Once the meat has reached room temperature, it should be placed in a roasting pan or casserole dish. A rack should also be placed on the bottom of the pan, which will help air circulate around the lamb shoulder. If the lamb shoulder has a layer of fat on it, this should be facing up.

As the meat cooks, the fat will melt away and marinate the meat. It can then be placed into an oven that has been preheated to about 450° F (230° C). If the outside of the meat begins to burn before the inside is done, the oven can be turned down to about 325° F (160° C).

When roasting lamb shoulder, the meat should not be cooked past medium rare. Lamb that is medium well or well done will usually be somewhat dry and tough. To ensure that it is cooked to the proper doneness, a meat thermometer should be stuck into a fleshy part of the meat. The tip of it should not be touching the bone, as this will often result in a false reading.

For medium rare lamb shoulder, the internal temperature should be around 130°F (54.4° C). The internal temperature of medium lamb meat should be around 150° F (65.5° C). The meat should be taken out of the oven when the internal temperature of the meat is roughly 10° F (about 5° C) below what it should be. After roasting lamb shoulder, it can then be covered loosely with foil and allowed to set for 10 to 20 minutes before it is carved. During this time, the inside of the meat will continue cooking and most of the juices will settle back into the center of the meat.


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