dcsimg

How To Cook Lamb

Lamb is a staple in the diets of many cultures including India, Greece, Spain, France, and countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Americans, however, eat far less lamb on average than people from these other countries. Lamb is often thought to be strong and gamey in flavor, and while this is often true, that is characteristic more of older lamb -- over 12 months of age. The majority of the lamb sold in the U.S. comes from animals between 5 and 12 months old and while distinctive in flavor, is typically not too intense or overwhelming.

Different Types of Lamb Cuts

Lamb should be bought when it is light red and fine grained in appearance. Older lamb, or mutton, has a darker, purple hue and is much more pungent in aroma and flavor and the meat is tougher. Lamb should never have an unpleasant odor and the fat on lamb should always be white, never yellow or brownish. The ends of the bones on lamb should appear moist, red, and porous and not brown or dried and crusty.

Here are the most common cuts of lamb available.

  • Rack: A tender cut of meat that may be cut into single or double chops or sold as a full rack.
  • Loin: Another very tender cut that may be served as chops or a loin roast.
  • Shoulder: Although a tougher meat, the shoulder can be forgiving and moist, making it a good choice for those just learning how to cook lamb.
  • Leg: Similar to the shoulder although leaner.
  • Shank: Part of the leg, offering minimal meat but a unique flavor.

How to Cook Lamb

Most Common Ways to Cook Each Cut

Because of its robust flavor, lamb lends itself to numerous preparations and accompaniments. However, here are the most common cooking methods for each cut of lamb.

Rack of Lamb

  • Single and double chops from a rack can be grilled, sautéed or broiled while rib racks are usually roasted.
  • Because ribs are lean, they should cooked quickly using a high, dry heat to lock in flavor and moisture.
  • To roast a rib rack, cook on high heat (375-425 degrees) for approximately 15 minutes. Grilled, sautéed and broiled ribs can be cooked for 4-6 minutes per side or less, depending on the desired level of doneness.
  • Rib racks are most tender when cooked medium-rare.
  • A Frenched rack of ribs has the meat removed from the end of the bones. A crown roast is two Frenched racks tied together and stood on end.

Lamb Loin

  • Loin roasts may be roasted while loin chops are usually grilled, sautéed or broiled.
  • As with the rack, the loin is a lean cut and should be cooked quickly with a dry, high heat.
  • Loin chops may be marinated or dry rubbed prior to being grilled, broiled or sautéed for 4-6 minutes per side. Roasts may be placed in the oven at 375-425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the roast and the desired doneness.
  • Lamb loin has the best flavor when cooked rare or medium-rare.

Lamb Shoulder

  • Lamb shoulder is best braised or stewed although shoulder chops can be grilled or sautéed.
  • As a tougher cut of meat, the shoulder benefits from the wet heat used in braising and stewing.
  • Braise lamb shoulder in a covered dish with liquid at 350-375 degrees. Cooking time will depend upon the size of the shoulder. For slower cooking and a deeper flavor, cook at 250-300 degrees.
  • The shoulder should be well-done when cooked to give it a melt-in-your mouth quality.
  • Most lamb braise recipes include seasonings and vegetables so you can cook your entire meal in one dish.

Lamb Leg

  • A classic leg of lamb is a roasted dish although leg steaks may be grilled or broiled.
  • Lamb legs have little fat and are quite tender, attributes that lend themselves well to dry heat cooking.
  • Roast a leg of lamb at 350-375 degrees until the internal temperature is 130-140 degrees. Actual cooking time will depend on the size of the lamb.
  • Leg of lamb is best when cooked rare to medium-rare.
  • Lamb kebobs are usually made with cubed meat from the leg.

Lamb Shank

  • Lamb shanks are best when braised or stewed.
  • The shank is full of connective tissue that needs to be broken down to tenderize it, something best accomplished through slow cooking over low heat.
  • Cook in liquid over low heat until the meat pulls away from the bone.
  • Shanks should be cooked to well done for the best flavor and texture.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
            • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
            • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
            • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Jacksonville
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • First opened its doors in 1980 as the Academy of Medical Art and Business.
            • Students can choose from a variety of diploma or degree programs, as well as continuing education courses.
            • Provides programs in massage therapy, dental assisting, criminal justice, cake decorating, and more.
            • 7.5 acre campus is located in the foothills of Blue Mountain, north of Harrisburg, PA.
            • Involved with many community service organizations, including the Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank (CPBB), March of Dimes, and Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Financial Aid