Interested in lamb but unsure how to prepare it? There’s no reason to be intimidated. Lamb is easy to prepare and fun to cook! When cooked properly, lamb is flavorful and juicy, and the methods for preparing it are no different than those you use for beef and pork. We’ll give you directions for braising (slow cooking with moist heat), roasting (cooking with dry heat) and grilling. With these simple techniques in mind, we’ve assembled a collection of everyday recipes and tips to equip you with the inspiration and know-how to put local lamb on your table.
Grilling is often synonymous with barbecuing and refers to cooking meat or vegetables on a grate over hot coals or another heat source.
From burgers to chops, grilling is the perfect way to eat more lamb and spend less time cooking and cleaning up. Grilled lamb is a fast, delicious, practical weeknight option. Dry brine your lamb chops. If you have time, salt lamb chops 40 minutes to an hour before grilling them, to release moisture and break down proteins in a way that allows the chops to reabsorb the liquid.
Braising is a cooking method used for meat and vegetables in which the item is browned in fat, tightly covered and cooked slowly in a small amount of liquid. A long cooking period at low heat helps to develop flavor and tenderize meat by breaking down its fibers. Braising can be done on the stovetop, in the oven or in a slow cooker. A tight-fitting lid is key to preventing the liquid from evaporating. The shoulder is ideal for braising, stewing or slow-roasting.
Lamb shoulder, shanks and ribs are less tender cuts of meat that are best prepared using moist cooking methods including braising and stewing, or a combination of dry and moist cooking methods. Grilled and braised lamb is found on 20% of fine dining entrée menus.
Roasting is an oven-cooking method in which the meat is cooked uncovered in order to produce an exterior that is well browned and a moist interior. Roasting works best with fairly tender pieces of meat or poultry. Tender cuts like the rack and loin and portions of the leg should be prepared using dry heat cooking methods such as broiling, grilling and roasting.
For perfect medium rare lamb, 15 to 20 minutes per pound in a 325°F oven is a good rule of thumb. The temperature of the meat will rise another 5 to 10 degrees (this is called “carryover cooking”), so take it out with that in mind. Lamb is a bold protein that can handle depth of flavor. Fresh herb and spice rubs add layers of flavor, and can transform the versatile leg from skewers for the grill to a whole roast.