This slow roast lamb shoulder is your Sunday treat for the family. Olive oil, lemon and a flavorful Smell & Taste lamb rub to equally match the crispy potatoes, delicious!
It's no secret we are big on roast meat and this lamb shoulder is one that's not prepared enough. The lamb leg seems to get more attention, not sure why because the shoulder definitely has more flavor. It' so easy and that's another reason we love roasting! Low, slow, fall off the bone meat with such little effort.
Bone-in or Boneless
It's a personal preference and how you are planning to serve it.
Boneless is easier to carve and quicker to cook.
Bone-in is more of a pull apart meat with 2 forks, shredded and cooks for a longer period.
My personal choice - bone-in, the bone adds so much flavor it's incredible and makes it worth the wait for sure!
A Few Pointers
This is a fatty cut of meat and requires slow cooking but the results need no introduction, sauce or gravy. You can eat it right off the board like that with the crunchy potatoes, it's so good!
Cooking Take your meat out the fridge at least an hour before or even 30 minutes if you pushed for time. Cooking meat that is not chilled definitely gives you a more evenly cooked juicer serving. If you cook it straight out the fridge, it can't cook evenly because the center takes longer to cook through. By the time it does catch up to the correct internal temperature, the rest of the meat is over-cooked.
A 1kg lamb shoulder or a 1.8kg shoulder may have about a 20 minute time difference in cooking. That means you need to cook the larger shoulder longer, in order to get a tender roast meat. The difference is small because you still need to cook it for a long period.
The texture and flavor improve the longer the meat cooks
Over Cooking Lamb Shoulder
It's not that easy to overcook, its better cooked longer than shorter. You will know when it's ready, it's soft to the touch and even looks tender. At that point it goes back into the oven at a higher temperature to give it at an all round crisp.
Cutting the time will give you dry chewy meat so don't be alarmed at the 2 to 3 hours. Seems long? It's not.
Here's the catch - Don't under or overcook. I know I've said this somewhere already but again, Lamb slow roast ranges from 2 to 3 hours average. Longer or even much shorter can give you a tougher meat roast.
No kitchen thermometer? Work with the weight of the lamb shoulder.
1kg to 1.5kg - approximately 3 to 3.5 hours
1.6kg to 2 kg - 3.5 to 4 hours
See the full recipe card below.
Resting The Lamb
Let the lamb shoulder rest if you want a 65 to 70 degrees internal temperature, medium rare
Science of Slow Cooking
The meat will appear tougher but the connective tissues containing collagen begins to dissolve into gelatin, so although the fibers may still appear to be stiff the gelatin provides succulence. Referenced here.
- Using a bold spice rub will 100% balance out the gamey lamb flavors, so don't leave it out.
- Clean preservative free artisanal lamb dry rub from our Smell and Taste online shop, and olive oil. Combine the olive oil and the spice, use a brush or your clean fingers to rub it all in.
- This flavorful and fragrant spice will take your lamb next level delicious!
My secret to a flavor packed lamb taste?
I love a squeeze of fresh lemon in my lamb spice and oil mix. The lemon and salt has a way of awakening the flavors! Use a brush or your clean fingers to rub the spice all over the lamb
More on Lamb Shoulder Roast
- Depending on how small or big your family is, here we have a small 1kg lamb shoulder (serving 4 people)
- Smell and Taste lamb dry rub, non irradiated, preservative free (yes some spices are full of preservatives), vegan and gluten free made in a factory where there are no gluten contained products.
- No garlic needed with this meat rub but you can try and get some cut garlic cloves into the slits if you want.
- Water for the bottom of your roasting tray.
No Roasting Rack? No problem, but we do need the roast lifted for two reasons:
- For some circulation of air in the oven to move around and under the meat and
- To prevent the roast sitting in liquid getting soft at the bottom
Here are few options if you don't have a rack
- Use a mix of veggies as you would when making a stock like; carrots celery and onion
- You can also use just onions, cut them in half place them face down to create a bed
- If you anything like me I have a little of everything so I use what I have and make balls out of foil which I then use to prop the roast up.
There's always a way 🙂 And if your roast does sit in some of the liquid it's really not a problem! This Slow Roast Leg of Lamb (bone-in) has 2 lamb leg recipes of which one sat in a little water although on a rack. The result was a tender delicious meat roast so don't over think it!
Drippings while it reaches room temperature To get the meat to room temperature I normally place it (still in it's plastic) over the sink or it drips and messes the counter-top.
Oven Temperature Preheat the oven to 180°C
Cutting Slits On The Top
Prep the fat on the top of the roast Place the meat on a board where you can use a sharp knife to cut small slashes into the fat so make sure it fat side up for this. You can also buy the roast and this is already done for you but if not, it's easy with a sharp knife. Carefully cut slits into the fat on the top of the roast.
Lamb Dry Rub Coat the lamb in the lamb dry rub spice and olive oil and make sure to cover the lamb generously.
Roasting and Resting
Roast Covered Place the lamb shoulder over a small rack in your tray.
Water Pour a cup and bit (more like a cup and a quarter) of water into the tray. Pour from the side so it doesn't mess up the spices on the meat!
Oven Temperature Cover with aluminum foil, turn the heat down to 180C and roast for 2 and a half hours.
- Anything longer may dry the meat out. However, there is enough fat in lamb to keep you safe from drying the meat out completely.
- If your roast is larger then definitely roast for 3 hours because the shoulder has tough connective fibers which break down on slow long hours of roasting. In other words, while the meat is covered in foil.
Roasting Uncovered When the time is done take it out, check if there's still water in the tray, if not, add another cup.
Oven Temperature Add water and turn the heat up to 220C, return the lamb, roast for a further 20 minutes. Remember the oven won't take long to heat up so don't forget about it! These 20 minutes are for the top to crisp up.
Internal Temperature If you have a meat thermometer the internal temperature should be around 63 degrees. But again, this is a slow roast for 2 to 3 hours and that will get you a beautiful tender piece of meat. If you don't have kitchen thermometer don't worry, follow the recipe card below. I barely ever use my thermometer for slow cooking. Its more an essential for recipes like Roast Beef and tomahawk rib-eye.
Resting When the 20 minutes is up (or when you're happy with it) remove the roast from the oven. Place it in on a large board or serving dish with sides to catch the juices. Loosely cover the roast with aluminum foil like in a 'tent' fashion, don't fit it tight.
What To Serve Lamb Should Roast With
Potatoes Roast potato is always a winning combination with any meat roast but so is mashed potato. If you're not a potato type person then you can always try a risotto to go with it? Or simply roast vegetables as done in this Crispy Crackling Slow Roasted Pork Belly With Vegetables
The best part is that the options are endless you can go with a salad for a lighter side dish. A filling and robust salad like this Mediterranean Salad or a much lighter Cucumber and Onion. More salad recipes here.
Favorite Side Dishes
Storing and Reheating
Refrigerate Simply keep any leftover roast in an airtight container in the fridge. Weather dependent it should be good for around 4 days although not in this house:)
Reheat This works like most foods that have been cooked and then frozen. First bring it to room temperature and reheat in the oven on the temperature you used before. In this case, 220 until warm and singing with sounds from the oven.
More Roast Meat Dishes
LOOKING FOR MORE RECIPES?
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Lamb Shoulder Roast
- 1 kg lamb shoulder bone in
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper Smell and Taste
- 1 teaspoon lamb spice rub Smell and Taste
- ¼ teaspoon vegetable spice Smell and Taste
- 2 tbsps. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 medium potatoes chopped into chunks skin on
- 2 cups water lamb stock or you can also use beef or vegetable stock.
- Take the lamb shoulder out the fridge an hour ahead of roasting and leave it at room temperature in the the plastic for no mess.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Use a sharp knife and score the fatty bits of the lamb. Make quite quite deep but not deep enough to cut right through. You can ask your butcher to do this for you too.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt & pepper and ½ teaspoon lamb dry rub and the lemon juice into a small bowl/cup and coat the lamb.
- Pour the water into the pan and place the lamb shoulder on the rack. If you don't have a roasting rack use onions or a mix of onions, carrots, celery which you can later use for a stock. Try and make the roast lay straight over the veggies or over the rack so you can get even cooking on top, Use round squashed pieces of foil and veggies to help prop the roast up. See more in the post on this.
- Place the lamb in a large baking tray and cover it with foil. Don't let the foil touch the lamb so 'tent' it over the lamb. Roast for 2 hours 40 minutes.
- After 2 hours and 40 minutes remove the lamb and baste it with the juices in the pan. Add the potatoes into the pan around the lamb and give them a drizzle of the remaining olive oil, salt & pepper and sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon of lamb rub onto the potatoes. Return to the oven to continue roasting for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- When the 20 minutes is up open the oven and remove the lamb. Transfer the lamb to a serving platter. Turn the potatoes and add the ¼ tsp Vegetable Spice. Return to the oven to roast for another 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size and how they look to you.Tent the lamb with foil and let it rest in those 20 minutes that the potatoes are finishing off. Use the same foil that you used to cover roast it.
- Add the potatoes to the platter and serve.