The best tips for cooking lamb shank are to brown the meat before putting it into the oven, cooking it slowly and on a low heat, covering the meat during cooking, and stuffing flavor into the meat. Generally before chefs brown the outside of the lamb shank, they will coat it with seasoned flour. Cooking lamb shank in a wine or stock is another valuable tip, and this can help to keep the meat tender. Marinating the meat overnight can also help to tenderize the meat and produce the most enjoyable dining experience.
Meat is filled with fat, which oozes out during cooking. Fat is a required part of a person’s diet, and it also contains a lot of the meat’s flavor. Many chefs use a technique called browning when cooking lamb shank, and this helps to lock the fat in. The meat is shallow-fried to produce an even brown coating on the outside. This essentially seals the meat, and reduces the amount of fat which seeps out during cooking.
Coating the shank in flour before browning helps to produce the coating which locks in the flavor provided by the meat’s fat. Generally, a chef will mix flour with salt and pepper in order to produce seasoned flour when cooking lamb shank. This seasoned flour is applied to the meat before browning to lock in the fat and add flavor to the meat.
Using an oven at a low heat is generally regarded as the best method of cooking lamb shank. Most recipes suggest cooking lamb shank at around 325° Fahrenheit (160° Celsius) for two to three hours. This method cooks the meat through without causing it to dry out and thereby become unpleasant to eat. Slow cooking is associated with the tenderest meat that can be produced, particularly when combined with browning.
Covering the lamb shank during cooking can further help to lock in moisture. Liquid turns into a gas when heated to a certain temperature, a process called evaporation. Dishes cooked uncovered in the oven will lose a lot of moisture due to evaporation. Placing a lid or tin foil over the top of the cooking dish prevents moisture from being lost in this way.
Stuffing the lamb shank with a flavored butter or other flavoring can improve the taste of the meat. When cooking lamb shank, chefs can create a flavored butter using herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and sage which is stuffed into the meat. A lamb shank can be cut from the bottom to the top, between the meat and the bone, to create a pocket. This pocket can be stuffed with a filling such as herb butter before cooking to infuse more flavor into the meat.