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What Are the Best Tips for Slow Cooking Lamb Shoulder?

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

The best tips for slow cooking lamb shoulder are to cook the meat until it can be easily pulled apart by two forks, to braise the meat prior to cooking, and to cover the cooking dish. Most chefs also advise cooking the meat in stock and to leaving it to rest before serving. Most of the tips relating to slow cooking lamb shoulder are primarily concerned with how to keep the dish as moist as possible. Cooking the lamb alongside other vegetables such as onions and garlic can also help top increase the flavor of the finished dish.

Slow cooking is generally done to make the meat as tender as possible for serving. This is why most chefs opt to test the doneness of the meat by trying to pull it apart with two forks. Eventually, the meat will pull apart with very little effort, indicating that it is ready to serve. Generally, when slow cooking lamb shoulder, chefs should set the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (170 Celsius) for around four hours. This cooking time may differ slightly, however, so chefs should always check the meat with forks to ensure it is ready.


Braising the lamb shoulder before cooking helps to keep the fat and natural flavor locked into the meat for cooking. Chefs should braise the shoulder by shallow-frying it in the cooking tray before putting the meat in the oven. The outer sides of the meat should be browned. This closes off the pores in the meat and prevents fat from being lost during cooking, which makes for a juicer finished dish.

Covering the dish when slow cooking lamb shoulder keeps moisture from escaping. This is important, particularly when cooking the lamb in a stock. Evaporation, the process that turns boiling water into steam, occurs in the cooking dish, and can lead to vital moisture being lost. A covered cooking dish allows the evaporated moisture to condense back into a liquid and keep the meat moist. Most recipes suggest using a chicken or vegetable stock.

Heat travels in waves, and this is an important piece of physics when slow cooking lamb shoulder. If the chef is cooking a rolled lamb shoulder, which has the appearance of an ordinary joint of meat, it should be allowed to rest before serving. This is because the waves of heat sent into the meat during cooking are still locked into it. A cooking thermometer shoved into the center of a joint of meat after it is removed from the oven shows that the temperature continues to rise as the heat makes its way into the middle of the meat. Leaving the joint for ten minutes before cooking can help to ensure an even temperature when served.

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