Prefer lamb for your Easter dinner but nervous about preparing it? We can help! We sat down with our in-house recipe developer to get her best tips for preparing lamb.
- Find a good butcher. Lamb can be expensive and it’s best to buy good quality meat for best flavor and results.
- Let your butcher do the work. Have them remove the bone for a boneless leg of lamb or butterfly the meat if necessary. They can also help with trimming any excess fat.
- No matter what cut of lamb you are preparing, remove the meat from the refrigerator about an hour ahead of time so it comes to room temperature before cooking. This will assure your meat cooks more evenly.
- Grilling a leg of lamb? Not only should it have the bone removed, but be butterflied so the thickness is uniform. The meat will cook more evenly that way. A simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, a few minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper will help keep the meat moist.
- Roasting your lamb? If the bone is left in the cut of meat, it will have more flavor, but it is harder to carve. For a 5-7 pound bone-in leg of lamb, combine several minced garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, 2 tablespoons good olive oil, salt and pepper. Rub this all over the lamb. Roast in a 350°F oven in a roasting pan placed on the middle rack in the oven for about 1-1½ hours or until an instant read thermometer inserted a few inches into the meat reads the desired temperature (see below). Do not allow the thermometer to touch the bone and let rest 20 minutes before carving.
- Prefer a rack of lamb? While a more expensive option, it is much easier and quicker to cook lamb this way. The rack of lamb is the lamb loin with the rips attached. Have your butcher remove excess fat for you. Simple is best with your preparation! Brush the rack with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in an oven proof sauté pan and brown the rack on all sides. Sprinkle chopped rosemary over rack and finish off in a 400°F oven to desired temperature (see below). Some like to add seasoned bread crumbs before finishing off the lamb. It’s a good idea to cover the exposed rib bones with foil to prevent burning just before putting in the oven.
Cook it just the way you like it!
- Rare: Internal temperature of 115-120°F (125°F after resting, about 15 minutes per pound).
- Medium-rare: Internal temperature of 120-125°F (130-135°F after resting, about 20 minutes per pound).
- Medium: Internal temperature of 130-135ºF (135-140°F after resting, about 25 minutes per pound).
- Well done: Internal temperature of 150-155°F (155-160°F after resting, about 30 minutes per pound).
For the perfect condiment to enjoy alongside your lamb, try our Mint Jelly. It’s a great addition no matter what cut of lamb you choose to prepare.