How to cook leg of lamb

Leg of lamb is one of those meat cuts that just feels right at home at special occasions. While this cut is a staple of many household’s roast dinners across the UK, it also sees use in other parts of the world as a delicious centrepiece. As a result, there are many different established techniques that can be used to cook leg of lamb. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of these variations, as well as best practices to get the best results when cooking leg of lamb.

Cut analysis – leg of lamb

Leg is a large lamb cut that comes from the hind legs of the animal, where a butcher can divide it up into smaller pieces. This cut can therefore come in a range of sizes depending on where you source it from. At The Village Butchers, our leg of lamb comes as either a whole or half leg.

Due to the nature of the lamb leg as an area containing multiple hard working muscles, the cut has a deep rich flavour. However, this also means that the meat is relatively lean with a high ratio of connective tissue. Both of these factors mean that leg of lamb lends itself to long cooking processes. The main risk you need to watch out for here though, is that the meat doesn’t become dry and overcooked.

Cooking methods for leg of lamb

As a lamb joint, serving leg of lamb is perfect for events where you’re feeding multiple people. It’s great for carving and the chances are you’ll have some meat or bones leftover for stock or sandwiches. Of course, you could choose to serve it an entirely different way. Hopefully the following cooking methods will give you some inspiration.

Roasting or On the grill

A roast leg of lamb is the classic way to cook and serve this cut and for good reason, it’s absolutely divine. This method enables the meat to stay pink, juicy, and tender while getting some great colour on the outside. The only downside is that you’ll need to put aside 4-5 hours for meat that falls off the bone. The instructions are:

  • Take the lamb out of the fridge to allow it to come closer to room temperature. At the same time, preheat the oven to 160°.
  • Rub the meat with oil and whatever herbs and spices you’d like. If you’ve chosen to marinate the leg of lamb ahead of time then this can be skipped.
  • Brown the leg on all sides with a hot pan or cast iron skillet.
  • Then place on top of vegetables in a baking tray that’s filled with a little stock. Cover with foil and keep in the oven for 3-5 hours depending on the weight.
  • Pull the meat out 30 minutes before the end of the cook time, bast it with the juices from the tray and then re-cover and finish cooking.
  • Remove the lamb from the tray and cover to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Barbecue lamb can be approached in a relatively similar way to the roasting method, just with a few extra steps. Firstly, be careful to spend some extra time letting the grill reach the right temperature or else the meat could become dry. For the same reason, it’s important to make sure the leg is turned often during cooking. This will also help achieve an even cook all round the lamb.

If you’re looking for a full breakdown of how to grill lamb successfully, check out our seasoned leg of lamb recipe.

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In a stew

A simple solution to keeping lamb moist during cooking is to simply put it in a pot with liquid. By cooking the leg of lamb in a stew the flavours of the meat can infuse into the broth as it falls off the bone. However, the cut should still be browned on high heat before placing in the stew. This will help seal in the lamb juices and allow the meat to shine through as the heart of the stew through the deepening of the flavour. An added benefit of this method is that you are completely free to leave the dish to cook and there’s no need to rest the meat as is the case with the above options.

The Village Butchers only sources meat cuts from trusted local suppliers, many of which we’ve known personally for years. It’s through these relationships which can provide a quality guarantee to our customers. Contact a member of our team to arrange fast delivery of succulent lamb and other roasting meats. However you choose to cook leg of lamb, you’ll be able to taste the difference when you order with us.

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