How to Roast A Leg of Lamb

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Have you ever roasted a leg of lamb? It may sound intimidating, but the sweet little secret is that leg of lamb is actually one of the easiest, most foolproof cuts of meat to cook. Here's our remarkably simple, fuss-free approach to cooking a leg of lamb. It will turn out perfectly every time.

Expert Tips for Buying & Cooking a Leg of Lamb
While I've cooked lamb on many occasions, cooking a whole leg can still feel intimidating. It's a large, expensive cut of meat, and I always wonder whether I am going to dry it out or make it tough. Should I marinate it? Should I do something special to make sure it's cooked properly?

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Cooking lessons from thekitchn.com

What Is a Leg of Lamb?

When we talk about lamb leg, we mean one of the back haunches of the animal, and the most common cut includes the upper part of the leg only. (Think of the thigh, without the lower part of the leg.)

Shank On or Off?

Usually leg of lamb is sold without the shank attached; you are just buying the upper part of the leg without the lower part. Some people prefer this as it looks more traditional and dramatic on a serving platter, but there's no major advantage to having the shank, other than getting an extra soup bone!

Lamb Is Already Tender: Don't Overdo It!

The primary takeaway is that lamb is already a really tender cut of meat. Cooking should be simple. And that's what we'll show you here: a simple, easy way to cook a tender and juicy leg of lamb every time.

 

Internal Temperatures for Bone-In Leg of Lamb
All of these cooking times take into account the fact that we broil the lamb first to sear it. They also assume a resting period of at least 15 minutes, during which the lamb actually continues cooking internally.


REMEMBER! These times are only guidelines. Depending on many factors, your lamb leg may roast slower or faster. Check after one hour and then continue roasting, checking frequently, until the lamb reaches your desired internal temperature.


Roasting Temperature: 325°F
• Rare: 125°F (about 15 minutes per pound)
• Medium-Rare: 130°F to 135°F (about 20 minutes per pound)
• Medium: 135°F to 140°F (about 25 minutes per pound)
• Well-Done: 155°F to 165°F (about 30 minutes per pound)

 

1. Take the lamb out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking. Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking so it comes to room temperature. This promotes faster, more even cooking. Heat the oven to broil.

 

What You Need
Ingredients


5 to 7 pounds lamb leg, bone-in


3 tablespoons olive oil


Salt and freshly-ground black pepper


6 cloves garlic


3 stems fresh rosemary

Equipment


Roasting pan, with rack


Aluminum foil


Sharp chef's knife or carving knife, for carving

 

Instructions
1. Take the lamb out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking. Take the leg of lamb out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking so it comes to room temperature. This promotes faster, more even cooking.
2. Rub the lamb with olive oil. Set the lamb in a rack inside a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and rub into the fat and meat.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
4. Broil for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and position a rack below so that the top of the meat is a few inches from the broiler element. Broil the lamb for 5 minutes or until the top of the lamb leg looks seared and browned.
5. Flip the lamb over and broil the other side. Flip the lamb over and put back under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the other side is seared.
6. Top with garlic and rosemary. Take the lamb out of the oven. Turn off the broiler and set the oven temperature to 325°F. Reposition the oven rack to the middle of the oven. Mince the garlic and rosemary leaves. Flip the lamb leg over again and rub the top with the chopped garlic and rosemary.
7. Cover the lamb loosely with foil. Tent the pan loosely with foil to keep the garlic and rosemary from burning. Put the lamb back in the oven and cook at 325°F for one hour.
8. Remove the foil after an hour and take the temperature. Take the lamb's temperature and remove the foil. The lamb is ready (medium-rare to medium) when the temperature is 135°F (or above). At 135°F the lamb is cooked to rare, but it will continue cooking as it rests, so we recommend taking it out of the oven at 135° for medium-rare to medium. (Refer to the cooking chart above for general roasting times)
9. If needed, continue cooking the lamb until done. Continue cooking the lamb (uncovered) until it reaches your preferred internal temperature. Check the temperature every 20 minutes until done.
10. Let the leg of lamb rest. Let the lamb rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
11. Carve the lamb: Turn the lamb so the bone is parallel to the cutting board. Make perpendicular slices to the bone, angling straight down until your knife hits the bone.
12. Carve the lamb: Cut the lamb off the bone by slicing through the bottom of the slices with your knife parallel to the bone.

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