Only until recently I have started eating lamb a bit more often, and I must say I think it is easily one of my favorite meats now. Although, sadly lamb is kind of the underdog of meat, it turns out not many people eat lamb very much. Or at all for that matter. In fact the yearly consumption of lamb for the average American is less than a pound a year. Come on, that is a little bit sad. I think we need to work together and fix that because lamb is seriously something that should be re-integrated in to most peoples diets and not just for taste but for it’s vast health benefits as well.
Lamb is high in omega 3 fatty acids which is a surprise for this kind of meat and it is a really good source of CLA and beta carotene, but you only get the beta carotene benefit if you get a good piece of grass-fed lamb. Speaking of grass fed lamb, a wonderful company called Lava Lake Lamb was nice enough to send me a nice leg of lamb just for this recipe with an amazing discount. So if your looking for a good source for lamb I can say now that their lamb is top quality.
In fact one of the best pieces of lamb I have ever cooked with. The actual meat itself was very clean, didn’t have any strange smells to it while it was raw, in fact it smelled very clean as well, overall it was just a very beautiful piece of meat.
It’s really important when choosing lamb to do your best to get the nicest quality and preferably grass-fed lamb because its way more nutritious and tastes much better. Moving on to taste for lamb I think a lot of people might be kind of hesitant on trying lamb. Simply because its not as popular type of meat,and from things that people claim about it but I am telling you that it is so something you should seriously consider adding to your food repertoire.
It definitely has its own taste that is very unique to most meats, but in a good way. It has a very rich and deep flavor that is incredibly good for these really cold winter days but is versatile enough to work for just about any season. For example, a nice leg of lamb makes an excellent centerpiece for the most amazing Easter meal. And if you cook it correctly you will be able to pull all of those wonderful flavors out and create an incredibly filling and satisfying meal that just about anyone will like regardless of the fact that it’s lamb.
And with this recipe the lamb is very slowly cooked to absolute perfection. It starts at a very high temperature but due to the fact that you turn the oven down immediately when you put it, the oven’s temperature slowly lowers to a temperature more suitable for slow cooking. That way while it stays hot for the amount of time that its lowering to that temperature it’s vigorously cooking the meat for a short amount of time.
Thus yielding nice crispy fat at the top that melts slowly and bastes the meat making it literally so tender the boner falls right from the meat. It’s beyond words how tender, succulent and moist this becomes after slowly roasting in the oven.
If you are ever wanting to try lamb this is definitely where you want to start.
- 6lb grass fed bone in leg of lamb
- 8 fresh sprigs rosemary
- 6 garlic cloves whole and unpeeled
- avocado oil or other high heat oil such as macadamia oil (another good avocado oil is this one)
- salt and pepper to taste (make sure it's fresh ground pepper)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Lay your leg of lamb fat side up on a cutting board and score the fat all the way across the top. Do this by taking your knife and applying slight pressure with the front end of the knife run it all the way across the top of the fat and continue until the entire top fat is scored and then do it the opposite direction to create a crosshatch.
- Lay 4 sprigs rosemary and 3 garlic cloves in bottom of a roasting pan and place meat scored fat side up on top of the rosemary and garlic. (remember to leave the garlic cloves whole and unpeeled)
- Lightly drizzle avocado oil over the scored fat part of the meat just enough to lightly coat most of it (about a tablespoon)
- Salt and pepper to taste and then place remaining whole unpeeled garlic and rosemary on top of the meat.
- Tent the entire roasting pan with foil and place in the oven, the second you place it in the oven quickly close the door and immediately turn the oven down to 325 degrees.
- Let it roast in the oven covered the entire time for 4 hours and its done once the bone comes off easily.
- Serve on a tray and garnish with rosemary. (This meat is so tender it isn't really possible to slice it so its easier just to pull it off with a fork and put it on your plate)
Courtney Heil says
This looks amazing! Will be making it in the near future. 😉
Slim Palate says
That’s awesome Courtney. Let me know how it goes. By the way don’t be afraid to score that fat on the top, its really important to score it so it can get the oil on the top cooking that fat so it bastes the beauty.
How many hours would you recommend for two pieces of leg of lamb coming close to two pounds together ? thank you !
Thank you for this recipe. My daughter and I both like lamb but am hesitant in cooking it. Questions: When you say ‘tent’ the lamb with foil. Do you mean to cover it completely by folding the ends on to the baking pan? Or just cover loosely? Do you do anything with the garlic after cooking? I wonder if it can be mashed into the mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes? Am looking forward to cooking this lamb!
Slim Palate says
Don’t be afraid Shirley, I have faith you will be able to pull this off. This recipe is a lot easier than it may seem, which is why I love it so much. For tenting it with foil I usually just place a sheet of foil over the top just enough to completely enclose the lamb in the roasting pan. I usually pinch the foil tightly all the way around to create a good seal for the lamb. And yes usually I will take a couple of the cloves out and mix it in with mashed cauliflower, it’s delicious, although sometimes I also sneak one out an squeeze it in my mouth because I’m crazy like that. I also keep a couple more cloves to make a pan sauce out of the drippings of the lamb after its roasted to spoon over the lamb or any veggies on the side. Please let me know if you have any more questions, and let me know how it goes. Oh and send in pics if you get the chance because I would love to see the finished product. You can send them to me by email, through twitter (just be sure to tweet it at me) or you can share it on my Facebook page wall. Can’t wait to find out how it goes.
Thank you for a new lamb recipe!!
I live in Australia, and lamb is the bomb over here… it’s my favourite meat and I like finding new ways to prepare it… so, again – thank you! Made this last night and it came out amazing… now I have lunch for the next few days as well!!
Slim Palate says
Australian approval for a lamb recipe? That makes me very happy. Next time you make it be sure to send in pics if you make it again I would love to see your finished product. So glad you liked it.
While I really applaud your commitment to eating sensibly, and your encouragement to eat GRASS FED lamb, I desperately want to point out that lamb production is by far the worst greenhouse gas emitter of all popularly consumed meats. Please see the below link for a comparison of greenhouse gas emissions of different types of food production.
Lamb is an okay “once in a while food,” but if you care about the environment, which we all should since we can’t exist without it, you won’t eat lamb often!
Laura, Where I live near Boston, sometimes I find locally raised lamb for sale at my town’s farmers market. I wish I knew how this compared to the commercial operations in Idaho and Ohio, but after reviewing the methodology used in the report you site (see http://static.ewg.org/reports/2011/meateaters/pdf/methodology_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf ) I have to throw my hands up. There is no breakdown of the at-farmgate emissions that I could compare and start to estimate how the commercial operations in far-away states might compare with the farms in my local area. What I do know is that beef has to transported from pretty far away, and based on that I’m going to keep on enjoying the local lamb.
Kim Quinn says
Hi. I live in Wars, Ma about 1hour+ from Boston. My daighted works for Chestnut Farm of Hardwick. She is a vendor at the Boston Markwts. Chestnut Farm meat, including lamb are all grass fed, wonderfully raised, free roaming and delickous. Meats, poultry, etc. Great lamb!
HELP! I am making your lamp recipe today and will need it to be ready by 6. The only issue is that I am also going to be roasting a chicken and wanted to have them ready at the same time. After the lamb is done, can I pull it out and leave it covered for up to an hour while I cook the chicken?
I am guessing I can but if you have ever done this, or if you have any suggestions, please let me know!
Slim Palate says
Hi Sara, I’m excited to find out your trying out the recipe. I always like to let the leg rest for about 10-20 minutes but I personally wouldn’t leave it out any longer than 25 minutes or else it will start to get cold but that can easily be fixed by reheating it. With You have a couple of options.
You could make the lamb and leave it (you may want to slightly loosen the foil to keep it from steaming the meat to death after pulling it out but don’t remove it) out and then reheat it once the chicken is ready.
You could also begin time roasting the chicken while the the lamb is cooking and so they both come out at the same time.
If you have two ovens I would opt for doing the second option to time them to both come out at the same time but there is nothing wrong with reheating it. If you do need to leave it out for an hour and reheat, which should be perfectly fine, make sure you do not cut into it or mess with it too while letting the chicken roast much or it might lose juices and dry out.
Hope all of this helps, let me know how it goes and take pics which you can share on my Twitter, Facebook page or email if you get the chance!
Thanks so much for responding so quickly. I’ll definitely let you know how this all works out. I think i will put the lamb in now and will reheat closer to dinner (don’t have two ovens:(
I will heed your advice and will loosen the foil after it’s ready.
Wish me luck!
Hi, This recipe looks like a perfect candidate for Easter dinner..
My question is how would you adjust any time lengths, temps & measurements for a 8 pound leg of Lamb bone out?( my mother had it deboned for some reason?) I’m looking for that super tender texture….thnks!
Slim Palate says
Hi Bryan, sorry for the late reply. I am at PaleoFX right now so it’s hard to get back to people right now. I don’t think you should have any problems actually. With the bone being out it may actually cook fine. 4 hours is a long time to cook it and I am actually thinking of reducing the time for this recipe because sometimes a 6 lb leg comes out just slightly overdone, rarely, but it’s happened before. So now that I think about it the same instructions should work just fine for your 8 lb leg. If I were you I would do it per the instructions on here and see how it goes, it should turn out great. Let me know how that goes for you.
After the 4 hours is up just check on it and see how it’s doing. I did the math on it and the time doesn’t actually change much even though it’s a 2 lb difference. Technically you could roast it for 3 hours and it could work out fine according to roast time per lb. Hope this helps, and take pictures if you make it, I’d love to see how it turns out.
P.S. You can make a delicious pan sauce with the drippings that are left over by adding some beef or chicken stock with the drippings in a sauce pan and a tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar, a small knob of butter and then just reduce it and you can have people spoon it over the lamb.
Hi, thanks for the reply. So I would like the center to be a nice med. rare, should I insert my leave -in oven thermometer during cooking time & take out lamb when it reaches 145 deg? Or should I just gauge it with the 3-4 hour marker? & when u say tent the pan of meat with foil, am I basically sealing up the pans edges on all 4 sides creating sealed steaming effect or am I just covering meat with foil? Thnks
Slim Palate says
Roast it for 2 hours 30 mins- 3 hours and it should be good. And yes you should utilize your leave in thermometer and take it out at 140. Just be sure after you take it out of the oven that you do not remove the thermometer and let it rest for 20 minutes before removing the thermometer and cutting into the meat.
Which part of tenting do you mean? If you mean in the beginning when you place it in the oven then yes seal it fairly tight on all edges.
Hi, thanks for the recipe. Two questions, do I cut the time down for a 4lb lamb? And is it okay to add some liquid like a beer to the pan?
Slim Palate says
Don’t add any liquid to the pan while its cooking it will affect the way it cooks. I would go for cooking it normally but might pull it out slightly earlier than usual. Just keep an eye in it and check it after about 3 hours.
If you wanted a flavorful liquid like beer or wine I would drain the fat out of the roasting pan and deglaze the roasting pan with the beer or wine and reduce it to make a pan sauce and spoon it over the lamb when serving. Just make sure your roasting pan can go on the stovetop for that method.
Thanks so much for the recipe. Your story is amazing! I made this recipe today and I got a 4lb leg of lamb and followed your instructions and since it was smaller went to check on it at 2 and a half hours and the internal temp was close to 170 and it seems that its overdone. I’m not sure what I did wrong (may just have been because it was a smaller piece of meat), but I know someone else asked about a 4 lb, and I would recommend checking it earlier than 3 hours. I guess I will know for next time.
Slim Palate says
Was it bone in or bone out?
I made the lamb Friday night and let it cool down overnight. On Saturday I sliced it onto a heat-proof serving plate and warmed it gently (160 about 45 minutes) Delicious! Rave reviews from our friends – and glad we have some leftovers for tonight’s dinner. If I did it again the same way, I’d knock about 30 minutes off the initial roasting time. By the time I warmed it, it was medium (also due to slicing) and I’d prefer it med-rare. It was tender and juicy – and I did prepare pan-drippings into au jus on the side.
Slim Palate says
I’m glad it turned out okay! This recipe is an odd one for sure. I always like my meats such as lamb and beef to be medium rare but this recipe is one of the only ones that usually doesn’t have it turn out medium rare for one reason, that reason being the slow roasting time to create really tender fall apart meat. This is definitely not a traditional or normal leg of lamb recipe in which the meat would be medium rare which like I said is how I prefer my meat 99 percent of the time.
Well, I bought a leg of lamb from Lewis in Illinois and it’s 11 pounds. That’s all they had, but at $3.99 a pound I couldn’t resist.
I’ve never cooked anything this huge. I suppose I have to marinate it in a garbage bag.
Any ideas on how long it will take to cook? I’m trying to work with than and an Emeril recipe.
Slim Palate says
Well it depends on how rare you want it. This recipe is not a typical roast leg of lamb recipe. In this recipe I slowly roast it to break down connective tissues yielding fall apart succulent meat. If you want a medium rare you might actually be able to get away with using the same technique and time for this since it’s such a big cut of meat.
Iqbal Kaka says
WOWW..fantastic, as an Indian i ever use spice marinating more than 2 hours before roast on high heat for quick and never foiled. But this time thanks of your recipe i made my wife more crazy as we prepare our favorite dish monthly 2-3 times..Thank you Slim..
Your recipe sounds great. I am going to try it today. Thanks Mike
Hi, I’m trying this recipe today, just had a quick question.
If the meat weighs less than 6lb, mine is 5.5lb, is it better to cook it on the same heat for less time, or on a lower heat for the same time.
What would you recommend for a 5.5lb piece.
Eileen @ Phoenix Helix says
I imagine you have way more to do than time to do it, yet I have a request anyway! I just started a weekly Paleo Autoimmune Recipe Roundtable through my blog, and I would love it if you linked up this recipe. I’m trying to expand resources for the AIP community. When you’re on the autoimmune protocol, good recipes are hard to find. Here’s the link: Here’s the link: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/11/20/paleo-aip-recipe-roundtable-4/
Why do we leave the garlic whole and unpeeled??? I LOVE garlic, please explain!
Slim Palate says
It will transfer to the meat just fine, don’t worry. It just makes a slightly more rich yet subtle garlicky taste to the meat. Plus the garlic gets slow roasted this way.
Can this recipe be done in an electric roasting pan. Seems like that would negate the need for tenting as it is in a more compact and confined space.
Slim Palate says
I have no experience with an electric roasting pan at all but my guess is probably not. The way that the heat cycles around inside of the foil wrapped roasting tray is probably not going to be replicated properly. You could try it and report back but I really doubt it will have results anywhere close to the same.
Hi. I don’t have a roasting pan. Do you think I could make this in a Dutch oven and just cover it with the lid instead of using foil? If so, would I need to adjust the cooking time at all? Thank you!
Slim Palate says
I suppose that could certainly work although I’m not sure that the lid would provide the same kind of seal as the foil so you may want to use the foil with it. Otherwise I see no problem in using your dutch oven.
Hi i am wanting to try this recipe for a dinner party. I live in Australia and have never roasted lamb before. I’m worried my lamb will be dry as thats how all my roasts turn out. 🙁
When you say 325 degrees is that Fahrenheit? We have Celsius here so will be 162C instead of 325F. and 6lb is 2kgs here which is a good size.
I am worried about drying it out and i see you wrote that you were thinking of reducing the cooking time so if i was going to cook the same size bit of lamb at the same temp as you have suggested but for 3hrs instead of 4 will it still be cooked and tender and juicy? Thanks
I am planning to cook legs of lamb for family guests and wanted to have very tender juicy meat with some gravy to pour over.
I have tried similar method and tried to cook it in the pan over some halved onions, and second time I added some water into the pan and then cooked it under the tin foil similar way.
The first time when I did not any water I had chared burned onions on the bottom of my pan with lamb that was over it but didn’t get burned luckily, I could not use the pan juices for gravy as to me it was burned and wasn’t good. Didn’t like that. With adding water I had some juices in the pan. I was wondering if the rosemary and garlic that I’ll use to lay under the lamb in your recipe won’t get burned and give off that burny flavor to the meat;))??? Thnx for advise!
you need to change the name of this recipe to “better than sex lamb.” this lamb was pure ecstasy. i had never made a leg of lamb but asked for one for my birthday since they are so expensive. i followed your recipe exactly as written (used a 4 lb leg) and it is the bomb. super easy instructions and it was perfectly tender at 4 hours. i could actually pull the entire bone out since the meat just fell off. the fat is super crispy on top and melt in your mouth tender. the taste actually reminds me of a pork shoulder since i always roast them low and slow in the oven but then crank up the heat to 500 F at the end. thanks so much for posting this!!! it is exceptional.
Lea Renee says
Dear, sweet Slim,
I FULLY agree with your opinion that, here in the States, Lamb IS the unsung hero of the dinner table. I enjoyed your article and believe that one day soon you will be one of the finest connoisseur culinary critics in the industry. I believe this SO much in fact that I’m going to try your recipe tonight, this VERY Christmas Eve. Thank you, with all my heart, Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year to you.
(One final thing, and I DON’T MIND AT ALL IF THIS PART GETS EDITED OUT!…… BUT nothing compliments a discerning palate and a passion for prose such as good EDITING! Dear, sweet, young man, please don’t be offended! Along with your stunning appraisal of the meat you managed to give two old ladies a Christmas giggle, a treat indeed…. please call your attention to paragraph 7 (the paragraph above the final picture) Sentence 1; second line, 6th word in from the right margin…. there is an out of place “r” at the end of the word “bone” that could potentially smudge your reputation! Again, wishing you the best!)
Stef Brower says
Stef Brower says
This was SO amazing. I had a pretty small leg (2.5lbs) and cooked it for 3 hours, it was perfect. I also used the drippings to make a sauce as you said, with chicken stock and red wine vinegar – WOW. The meat was so tender and the fat was perfectly rendered and flavorful. Can’t wait to try it again.
I am making this for the first time. I am a little nervous but so looking forward to a lamb dinner as I love lamb. I wanted to know if I added small fingerling potatoes to the underside of the lamb do you think it would affect the lamb cooking or be an issue? I am not so much worried about the pan drippings as a sauce but think they might make the potatoes extra special. What do you think? I also am making a lb lamb but I think the 3 hours will be fine but will check from 2 on to make sure.
was suppose to say a 4 lb lamb is the size I am making.
I am going to make this today for dinner tonight, currently doing a Whole30 so this is perfect, can’t wait!
Laura VIrzi says
I am making your receipe today! Easter! I have an 11lb leg of lamb. How long shall I cook it?
Susanne F says
When I read the recipe, I was concerned that you had the temp at 325 for 4 hours with NO liquid in the intial phase of the cooking. But, I figured, I’ll go ahead and try your recipe. I was right. 325 for 4 hours completely dried out the roast to shoe leather. A big disappointment. i should have followed my own instincts. I did appreciate the ease of the recipe and the scoring of the fat certainly crisped it up but the roast was completely inedible. At 325, 1-1/2 hiurs would have been penty for a medium rare roast. For a 4 hour roasting time, the temp should be no more than 275.
I am sure you didn’t follow the directions and didn’t cover (seal) with foil.
You said boner!
Can’t wait to try this recipe! What are your thoughts of adding some potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes to the pan. Should I still cook the same or add some water, broth to the mix???
Thanks in advance
Christina Murray says
I am a huge fan of lamb! My grandparents are from England and they always used to make it for me. I just made this lamb with a 7 pound bone in leg, and it is amazing! I usually make lamb chops with brown sugar, onion and lemon but decided to branch out! It was juicy and tender as advertised! So thank you!!!!
Ummm…no offense, but you might want to fix the spelling so it doesn’t say “the boner falls off the meat.” Unless it was intentional, in which case it’s just funny.
Love this!!! This will be the third year in a row that I make it for Passover and it’s always amazing!!!
Slim Palate says
Thank you so much! I’m happy to have a recipe making it to your table on such a special occasion! Much love! – Josh
Sherri Hertzog says
Just had this for Easter dinner.It was perfect ! Tender,fell off the bone…I was worried,I had an 11 pound roast,but it was perfectly cooked! Simple deliciousious…I will definitely mak5 this again!
This is the one!!! Of all the recipes, this is the closest to what I can remember growing up in South Africa. I have made it often (when my children visit) and it is always a hit!!. Thank You!! I like lamb with a good layer of fat on it…not easy to find, but worth the search.