Braised lamb shoulder slow cooked in the oven for hours to end up with a crispy but tender finish. This is highly addictive so be prepared to pull off chunks and eat it with your fingers!
This post is sponsored by The American Lamb Board.
I love when fall finally gets here, and my tastes change. Dinner ends up sometimes being some kind of comfort food, having grown up with a lot of casseroles and heavy cuts of meat.
Usually, I’d use a chuck roast or a pork butt and turn them into something that melts in your mouth such as epic carnitas, but guys, don’t underestimate American raised lamb as a slow cooked meat.
I realize that most lamb you seem to find in restaurants will be loin chops or a rack cooked quickly for a juicy pink center. Am I the only one drooling right now? But this American lamb shoulder is on the other end of the flavor spectrum. it needs to cook for a long time creating that juicy amazing flavor
How to make braised lamb shoulder?
But braised lamb shoulder is a whole other delicacy. Give yourself plenty of time to cook it, because it’s not something you can rush, and nor would you want to. I cooked this almost 3-pound piece for about 3 1/2 hours, the last half hour with the oven turned up to high heat to get that crispy skin on the surface. Basically, I ended up with lamb carnitas braised in an IPA craft beer. The braised lamb shoulder will need to be seared over a high heat before it hits the oven, this will keep all of the flavors inside and help to get that crispy outer layer.
Whats the best lamb for braising?
Lamb shoulder, shank and leg are my three favorite cuts. Each one will yield some really tender results after hours of slow cooking. You can braise them in the oven or use a slow cooker but I find that a dutch oven gives the best flavor and the best caramelization on the lamb.
What does braised lamb mean?
Braising meat just means to cook it slowly in some liquid so that the fibers and connective tissue have time to break down and become that fork-tender piece of meat we’re looking for. American lamb is raised on family-owned farms and ranches. You can use various liquids. I used a hoppy IPA but red wine and broth are good to use also. Just don’t add water because, well water doesn’t have any flavor.
Gravy or no gravy?
Definitely gravy! After all, once your braised lamb is done, you’ll be left with a glorious liquid that’s screaming with flavor from the fresh herbs, beer, and broth. Making gravy from scratch used to make me nervous. When I was learning to cook in restaurants I’d marvel at how some chefs would just be in charge of sauce, and how easy they could whip up a whole bunch of pots each with a perfect sauce that could be used for a full nights dinner service.
The most important thing to do is to make sure you skim as much of the fat off the surface as you can. You’ll be left with the meaty gravy base and with a little flour and some extra broth you should end up with a rich silky sauce that goes perfectly with this shredded braised lamb shoulder
Whether you slow cook the tougher cuts of lamb or if you prefer your lamb to be pinker in the center, these garlic rosemary roasted potatoes will go with anything you choose!
Can you overcook lamb by slow cooking it?
It’s really hard to do this as there’s enough liquid in the pot for the lamb to keep absorbing. I always say the longer the better but keep a close eye on the level of liquid in the pot.
Slow Cooked beer Braised Lamb Shoulder
- 2.5-3 pounds American boneless lamb shoulder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- ½ shallot diced
- 1 pinch salt and black pepper
- 2 tbsp rosemary chopped
- 1 cup IPA beer
- ½ cup beef broth
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- 3-4 rainbow carrots peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 3 cups beef broth
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have on hand an oven-safe dutch oven or casserole dish to cook the lamb in.
- In a large enough pan to hold the lamb, heat the olive oil.
- Add the diced shallot and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
- Rub the lamb with the salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Place the lamb in the pan and sear on each side until brown turning often.
- Transfer the lamb and all of the garlic and shallot to the casserole dish.
- Add the beer, broth, thyme, and carrots to the lamb.
- Place in the oven covered with a lid or foil and cook for 2 hours turning the lamb over once or twice.
- After 2 hours take the lid off and cook for another hour.
- Turn the temperature up to 400 degrees and continue to cook the lamb until it feels fork tender.
- Once the lamb is done transfer it to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
- Skim all of the fat from the dish and discard along with the carrots and thyme sprigs.
- Transfer the remains to a pan and add 2 tbsp flour.
- Whisk the flour into the liquid and gradually add the broth until simmering and the gravy has become thinner.
- Once the gravy is done pass it through a sieve and transfer to a gravy dish. Shred the lamb into chunks and serve with potatoes and gravy on the side.
- *Note* Depending on the size of your lamb, cooking time may vary. The real test will be when you test it with two forks and it pulls apart.