Is there a right and a wrong way of cooking lamb here?


Senior Member
4 Feb 2019
Local time
2:37 AM
Cooking lamb for my wife's bday. They had shoulder and leg in the supermarket and my mother in law said to get both. We both love to cook and obviously she has a lot more experience than me and her food is great just she is old fashioned. First thing I said was will the leg and shoulder not need different cooking times she was like no not really or you can just take one out of the oven earlier and then put it back in later. Fair enough. Next thing was I was going to season and add oil, she was like no just add oil for now and dont add salt as the salt will dry out the meat and to add salt and herbs towards the end of cooking. Seems contradictory to cooking methods I have seen. Thirdly halfway through the cooking she took the meat out the oven and proceeded to cut the lamb shoulder in half. To me this is treachery and could cause the meat to dry out. Is it just a clash of old against new? Her food is always good so I'm thinking maybe we get too hung up on cooking by the book and the old school way is lead by experience?
My lamb experience is leg, chops and shanks. I like the leg and chops cooked to medium rare, while I do just the opposite with shanks -- I braise them until fall off the bone tender.

I have never cooked lamb shoulder. If it is like pork shoulder, it should be very forgiving.

Did she say why she cut it in half? That's a peculiar one...
I heard a story in an interview years ago of a chef who said she always cut her hams in half and cooked them side by side, cut side down..She said she learned from her mother, who did that so she asked her mother why? Her mother said that her mother did that...the girl went and asked her grandmother why she cut the ham in half and the grandmother said that it was because her oven was too small to fit the whole ham so she had to cut it in half so it would slide in....
I think she cut it in half so it cooked evenly but just doesn't make sense to me. Then after another hour or so she starts cutting the leg in half saying some parts are cooked some aren't.
I guess that would be to speed things up, but there are other ways to cook things evenly.
Here in the land of lamb I cook it regularly. 2 days ago I did a leg. The shoulder is more sweeter imho.
I bone both cuts of meat out. Then roll it and wrap in string. Season with evoo s and p. Rosemary stalk on the lamb and slow roast 2hrs. Depending on temps up to 3 hrs.
My kids prefer my cook over charcoal cooker I have here. Outside.

Leg is as dry as anything I knew I was right. She is brilliant at cooking what she knows but tries to be the master of everything

Well... I was cringing reading your running commentary. But thanks for posting as it made entertaining reading. Sorry about the lamb though!
I rarely cook leg of lamb, but if I do then I roast it quickly with the aim of achieving medium-rare. The reason I rarely cook leg of lamb is because its quite difficult to get it perfect without a temperature probe, so I don't bother and just do a shoulder instead :okay:

For a shoulder I'll start it off high for 15-20 minutes and then add a bit of liquid (wine, stock or even just water) cover tightly with foil, turn it right down and then cook it slowly for several should just fall apart when its done.

For both leg and shoulder I'd definitely season well first: oil (to make things stick) and then salt, pepper, maybe some garlic and rosemary or other herbs too.
Glad I've given you all a laugh. I feel bad moaning about her I guess it's just different thinking. I'm a bit OCD and like to do things properly.

When she is at home she always leaves her meat out of the fridge overnight and she said last night do you want it out or in the fridge, eventually at 4am it went in the fridge. Now we are eatih leftovers but there is still too much for three people I said shouldn't we just reaheat what we need otherwise you are reheating multiple times she said it's fine. All fun and games haha
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