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roast lamb in the crock pot?

I bought a boneless leg of lamb (4.5 lbs) and was thinking of cooking it in the crock pot. Of course I found dozens of recipies on-line, but thougth I'd ask you folks first. Any suggestions or recommendations on cooking method, spices, etc are welcome. I'm not a huge fan of mint jelly, was thinking more middle-east/medeteranian flavors, but I'm open to hearing what you think.


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  1. I would not cook it in the crock pot. I usually only use the crock pot for lamb shanks. But- boneless leg of lame is perfect for grilling. If you have access to a grill, that is the way to go. It will cook quickly, nicely charred on the outside and pink and juicy on the inside. I usually grill it to about 125 to 130 degrees, then cover with tin foil and let rest for a few minutes.
    An easy marinade, which I used this weekend for grilled lamb shoulder chops: Olive Oil, garlic, lemon, rosemary, S/P. I just throw into a zip lock bag, rough chop the garlic and lemon and marinate for a few hours.
    Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: macca

      I endorse macca's recommendation-you can't go wrong with this approach. A good way to satisfy your meat craving, and I much prefer it to steak.

    2. I agree NO CROCK POT!! I did a Greek Style Leg of lamb recently that was excellent. Squeeze the juice of two lemons over the lamb, then Cut about 8-12 slots into the leg of lamb, insert garlic slivers followed by salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle the lamb with oregano. Pour 8 oz water into the pan, add lamb and cover with foil. Roast on lowest rack for 40 min-1 hr. (in a preheated 450 oven). Then remove foil & lower the heat to 375 and roast for 40-50 min.. Remove and let roast stand for 30 min. (it will continue to cook) Rare is 140 degrees, med. 145 degrees. This recipe was for 8-10 lb so you'll want to adjust the timing. It was awesome!!!!

      1. The above posters are right in that their suggestions will give you great results. On the other hand, a crock pot will also produce a fine meal!

        1. I've tried boneless leg of lamb in the crock pot a couple of times, and, while it's not bad, it's definitely not my favorite way to cook it. Grilling is probably best; roasting until med-rare in the oven is good too. I never do the mint jelly thing; definitely go the mediterranean route (olive oil,garlic, rosemary... you probably know the drill).

          1. I appreciate the responses. As I live in a condo, grilling may not be my best option. We do have a couple of bbq's available - but they are really more set up for quick work on burgers, dogs, or steaks than something like a roast, although I will give that some consideration - they don't have lids/tops, so I would have to improvise something out of foil pans or whatever. I have to admit, I never considered grilling at all until now.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              If you can't grill it, roast it off in the oven. I'm a Greek so do mine by cutting holes all over and inserting cloves of garlic, rubbing cumin, oregano, salt and pepper on it, squeezing lemon juice all over. I let sit like this overnight and then either grill or roast off. Traditionally it's cooked to well but I prefer it to medium rare myself. When done in the oven you can toss some potatoes in the roasting pan to roast in the juices. mmm...good.

              I wouldn't cook it whole in the crock pot but you could cut it up and make a stew. Shoulder meat would be better for this though....


            2. Kai,
              Did you ever end up making this in the crock pot or on the grill? If so how did it turn out? I have a 3.3 lb. boneless leg of lamb and am looking for a simple recipe since I have never made lamb before. I'm not a huge fan of the mint jelly with lamb either, but am considering fresh mint as I have a ton of it in my garden. Either that or we'll just do mimosas!

              1. I wanted to bump this to see if the poster or anyone else since did end up trying this in the crock pot. I would never have thought to do leg in it, but also came across many online recipes indicating they put the leg in for 6-8 hours on low and ended up with wonderfully tender meat.

                I am in need of a good make-ahead dish for this weekend and was going to do braise shanks or shoulder and serve over pitas...then after seeing some recipes with boneless leg in the slow cooker, I thought that would require a little less meat handling after it is done.

                Any thoughts are appreciated!

                9 Replies
                1. re: bte576

                  P.S. I did see there were responses that this was an ok thing to do, but given the adamant responses against doing so, I was really hoping to see if there were any newer positive responses.

                  Also, the cost of all of these cuts will be about the same for me, which may be useful info.

                  1. re: bte576

                    Braising is great for "Connective Tissue" heavy cuts like Shank or Shoulder(which can be boneless).
                    While Leg of Lamb can be done that way it is not the ideal way to use this cut. It is much better for a dryer cooking method.
                    Of course you can live in hope that someone will say it is great way to cook it but I doubt you will find many.

                    1. re: chefj

                      I wasn't necessarily looking for this to be great or "the best" way to cook it, I am just curious of the results.

                      I wasn't necessarily planning to add liquid to the slow cooker beyond the marinade btw, but regardless, I am interested to know the texture of leg of lamb is when cooked through. I have never cooked it past medium doneness.

                      Would the meat stay moist and be shreddable?

                      1. re: bte576

                        Are you looking to shred it? If you want that, do shoulder. But if you have a leg, you could try and cook it properly and then cut into chunks while serving at your party. Maybe broil the chunks quickly as you serve.

                        It isn't so much the texture, but the flavor. At full doneness, consistency will be more grainy in my experience. More importantly, it will take on the lamby gamey flavor that people don't like. I think that's why so many people don't like lamb because it was a weird meat, and their mothers cooked the crap out of it just in case.

                        Unless you want it well done, you really need a meat thermometer to cook a leg. I usually pull at 135 F from ether my oven or my smoker.

                        If I were forced to use a slow cooker for leg, I would do this:

                        1) Turn on crockpot to high
                        2) Build a bed of mirepoix so that the leg stays at least an inch from the bottom. I find that carrot logs work for the entire cooking time, as the mirepoix breaks down and the lamb gets to the bottom anyhow.
                        3) Season however you chose, then brown on all sides in a skillet with a moderate amount of oil
                        4) Place the lamb in the crockpot.
                        5) Wait and hour and a half, the check the internal temp to see where you are at.
                        6) Check temp periodically. The temp will rise, then stall for a while, the rise again. Need to keep track more frequently at the end. Perhaps every half hour. An instant read thermometer would be great for this application.
                        7) Pull the leg at 135 F and let rest under a tent of foil
                        8) Toss carrot logs and store the mirepoix. Seems like you are doing a greek style thing, so you will have all the greek items to top the pitas. But, you will have leftovers and you might want a sauce for later.

                        Drawback - You can't do this if you plan to leave all day and go to work all day. If this is the case, brown the lamb in the morning and start on low, leave on low all day.

                        Anyone feel free to call BS on this. I have thick skin!

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          Thanks for elaborating on the flavor and texture. I knew it wouldn't have the fine texture of shredded shoulder, but was curious if it would be akin to people using whole chickens from the crock pot for shredded meat applications.

                          Needless to say, I've definitely been talked out of trying this for the meal I referenced. Maybe sometime if I have some leg on hand, I will try this just to see how it turns out, but it sounds like the results won't be worth any effort.

                          1. re: bte576

                            For the record, shredded chicken out of the crock pot is dry and stringy. But then again, chicken shouldn't be easily shredded. It's not pork shoulder.

                          2. re: rudeboy

                            The problem w/ opening the slow cooker is that it takes 20 minutes to get back to temp. Your suggestions are probably what I'd do if I HAD to use the slow cooker for leg of lamb but I'd do anything I could to avoid that. I'd also fold a towel under the lid to keep the lamb drier. And, after browning the lamb, I'd do the same w/ the mire poix, deglaze w/ wine, reduce and add to slow cooker. There are slow cookers I've seen that have thermometers that seem practical:


                            1. re: chowser

                              Wow, I hadn't seen one with a temp gauge like that. I kept staring at mine, wondering how I could rig that up. I have one with a very thin wire, so it is feasible to run it under the lid, but a little steam would escape and reduce the liquid. Not a bad price if one is looking to buy a new slow cooker.

                              Yeah, that's the problem with opening the lid. You gotta do it real fast with an instant read. Not an ideal situation.

                              I'm sure some people in NYC lofts and such might need to resort to the slow cooker and have to improvise.