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Mar 26, 2009 12:17 PM

Lamb Shoulder Help

Hey -- my dad bought a lamb and is bringing down the shoulder for me to cook this weekend. It's the roast part, not the shoulder chops and he said he thinks it's bone in. I was planning on butterflying it and stuffing it but I'm wondering a) can I do that with the bone in b) if not how easy is it to debone?

Also any recipes or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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  1. You will need to yank the bone.

    Here is a nifty video showing you how to bone it. It always helps to have a visual. I could detail it, but why.
    Enjoy your lamb!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sal Vanilla

      Cool, thanks. In that video it seems the chops and ribs are still attached and are being removed. From my dad's description I believe it's the upper part of the shoulder and contains only the shoulder bone so it looks almost more like a bone-in leg of lamb.

      1. re: jamesm

        In that case you can easily do it yourself. Take the net off the leg if it has one. I either find the thinnest part of the thickest section of the leg and dray an imaginary line down the leg and cut on the line or look for a natural or man made cut in the meat and use that as an entry point to the bone. Either way, cut vertically to the bone. Use a knife that is thin, long and flexible-ish. Kind of methodically cut in long strokes along the bone separate the meat from the bone with the knife working your way around. Up near the top where the joint is big, you will have some waste, but just sort of work the tip end around that knotty joint. It will look ugly, but it smooths away.

        In fact you may choose to trim the inside meat out of the upper leg (saving that for kebab or another meal where you can use stewing style lamb). When you thin out that meat it will allow for more even cooking.

        OR you can then butterfly the top either by cutting up from the center - but not all the way to the top, but to a level that when you fold the cut flap up and flatten it, it will be approximately the same thick.ness as the rest of the leg. You can do the cut around to even going from inside to the edges, but it won't be as symmetrical or pretty. That was sort of confusing. Post again if it was too confusing. I will look back to see if you run into a snag.

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          Nope, that makes perfect sense. Thanks very much for the detailed reply. I appreciate it.

    2. stuffed lamb leg are my fav. i usually do olives, feta, roasted peppers and sometime chopped kale/spinach. make a nice rub with fennel seeds, coriander, oregano and cumin for the lamb. yum!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeniyo

        That sounds awesome and close to something I was considering. Unfortunately my mom and girlfriend gag at the thought of olives which is too bad. I love the brininess against the richness of the lamb.

      2. Shoulder is awkward to bone and we'd normally just roast it as it is.

        It's a great joint for roasting - fattier so it stays moister and sweeter than a leg.

        1. A recipe:

          This recipe above is sick easy and it so darn good. Do it over coals or a real wood fire pit.

          You could also do a bone in legga lamb in the oven or on the grill with lots of fresh rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper rubbed in. Simple and delicious. YUM!

          1. The shoulder is a good deal fattier than the leg. Not as fatty as a pork shoulder, but lamb fat flavour is a bit gamey for some people, so a little goes a long way. I usually use it to grind and make into sausages or kofta (ground lamb skewers flavoured with middle eastern spices).

            For roasting bone-in, if you want to save yourself some trouble, Jamie Oliver has a few good recipes. The ones I've seen involve a braise to tenderize the meat, and then finish over hot coals or in hot oven to crisp up.

            None of my ideas allow for serving it rare or pink, which might go against what you're after.

            10 Replies
            1. re: grandgourmand

              Thanks for the info. I haven't really decided what I'm after yet. I'm waiting to see what it looks like but want to have some info at my disposal when I do.

              1. re: jamesm

                Jeniyo's stuffing sounds good. But you're not able to use olives sounds like. Personally, I love lamb with middle eastern or indian flavours. The meat really stands up to it. DOn't get me wrong, I love the classic rosemary, garlic, lemon and olive oilt, but it does get boring after a while. There are some neat recipes using yoghurt as a marinade, with exotic spices, plus chilis. I'm personally one of those people that isn't crazy about intense lamb flavour. But the really heady flavourings offset it a bit, and the gamey-ness is a bit more of a background flavour.

                I'm actually grinding some lamb shoulder up this weekend to make kofta, so your request is very much at the forefront of my thinking.

                1. re: grandgourmand

                  I agree. I love the middle eastern spices. When I make lamb burgers I like to spice them with a baharat blend and a lemon, garlic yogourt sauce. So good.

              2. re: grandgourmand

                i'm not so sure that a leg of lamb recipe is easily adaptable to a shoulder. grandgourmand seems to be headed in this direction as well. i'd be more likely to braise the shoulder as i do the shanks rather than to rub it up and roast it like a leg.

                in any event, watch out for heavy deposits of fat--particularly the hard stuff. in my view, "gamey" is a bit of an understatement. i'd say yuckorama.

                1. re: silverhawk

                  I'm pretty sure it could be roasted in a similar fashion to a pork shoulder, no? Ideally I'd like to butterfly it and either stuff it or rub a flavoured paste inside then tie it and roast it so I can cut it and serve with a nice presentation.

                  Thanks for the tips about the fat. I've fortunately not experienced that yet any time I've eaten shouldr so that could of went wrong.

                  1. re: jamesm

                    I think you're on the right track if you're comparing it to a pork shoulder and your prep strategy seems good. But keep in mind a pork shoulder gets cooked until it's fully done. I'm sure you're aware of that, but the point I'm trying to make is that in doing so a lot of the excess fat melts away after cooking. If you're aiming for pink on the inside, it might come at the cost of being too fatty, if you know what i mean.
                    The other thing, though, is that you won't know until you see the piece of meat. It might be a lean shoulder.

                    Actually, I found this recipe for a roasted lamb shoulder. he uses a BBQ, but I'm sure an oven will do. Does it pink, but note the comment on removing big veins of fat.


                    1. re: grandgourmand

                      Cool. Thanks very much. I agree about seeing it first before making a decision on what to do with it. It should be here in about an hour.

                      Any chance you've got time to quickly share your kofta recipe? I love those things.

                      1. re: jamesm

                        Sure, although it's not a recipe as much as it is a list of what goes in it and I don't know how authentic it is. i don't measure, but something like this;

                        3lbs ground lamb shoulder
                        1tbps (not too heaping) of turmeric, cumin, coriander
                        minced fresh ginger
                        A few cloves of minced garlic
                        A fresh red chili (not the super hot ones, more for tang)
                        A bunch of fresh mint and coriander
                        For heat, I use harissa, a healthy dose

                        I've got a food grinder attachment on my KitchenAid, so I usually run everything (herbs, ginger, garlic, chili and meat) through there and mix
                        the rest of the stuff in afterwards.

                        Form into stubby cigar like shapes and pan fry or BBQ. I also occasionally pack the meat mixture around skewers, make them longer, and then it's a kebab. My metal skewers are flat, so the meat doesn't roll around. My lamb burger recipe is basically the same, minus the ginger. And, actually, it's pretty much the same stuff into sausages.

                        Goes well served along side tomato and cucumber salad and pita. I usually make a plain yogurt sauce flavoured with lemon juice, mint and coriander, and finely diced red chili. I like those long red chilis that are hot, but not super hot.

                        Actually, I'm making these things this weekend and can't wait.

                        1. re: grandgourmand

                          That sounds awesome. I think they might break in my new BBQ this weekend.

                      2. re: grandgourmand

                        yup. most lamb shoulder recipes are either slow roasted or braised--for something like 4 hrs. you're shooting for pull-apart meat, not rosy slices.