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Apr 12, 2011 01:58 PM

Cooking Lamb for Easter- what cut for a group of 10

We are hosting Easter this year, and have decided to serve lamb.

The butcher where we will be buying our lamb offers the following cuts:
whole leg of lamb
lamb chops
lamb shoulder chops
lamb mince
lamb shank
boneless lamb
rack of lamb

What cut do you suggest, and how should we prepare it. I would rate our cooking skills as good, so nothing overly complicated. Ideally, will be cooking in the oven, but we do have a rotisserie on our BBQ that we could use if you thought that was amazing...

I need to order within the next day or two, so really appreciate your help!

How much will I need to order? We would want there to be leftovers too.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Shanks can be nice if you want to do a braised dish - if you can get relatively small shanks, each person gets their own for a lovely and elegant presentation. Leg of lamb is classic and delicious prepared any number of ways, and a large one should feed 10. Rack of lamb is awesome but at $15/lb (or more) it can get pricey if you're feeding a crowd.

    1. I do a butterflied leg on the grill. I'm thinking one might feed ten but not sure. It cooks in, like, 15 or 20 minutes IIRC.

      17 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        I have done it this way too, with different marinades - totally delicious, and quick. I usually find whole boneless legs at Costco that are around 4.5 lbs, which should feed 10 if you have other sides - I doubt there would be a ton of leftovers though.

        1. re: biondanonima

          I get mine at Costco also but couldn't remember the weight so, yes, that should feed 10.

          1. re: biondanonima

            On the plus side with grilling are the great charred flavor and the fact that on a boned leg there are thick parts and thinner parts so there will be rare pieces, medium pieces, etc., so everyone gets it the way he/she likes it.

            On the minus side, what if it rains?

            1. re: junescook

              I do it on my stovetop cast iron grill pan all the time (one of the ones that spans two burners) - it's still delicious even though you don't have that outdoor charcoal flavor.

              1. re: biondanonima

                There is a puddle beginning to form down my shirt and onto the floor as I've been thinking about all this grilled lamb, OMG! I'll do some wheat pilaf and roasted vegetables. I may just go to the fridge and have a spoonful of mint jelly.

              2. re: junescook

                To questions like this, my frequent response is "that's why god created umbrellas!" But, honestly, we grill in snow storms and driving rain. Nothing deters us :) I also think I'm going to be picking up one of those boneless legs very, very soon.

                1. re: junescook

                  Yep. I love the crusty bits/burnt ends that come from grilling a leg of lamb.

                  As an alternative to mint jelly, I would propose applying, before cooking, a herb paste that incorporates some fresh mint. The 1997 edition of the Joy of Cooking has a good example of such a paste, which includes a variety of fresh herbs (e.g., mint, parsley, rosemary, thyme), black pepper, (or possibly crushed red chile), garlic, olive oil, and a goodly amount of salt.

                  1. re: hohokam

                    I actually like to make a mint pesto with lamb - mint jelly weirds me out. I make it just like regular pesto, only with mint instead of basil (and sometimes walnuts instead of pine nuts). Delicious. Lamb is also fantastic with olive tapenade.

                    1. re: biondanonima

                      Mint pesto and tapenade sound like mighty fine accompaniments to me. :-)

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        That does sound excellent. I'll have to check the yard to see if we've got any mint up yet.

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    4.5lb is not enough for ten people in my opinion. always much better to have lots than not enough when it comes to company. Normally I budget around 1 lb of meat per person so I'd cook two especially if they are big eaters and mostly adults.

                    BTW I'd go with leg of lamb...more flavour on the bone and nicer to look at when you carve it.

                    and get yourself some ED Smith Mint Jelly to go with it.

                    1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                      A POUND of meat per person?!?!?!?!? Holy cow - oops :) I'm sorry, but that sounds just too-too. And I'm a huge carnivore and lamb lover

                      1. re: c oliver

                        If I want leftovers I usually plan about a pound of raw meat per person as well. You lose ~25% of the weight when you cook it, and if you figure that most adults will eat 8oz of cooked meat, that only gives you 4oz leftover per person. And now I want a leftover lamb sandwich!!!!!!

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          I don't disagree with you. But just was trying to keep the math uncomplicated and base it on one meal for ten people. Next time I do one on the grill I'll try to remember to weight pre and post. With it cooking that fast, I'd be suprised if it lost much weight at all.

                          And I really agree about mint jelly. I don't get and I've never gotten it. But the pesto sounds terrific.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Should add to my comment that I like my roasts on the bone. So Leg of Lamb on the bone, not boneless. Similarly Prime Rib with bones etc.

                            So 10 lbs with bone in is not really 1 lb of meat per person.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          yeah, I think I'd lean more towards a pound per person too with whole leg of lamb. After cooking it would weigh less and depending on how it is trimmed, there's bone and there's always that lump of fat in the middle and the skin and tendon bits. You want to have enough for seconds. That's always nice when serving a group.

                          1. re: hillsbilly

                            It's been so many, many years since I've done a bone-in leg of lamb that it never even crosseed my mind.

                  3. For a big group, I'd go with shanks or a leg roast.

                    Shanks can be kind of space-intensive, so if you're planning on cooking 1 shank per guest, you'll want to figure out if you can reasonably make room for 10 shanks in your oven, given the space needed to cook any other dishes you might be making.

                    I like the idea of cooking a leg on the grill. On a Weber kettle type grill cooking a tied/rolled leg can be fairly simple, even without a rotisserie.

                    For 10 people, I would look for a boneless leg in the 5-6 lb range, but if you really want leftovers, you might want to buy two smallish leg roasts (~4 lbs each) instead.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hohokam

                      I think shanks (with all that bone waste) would be awfully pricy for 10 people, at 3.99 #.

                      I'm with the boned whole leg--the ones at our local Costco have been large lately--and run about $18-20 bucks. You could always get a boned leg, mince it with some veggies and herbs and make sausages to BBQ. Then it would go even further!

                    2. We love lamb and I make lamb shanks at least every two weeks. What I have noticed that the price of lamb has shot up in the last couple of weeks, at least down here in CT.

                      C Oliver laid out the options nicely. Roasting a whole leg would probably be the simplest. Buterflying and stuffing would make for nice flavor and easy carving (actually they are readily available already boned). I'll be cooking for five and since braising is my thing I will do shanks. I can get the five into my big roasting pan. Another nice thing about braised dishes is that they can be done the day ahead. Then the jus can be chilled, fat separated, etc. and on Sunday the shanks heated and all else prepared.

                      1. If I was cooking for ten people I wouldn't do shanks cause it would be so expensive, I would do a lamb stew using shoulder. This being spring I would use white wine in the braise.