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Nov 15, 2012 01:28 PM

How long is too long to marinate lamb?

I started marinating a boneless leg of lamb this morning (Martha Stewart's recipe; have never done a leg of lamb before), planning to roast it tonight. It said to marinate for 12 hours, up to 1 day. Now, change of plans...I want to cook it tomorrow night. Will that be OK or is it too long in the marinade? Marinade is olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary and garlic.

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  1. I would roast it tonight. Cold sliced lamb is fabulous or you could do a slow reheat and still serve it tomorrow.

    Large quantities of acid (lemon juice) start to break down the meat, changing its texture. Even a smaller amount of a long period time will do the same. The flavor should be fine either way but I still say roast tonight.

    2 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      Thanks for the quick reply. That's kind of what I thought, too. The recipe calls for roasting potatoes along with the lamb and I didn't think they would be as good leftover but I guess I could do the potatoes separately tomorrow if they are no good leftover. Better than ruining the lamb.

      1. re: foodieX2

        I agree...I have used the pomegrate marinade that I learned in Russia and found out that the time needed for lamb in teh US is far less than in Russia. This was explained to me as being due to the fact that the Russian lamb is tending toward mutton but the stuff here is not so old. So rather than go several hours with ke-babs, I give it maybe 2 hours. That way I get the flacor of both. The classic over-done marination I see is flank steak done overnight. Comes out gray with no beef flavor. So yes, I'm with you.

      2. I just did a leg of lamb marinade that suggested up to 36 hrs. What is in your marinade? Do you have a link to the recipe?

        3 Replies
        1. re: smtucker

          I listed the ingredients in the original post but here is a link:

          1. re: stak

            You could rinse off the marinade....and reapply without the acid.

            1. re: stak

              So you did. Sorry, didn't read carefully enough. Yea, the lemon juice is the issue. It will make the meat mushy.

              So, I would pull the lamb out of the marinade, put it on a rack over a sheet pan, cover and let it sit in the fridge until tomorrow night. I think leftover leg of lamb is far less superior than right out of the oven.

          2. For a roast I'd say that 12 hours is longer than I'd give it.

            A father-in-law I once had was for years in charge of the shishkebabs at the local Armenian Society's annual festival. He and his crew would cut up however many lamb legs and marinate the pieces overnight in lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. It came out not fit for a roast, essentially cooked already, but it was good for kebabs because the meat had to just get crusty on the outside and hot through, so they cooked the skewers just until the vegetables were perfectly done. I would've used shoulder instead of leg, but I wasn't gonna tell him that.