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Mar 30, 2013 03:43 PM

Ack! Got my lamb roast and it's not rolled/tied. How to cook it?

I ordered a pasture raised lamb roast from a local farmer. I told him I didn't care boneless or not. I got boneless. Picked it up today and it's just a big lump of meat. It's not butterflied, but it's also not rolled/tied.

Should I try to tie it up myself before cooking? Or, just cook as is.

And, I'm a little surprised by how very little fat is on it. I guess because it's from a spring lamb? Should I be concerned that it will be dry?

I'm planning to cook it low/slow. It's 3.25 lbs. and I have NO idea how long it will take.


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  1. Did the farmer say which bit of the animal he'd sold you?

    I'm trying to think which part of the animal would just give a big lump of meat without a bone. Possibly part of the leg, if the central bone had been removed by a tunnel cut - which would mean there's a hole running through the centre. If so, then there's no reason why you couldnt butterfly it, if that's what you wanted.

    You describe it as the "big lump of meat" but you then ask if you should try to tie it. That confuses me - if its a big lump, how/why would you consider trying to tie it?

    As a big lump, I would cook it as though it was rolled and tied - effectively that's a "big lump". I'll leave you to do the conversions from metric - I'd give it 20 minutes at 220, then turn the heat down to 160 and continue at 15 minutes per 500g. That should give you nice pink meat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Thanks, Harters! It's still in the bag thawing (I also didn't know I would receive it frozen). So, I haven't been able to properly examine what I actually have. He removed the bone. So, I'm thinking I probably should just tie it up myself and go from there. I've already converted your times/temps (from another thread I found) and will probably go with that. I'd wanted to try fourunders low/slow/rest/blast method, but haven't been able to work out the timing for it.

      1. re: onrushpam

        Could you poke it with an instant/rapid-read thermometer from time-to-time and determine how long to cook it that way?

    2. I'd open it up, marinate for a few hours or overnight, run skewers through it to hold the different muscles together and keep the meat flat, and cook over charcoal til medium-rare, 20-25 minutes per side.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pikawicca

        Charcoal isn't an option, sadly. Our grill croaked and we're about to move, so have decided not to buy a new one until after the move.

      2. My sister called a little while ago with the same issue. She expected a rolled and tied boneless leg of lamb and got what she described as a big flap of meat with sinew inside, and was worried that trimming the sinew would cause the meat to fall apart into several chunks. She's decided to trim the sinew and marinate, and we'll tie it up tomorrow before cooking.

        Her plan (thanks to Fourunder's advice) is to cook it on a lower temp in the oven until it reaches about 125, then hold it and finish it on the grill. Our family prefers it at about 138.

        1. Even if you do not have Butcher's or Bakery Twine, you can still roll and tie with ordinary's easier if you double or triple the thread first. You will need roughly 3-4 individual 14 inch lengths's nothing more than tying your shoes, except when you cross over, you add a second crossover which is known as a surgical allows you to pull tight and tie off the knot without slipping. Depending on the length of the meat, you want to keep the stands about 2 inches either one in the middle and two off to the sides ....or quartered with four strands.

          With regards to Harter's guidelines, it's a tried and true traditional method for roasting lamb, however, most would not consider it the low and slow approach.....160*C is about 325* if I can recall correctly, or moderate heat roasting by Stateside standards. Most who use low and slow roasting methods do so below 250*. but consider 190-225* the best range to achieve the results they are seeking. You do not mention the target temperature you are shooting for, but you would do the same 450* for 20 minutes and drip down xxx* for 40-50 minutes per pound.

          Have a look here and you can see fldhkybnva's recent first time try with the L & S method and her results in a picture.

          Regardless of which approach you take, my strongest recommendation is for you to plan a minimum one hour rest for the meat....but my preference is for two hours for any roasted meats with the exception of chicken. The longer you rest, the more it allows for the meat to tenderize using its natural enzymes and mimic the dry aging process to concentrate the flavor of the meat

          6 Replies
          1. re: fourunder

            Thanks fourunder! I do have kitchen twine, so will attempt to roll/tie it. Right now, it's in a vacuum bag, thawing in cold water in the sink. Thanks for the info on 40-50 minutes per lb at the lower temp. That's the piece of info I was missing. I'm shooting for med. rare, as that's how we all like it. Definitely pink.

            I'm anxious to try this local lamb. The guy I bought it from is very nice and quite proud of his operation/product. He also has goats and even sells goat milk ice cream and curried goat, oxtail stew and other dishes to take home and heat up. I'm hoping for a good result from this. I'd like to continue to support him with my business.

            1. re: onrushpam

              If you like pink meat, I suggest you bring the meat to the higher end of Medium-Rare, 125-135*, so pull and rest at around 130*...the carryover will increase the temperature 5-7*.. If you pull on the lower end, the meat will lean more towards blue/purple from my experience.

              I aid in rolling and tying,you can help secure the roast with toothpicks or skewers. If you want it to look more professional, after you tie off as described, take another strand triple length of roast. Place the roast top side up and slip the twin under one of the middle tied off knots. Cross over the piece of twin and go opposite each other strand and continue to the underside and repeat. When you reach the underside you repeat. You can do the same side to side, but it's not necessary and the extra step will ensure the tied off ends will not slip in place if the meat expands.

              last, rolling the meat into a roast will make for better presentation of slices on the plate.

              1. re: fourunder

                Okay, it thawed and I undid it to get a good look. I can see how it should be rolled up and that won't be a problem. However, as Terrie's sister described, there's a piece of silver skin or sinew down the middle and if I pull that off, a big chunk that will be disconnected from the roast. The disconnected piece would be what should go to the inside of the "roll". Should I remove that and try to hold it back together with the twine or leave it?

                1. re: onrushpam

                  unless it's very white, firm and thick....I do not remove it. If I were doing cubes for kabobs, i would do so, but when you make 1/4 inch slices of meat, I really do not think there will be much to chew about to make it unpleasant....If you don't think it's much trouble to do so...then it certainly will not hurt to remove it...It's more appropriate to remove the noticeable silverskin to allow any seasoning or aromatics to penetrate the meat, but from a practical viewpoint it's not necessary.

                  While reading the thread over, you expressed concern about the meat having little fat and worry about the meat being dry. The beauty of the low and slow approach is that it is basically hands free, no fuss and no muss....the low temperature ensures the meat will not dry out.

                  You prepare
                  You place in the oven
                  You wait
                  You eat.....

                  It's really not much more than that.

            2. re: fourunder

              "With regards to Harter's guidelines, it's a tried and true traditional method for roasting lamb, however, most would not consider it the low and slow approach"

              Correct - it is not "low & slow". I generally don't prefer the results of "low & slow" over the traditional "sizzle" approach. I don't think I would ever use "low & slow" for leg, as it does not have the fat of, say, a shoulder roast. I would consider "low & slow" for shoulder and have cooked it that way - but I still prefer it cooked by a traditional approach. But then I'm happy to accept that I prefer a traditional approach to my home cooking.

              1. re: Harters

                Thanks so much you two! Decisions, decisions... which method to use? i have a few hours to decide. :-)

            3. I get lamb legs with the bone intact. But then I love it so much I don't put many seasonings on it, maybe oregano, salt, pepper, rosemary, or a combo.
              Especially if it's a young one, they don't have much fat and they aren't very big. Could you bard it with strips of some kind of fat? I'm guessing it's for easter, so probably too late. If it was me, i'd anoint the inside with olive or walnut oil, salt, pepper, oregano and rosemary, and then roll it up, tie it with twine and do the same to the outside. I'd try to minimize the fact that it was dissected by rolling it to keep the inside rarer than the outside.
              BTW , my mother once marinated a leg of lamb so long that it tasted like sauerbraten. She thougth it was great, I thought it was a sacrilege.