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Lamb - Tips, Advice & Cooking Times

Lamb - Tips, Advice & Cooking Times

Buying Lamb - Joints to choose: Leg, Shoulder, or Saddle (double loin).

Weight  - A 4 to 5lb (1.8 to 2kg) joint on the bone gives 6 to 8 good portions. Allow slightly more
for saddle, due to the amount of bone.

Adding Extra Flavour to Lamb - Flavour the lamb by inserting a few slivers of garlic under the skin before cooking or brush the half cooked meat with a little honey and sprinkle with rosemary then finish cooking.

Accompaniments -  Mint Sauce or Jelly or Red Wine and Cranberry Sauce

There are many different ways to cook Lamb, here are a few ways we recommend to make sure you get the most out of your meat: 


  • Roasting at high heat for the entire cooking time maximises the brown crusty surface, but this method shouldn't be used on large pieces of lamb because the surface will dry out and may burn before the interior is done. Top tip! A piece of lamb on the bone will cook more quickly than
    one without.
  • Roasting at moderate heat maximises juiciness and minimises shrinkage. Leg roasts are often cooked this way.
  • An alternative method for roasting lamb is to begin with a temperature of 220ºc - 230ºc for an initial 10 - 15 minutes to brown the meat and then continue cooking at 160ºc to the desired doneness.
  • To prevent lean cuts from drying out while cooking, the meat may be rubbed with oil prior to roasting and/or basted with pan juices during roasting.
  • The only reliable guide for making sure that a lamb roast has reached a particular stage of doneness, is with the use of an accurate meat thermometer. The meat thermometer should be inserted into the meatiest part, not into fat or against a bone.

Cooking Temperatures for Lamb:

  • Rare: 48-54 °C Internal appearance very red; very moist with warm juices. Approximate cooking and resting time: 20-25 min./lb. plus 8-10 min. resting
  • Medium-rare: 54-60 °C Internal appearance lighter red; very moist with warm juices. Approximate cooking and resting time: 25-30 min./lb plus 8-10 min. resting
  • Medium - with a touch of pink: 60-66 °C Internal appearance pink red colour; moist with clear pink juice. Approximate cooking and resting time: 30-35 min./lb. plus 8-10 min. resting
  • Well-done: 66-74 °C - Internal appearance no pink or red, slightly moist with clear juices. Approximate cooking and resting time: 35-40 min./lb. plus 8-10 min. resting


  • Meat for grilling should be tender, fairly lean, and not too thick, since it needs to cook quickly. Lamb cuts that are good choices for grilling or broiling include chops, kebabs, and lamb burgers.
  • When grilling thinner cuts of lamb can be closer to the heat source than thicker cuts, since the thicker cut will require more time to cook.
  • If a thicker cut of lamb is too close to the heat source, the surface will char before the interior is cooked to the proper degree of doneness.
  • The meat should be turned when it's half-done, using tongs to avoid puncturing the meat.


  • Lamb for sauteing should be tender and not more than an inch thick.
  • When sauteing lamb, it is important that the meat surface is dry so that when it is placed into the pan, it browns rather than steams.
  • When sauteing, the pan should not be crowded; cook in small batches if necessary.

Carving Lamb -

  • Leg and Shoulder: Carve slices downwards on rounded side, then carve underside horizontally.
  • Loin: Carve between the bones.

General Safety and Handling

  • Make sure that lamb is among the last items selected when shopping, so that it is without refrigeration for as short of time as possible.
  • Make sure that any juices from raw lamb do not come in contact with any other food items. Packaged raw lamb can be placed on a plate in the refrigerator to ensure that none of the juices drip onto any other food items in case that there is a leak in the package.
  • Frozen cuts of lamb should always be thawed in the refrigerator and never on the counter top.
  • Raw lamb that has been thawed should be used as soon as possible. It should never be refrozen because this increases the risk of food poisoning when the meat is finally used.
  • Lamb that has been minced, cut into chunks for stew or kebabs, or cut into strips for stir-fry is much more perishable than larger cuts of lamb. This is because there is more exposed surface area, which increases the risk for bacterial growth.
  • If lamb has been marinated, the marinade should be discarded because of its contact with the raw meat.
  • Do not allow lamb to reach room temperature before it is cooked, as this can promote the growth of harmful bacteria. Lamb, like most other meats, should be cooked as soon as possible after its removal from refrigeration.
  • Leftovers should be placed in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as the meal is over. Lamb should not be away from refrigeration longer than 2 hours after cooking. Cooked food left at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.
  • When eating outdoors, food should not be consumed that has been without refrigeration for more than an hour, especially in hot weather. Always have a cooler with ice handy.
  • Traditional guidelines state that lamb cooked very rare, rare, medium rare, or medium should have an internal temperature ranging between 46ºc to 62°c. With increased concern over bacteria that may be present in the internal portions of lamb, it is now recommended that whole lamb cuts be cooked to a final internal temperature (after resting) of not less than 62°c.

01698 328484

179 Main Street, Bellshill, ML4 1AH

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