If a restaurant has lamb on the menu, it’s a fair bet I’m going to order it. I love its distinctive but mild flavor in any form—chops, rack, ground. Even so, I’ve always been timid about making it at home, because I wasn’t sure how to cook lamb. Turns out, it’s easy.
“Think about it as if you were cooking beef,” says Adam Moore, corporate chef for True Aussie Beef & Lamb, who led a virtual cooking class I recently attended.
Cuts like T-bone or shoulder chops can be cooked or grilled just like a regular steak, Moore says. “[Lamb] is usually just a little bit smaller, so the cooking times might be a little quicker, but steaks are steaks.” For legs or shanks, Moore recommends low-and-slow cooking methods to make them more tender. Ground lamb can be directly substituted in any recipe calling for ground beef.
Here are Moore’s tips for cooking lamb like a pro.
The Sweet Spot.
Aim for medium-rare to medium doneness. “I always err on the side of less is more,” Moore says.
If you’re using a meat thermometer, cook the lamb to 130 degrees and then let it rest, which allows the juices to suck back up into the meat and the internal temperature to rise to about 140 degrees.
Not So Tough.
To avoid toughness, aim for a higher-quality cut of meat and avoid overcooking it. Australian lamb, as it comes over on a boat, experiences wet aging in a Cryopak, which simultaneously keeps it fresh and tenderizes it.
If you’re cooking for one, cut a rack of lamb into individual chops and then roast as needed. Each chop takes only three to four minutes.
Make It a Mix.
If your family is unsure about lamb, introduce it by mixing ground beef and ground lamb to make lamb burgers or meatballs.
’Tis the Season.
“Don’t be afraid about going overboard with seasoning,” Moore says. “My rule of thumb with whole cuts is to season a little more than you think you need. It’s hard to overseason.”
Try this delicious recipe: Parsley, Orange and Pecan Crusted Rack of Lamb