Smoked Lamb Shoulder Roast
First off, I’d like to offer this Smoked Lamb Shoulder Roast my most sincere apologies. The poor thing: I was totally unable to picture it right and give you guys a sense and feel of how IN-SANE-LY delicious and moist and tender and juicy and TASTY this roast really was. Not one single picture that I took even came close to doing it justice. I think it’s because the meat got so dark from all the delicious smoke that enveloped the roast and circled around it for hours as it slowly infused with its delicious aroma. Plus, the sun was so bright and shiny that day for a change, it made it really hard for me to take decent picture of the different steps.
I think I need to go to school and learn how to make proper use of my camera once and for all. If only so I never again portray such a worthy piece of meat with so little respect for its honor.
The thing is, you see, I HAD to share the recipe with you regardless because frankly, I think your life will not be complete until you’ve had a taste of this Smoked Lamb Shoulder. To be honest, the thought of smoking lamb would’ve never occurred to me, had it not been for someone mentioning it in a comment after I shared my post on how to make your own Smoked Bacon at home.
OH MY GOODNESS this thing is so good; I think I want to eat nothing but this for the rest of my life. Needless to say I WILL be making it again, so next time I think I’ll try and snap better pictures so I can give you a more accurate idea of what’s in store for you should you decide that you too, need this in your life.
In the meantime, we can still make do with what we have…
The very first thing you need to do is soak the wood chips so they don’t instantly burn on you when you subject them to the heat of the grill. What we’re after is slow, steady smoke. We’re not trying to do a smoke show that’ll impress the entire neighborhood (mind you, I can guarantee that all your neighbors will get very envious, and hungry, when their nostrils catch a whiff of the amazing smoky aroma that emanates from your backyard!).
So at least an hour prior to smoking your lamb, you’ll want to put about 4 cups of wood chips to soak in water. I chose to use cherry, but feel free to use any other essence that you think would be a good fit.
Once the wood chips are good and damp, remove the netting from around your roast, rinse it under cold running water and pat it real dry. Then, lay it flat on a cutting board and make several deep incisions throughout the roast with a sharp paring knife. Insert pieces of fresh rosemary into those incisions. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
If certain parts of your roast are a bit too thick to lay nice and flat, don’t be afraid to simply slice through them vertically with a sharp knife. Just be careful not to cut all the way through.
Preheat your outdoor grill to 225°F. Turning on a single burner on the lowest setting should do the trick. [ I think my camera needed sunglasses here…]
While the grill is preheating, make 8 wood chip pouches. See this post for detailed instructions on how to make the wood chip pouches
Lift the grill that’s right above the lit element and place 2 pouches directly on the heat source. Close the lid and wait until smoke starts to come out of the pouches. Now place your lamb roast on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.
Smoke the meat for about 6 hours, replacing the pouches with 2 fresh ones every 90 minutes or so.
Try and keep the heat inside your grill as stable as possible, at around 225°F. Note that it’s not necessary to get huge amounts of smoke in order to get good flavor from it. However, if you feel you are not getting enough, feel free to add more dry chips to your foil pouches, or place an aluminum container with a handful of dry chips on the heat source, next to your existing foil pouches.
After the lamb has smoked for 6 hours, remove it from the grill and wrap it in aluminum foil. You may want to use a double layer to make sure none of the precious cooking juices escape. Plus, you want to keep as much moisture as possible inside that foil.
Place the roast back on the grill and crank up the heat to 350°F. (Hmpft. Extremely boring photo alert! I need to come up with a better, more artistic way to portray a bunch of aluminum foil on an outdoor grill…)
Cook for an additional 90 minutes, or until the meat gets real tender and can easily be pulled with a fork.
Now remove the roast from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. (Haha! Here’s a picture that’s almost fit for a “can you guess what this is?” trivia… Ahem, just in case you’re not sure, that would my roast after it was done cooking and I opened the foil to check if it was ready. Okay, don’t make fun. Please. Thank you!)
Look past the strangeness. Can you see all the beautiful cooking juices at the bottom of this foil? By all means, do not throw that out. You wouldn’t believe the amount of flavor that’s in there. Save them to serve with the meat!
Transfer your roast to a service plate, carve and serve.
In case you’re wondering, I chose to serve mine with some of the Brussels Sprouts and Anjou Pear Salad that I’d just made; it was an EXCELLENT match!
And of course, I poured some of those delicious cooking juices all over my pieces of meat.
I can’t even begin to tell you how good this was. You’re looking at meat that’s just as tender as if it had been slowly braised all day, but that also offers strong notes of delicious, woody smokiness.
Plus, as an added bonus, you get to smell its intoxicating aroma all day as the volutes of smoke regularly escape from your outdoor grill and sneak into your home (and that of your neighbors) through any and all opening it can find.
Seriously… don’t be surprised if one of your closest neighbors comes knocking at your door, begging for a little taste: an odor this good is hard to resist.
I doubt you’ll be willing to share, though: a flavor this great is hard to let go…
Smoked Lamb Shoulder Roast
- 2.25 kg 5lb boneless lamb shoulder
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Himalayan salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- About 6 cups cherry wood chips
- Put 4 cups of wood chips to soak in water for at least one hour prior to smoking your lamb.
- Remove the netting from around your lamb shoulder roast, rinse it under cold running water and pat it real dry. Lay it flat on a cutting board (slice open the thicker parts if necessary) and make several deep incisions throughout the roast with a paring knife. Insert pieces of fresh rosemary into those incisions. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Preheat your outdoor grill to 225°F. Turning on a single burner on the lowest setting should do the trick.
- Make 8 wood chip pouches. For each pouch, cut out a 12” x 24”piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (double that up if using lighter foil) and place about half a cup of wet wood chips on one end of the foil. Add a handful of dry chips to that, then fold the foil over the wood chips. Fold all four edges toward the center at least twice, then poke holes on the top and bottom of the pouch with a fork or other sharp object.
- Lift the grill that’s above the lit element and place 2 pouches directly on the heat source. Close the lid and wait until smoke starts to come out of the pouches.
- Place your lamb roast on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid.
- Smoke the meat for about 6 hours, replacing the pouches with 2 fresh ones every 90 minutes or so. If necessary, crank up the heat under the new pouch until smoke starts to come out then bring the heat back down to low.
- Try and keep the heat inside your grill as stable as possible, at around 225°F. Note that it’s not necessary to get huge amounts of smoke in order to get good flavor from it. However, if you feel you are not getting enough, feel free to add more dry chips to your foil pouches, or place an aluminum container with a handful of dry chips next to your existing foil pouches.
- After the lamb has smoked for 6 hours, remove it from the grill and wrap it in aluminum foil. Use a double layer to make sure none of the cooking juices leak out. You want to preserve moisture in this time.
- Place it back on the grill and crank up the heat to 350°F. Cook the meat for an additional 90 minutes, or until the meat gets real tender and can easily be pulled with a fork.
- Remove the roast from the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes, then carve and serve drizzled with some of the cooking juices.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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4 Comments on “Smoked Lamb Shoulder Roast”
I was so excited (you know what I went through to get back on your site) to get to this recipe only to discover I need a grill. Since I do not have one and will be moving to a 2nd flr apt at the end of the month with no outdoor space, I was wondering, is there a way to do this without a grill? If not, I will see if I can use a neighbor’s grill.
I really can’t wait to taste this!
Smoking in an oven can be done, Beth, but it’s fairly complicated and your apartment will smell smoky for weeks! I strongly suggest you borrow your neighbor’s grill! 😉
Brilliant article. I tried this and it worked out almost perfect. I say almost because I used hickory and don’t think it was the perfect match. Do you think cherry is the perfect companion for a leg of lamb?
Cherry, or maple! I tend to agree about hickory not being the best match…