You wouldn’t be alone if you’ve ever had a tough, overly fatty, and all too gamey lamb experience. Many think they hate lamb because they’ve just had one too many terrible tastings. The good news is that lamb is naturally flavorful, juicy, and velvety—it’s all about how you cook it. Though it may seem intimidating at first, a leg of lamb is actually the easiest cut to work with because it’s the most naturally tender cut. Let’s review the most common mistakes people make when cooking a leg of lamb if you’re feeling cautious about giving it another chance, giving you the best shot at a delicious experience.
Cooking It When Its Too Cold
A leg of lamb is a particularly large and thick cut of meat. The center is going to be colder than the exterior when you take it out of the fridge and cook it immediately. You may think you must cook the outside longer to bring up the internal temperature. However, this adjustment often results in unevenly cooked meat with a cold, chewy inside and a tough, burnt outside. Instead, let the lamb come to room temperature for about an hour or two, so you have a much easier time cooking the meat evenly.
Over and Undercooking It
Both undercooking and overcooking are common mistakes people make when cooking a leg of lamb. Often, people overcook lamb due to the fear of undercooking the inside or to avoid a tough, dry exterior. You’ll notice the outside is a golden brown color with a little bit of charring and a pale pink center when you cook lamb just right. Just because you see a tinge of red doesn’t mean you undercooked it and risk getting sick. The internal temperature for a medium-well leg of lamb should be about 135°F to 140°F.
Marinating It Too Long
The marination process is meant to infuse flavor into and moisten the meat, keeping it soft and tender. However, a leg of lamb is naturally tender due to the fat content that renders during cooking. Marinating your lamb for too long can break down the proteins, resulting in mushy, soggy meat that falls apart too quickly. Don’t let the meat marinate for more than 24 hours if you’re using acidic ingredients. Stick to aromatics like garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage to flavor your meat if this is your first time preparing it.
At Vincent’s Meat Market, we understand that it can be intimidating to work with a new cut of meat. That’s why we’re dedicated to making it easy for you to cook a delicious dinner. We have legs of lamb for sale that we’ll pre-season and de-bone for you so you can throw it in the oven, follow the instructions, and create a simple, delectable meal to remember.