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Lamb Shoulder Roast Recipes

Some of our favorites include: Mexican Birria and more!

Mexican Birria Recipe

This birria recipe is an iconic meat stew from the Mexican state of Jalisco of lamb, goat or beef cooked low and slow in a seasoned chili sauce. Serve it in a bowl or as birria tacos.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Marinating: 2 hours

Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Servings 6

Section 1: Ingredients

  • 5 ancho peppers stems and seeds removed

  • 5 guajillo peppers stems and seeds removed

  • 2-3 chiles de arbol optional, for spicier

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large white onion chopped

  • 3 large tomatoes chopped

  • 5 cloves garlic chopped

  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano

  • 1 tablespoon sea salt or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 large roasted tomatoes chopped

  • 4 cups beef stock separated

  • 3.5 pound lamb shoulder or you can use beef shank or chuck roast

Section 2: Directions

1. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the dried peppers. Dry toast them in the hot pan 1-2 minutes per side, until the skins darken.

2. Remove from heat and add the toasted peppers to a large bowl. Cover with hot water and steep 20 minutes, or until softened.

3. While the peppers are rehydrating, heat the olive oil in the same pan to medium heat.

4. Add the onion and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes to soften.

5. Add the garlic and cook another 1 minute, stirring.

6. Add the cooked onion, tomatoes and garlic to a food processor.

7. Remove the softened chilies and add to the food processor, but reserve the soaking liquid.

8. Add the seasonings to the food processor along with the vinegar and 1 cup beef stock. Process until smooth. It should be fairly thick. You can strain if you’d like for a smoother sauce. See the RECIPE NOTES below.

9. Cut the lamb (or beef) into large chunks and add to a large bowl.

10. Pour the birria sauce over them and rub it into the meat. Cover and marinate the meat in the refrigerator for 2 hours minimum. Overnight is better.

11. When you’re ready to cook, add the meat with all of the marinade, the chopped roasted tomatoes and remaining 3 cups beef broth to a large pot. Cover and cook at medium heat for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender and easy to shred. Add more beef stock or some of the reserved soaking liquid if needed for a soupier birria.

12. Serve the braised birria into bowls as a soup, or shred the meat and serve it up onto tortillas as birria tacos, with the reserved liquid consome from the pot as a side soup/broth.


Meat Options. You can make birria with many different cuts of meat. Use lamb meat, goat meat or beef. Lamb shoulder or lamb belly are hugely popular options.

For the cut of beef, use brisket, chuck roast or beef shank. Short ribs are great, too. You can realistically make this with any cut of meat, but the best are the tougher cuts that require low and slow cooking.

You'll get more flavor with bone-in meats.

Strain the Pepper Puree. For a much smoother sauce, strain it through a fine sieve to remove any lingering bits if needed.

Also, some people find the skins of anchos and guajillos to be slightly bitter, and straining can reduce this.

This recipe can easily be adapted for your slow cooker or Instant pot.

As tacos, the meat is shredded and served over warmed corn tortillas dipped in the braising liquid, with the consome in a small bowl on the side.

Leftover Lamb Curry

This leftover lamb curry recipe is simple, delicious, and a great way to enjoy leftovers from a Sunday roast. An unfussy British retro-style curry that has no fancy ingredients – the perfect week-night supper, and on the table in less than 30 minutes. 

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 2

Section 1: Ingredients

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

  • ½ onion

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 2 tsp curry powder

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp plain flour

  • 1/3 lb leftover roast lamb (diced into cubes)

  • 1 cup lamb or chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • salt and pepper

Section 2: Directions

1. Chop the onion, and fry for a couple of minutes, until just starting to turn translucent. Peel and crush the garlic, and add it to the onion. Cook for about another two minutes. Add the curry powder, turmeric, flour and lamb, and then stir well to make sure that the meat is coated.

2. Cook for at least two minutes more, until the spices are really fragrant, to make sure that the sauce won’t taste of flour.

3. Add a little of the stock, and stir in to make a smooth paste. Then slowly add the rest of the stock. This two-stage process is important, because it helps to avoid lumps in the sauce. 

4. Stir in the tomato puree. Cover, turn the heat right down and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with rice.


~ To avoid getting lumps in your sauce, add a small amount of the stock first to make a paste. Then add the rest of the liquid.

~ Add some chopped fresh tomatoes with the stock. Canned ones work too.

~ How about adding some cream or coconut cream, to create a rich and creamy sauce?

~ You could add some  roasted butternut squash.

~ Make your leftover lamb go further by adding some  chickpeas or other beans.

~ Slice some green and red peppers. Fry them and add just before the end of cooking.

Slow-Cooked Lamb Shoulder With Rosemary Garlic & Honey

This rosemary garlic and honey slow-cooked lamb shoulder is the most incredible lamb roast I’ve ever made! Succulent, fall-apart meat on the inside, crispy browned on the outside and with the most delicious, caramelised sauce. This lamb recipe is perfect for weekends, Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Servings: 5

Section 1: Ingredients

  • 3 pound lamb shoulder

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1.5 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 5 sprigs rosemary needles pulled off and chopped

  • 6-8 cloves garlic cut in halves lengthways

  • 2/3 cup red wine

  • 1 cup water

  • 4 tablespoons honey

Section 2: Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 356 F.

2. Pull the needles off the rosemary sprigs and chop them into small pieces. Cut the garlic cloves (lengthways) into 2-3 pieces each.

3. Place the lamb shoulder on a cutting board, meatier side up. Use a sharp knife to score the top with deep cuts (see photo).

4. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it in.

5. Sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chopped rosemary, rubbing everything into the meat cuts.

6. Insert garlic pieces in the cuts and any folds of the meat.

7. Add 1 cup of water and 2/3 cup of red wine to a deep roasting pan. Place the lamb shoulder inside, meatier side up. Cover with one piece of foil, tucking the edges close to the meat and with another piece of foil covering the edges of the pan. It's a double foil wrap.

8. Place in the preheated oven, middle shelf, and cook for about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

9. After 2 hours, remove from the oven and take off the foil. Scoop some of the juices from the pan and drizzle over the lamb meat. Then drizzle generously with honey, about 4 tablespoons, spreading it evenly over the meat. You don't need to turn the lamb shoulder over, just drizzle the top.

10. Pop back in the oven with no foil wrap and cook for another 30 minutes. I find this is long enough and the top of the meat will be well-browned and the honey caramelised. The liquid in the pan will reduce quite a bit, with the honey and lamb juices incorporated into the sauce and caramelised.

11. Remove from the oven and cover with foil for about 5-10 minutes to rest. Then use the spoon to scoop and drizzle the sauce in the pan over the lamb. Serve as is or carve the meat and serve in the pan sauce.

Slow Slow-roasted lamb Shoulder

This Juicy Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder recipe sure sounds fancy, but it is incredibly easy to make. Tender lamb dressed in a rich sun-dried tomato sauce and slow roasted in the oven.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes

Total Time 4 hours

Servings 8

Section 1: Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

  • 4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • ½ cup chopped, oil-packed sun dried tomatoes

  • ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves

  • ⅓ cup fresh parsley

  • 2 lemons, juiced

  • ¼ cup hot water

For the Lamb

  • 4 pound bone-in lamb shoulder

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into thick rings

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 cup water, (you can also use red wine or broth)

Section 2: Directions

1. Take the lamb shoulder out of the fridge 1 hour before you are ready to work with it.

2. Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

3. In a food processor or blender, combine worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, mint leaves, parsley, lemon juice, and hot water; pulse to make a chunky sauce. Set aside.

4. Place the lamb shoulder, fatty-side up, on a working surface, like a large cutting board. Using a sharp knife, make several slashes across the top and rub it with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

5. Coat the lamb with half of the prepared sauce. Keep the other half in the fridge until ready to serve the lamb.

6. Arrange the onion rings and smashed garlic on the base of a roasting pan.

7. Place the lamb shoulder over the top of the onions, fatty side up.

8. Pour 1 cup of water into the roasting pan and cover it with aluminum foil.

9. Put the pan in the oven and turn down the heat to 350˚F. Roast for 3 hours.

10. Remove the foil and increase the heat to 425˚F. Check to see if there’s any liquid in the pan; if not, add a cup of water.

11. Continue to roast for about 20 to 25 minutes or until browned on top, and the internal temperature of the lamb registers at 145˚F. Start checking internal temperature at around the 15-minute mark. When done, remove it from the oven.

12. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and loosely cover it with foil; let it rest for 20 minutes.

13. Drizzle it with the reserved sauce and serve.


~ Cooking Time Tip: For a shoulder under 3 pounds, reduce the roasting time by 20 minutes by covering it with foil. Aim for about 2 hours and 40 minutes to avoid drying out the meat.

~ Internal Temperature: Remove the lamb from the oven when it reaches a safe internal temperature of 145°F for minimum safety, 160°F for medium, or up to 170°F for well done. Use an Instant Read Meat Thermometer to ensure it’s cooked to your liking.

~ Keep in mind that a 4-pound bone-in lamb shoulder yields around 2 pounds of cooked meat. This is because the meat shrinks while cooking. Lamb shoulder has a thick layer of fat that will mostly melt, and a bone runs through the middle of the shoulder.

~ Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.



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