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Should You Bring A Roast To Room Temperature Before Cooking

Get all the prep tips and cooking times you need to roast lamb that’s crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. We’ll share tips on how to choose the right cuts of lamb, how to season it and the ideal cooking times and temperatures.


Choose the right cuts

The leg and rack are the most tender cuts of meat in a lamb and are at their best when roasted. Roasting is a “dry heat” cooking method, meaning that you don’t add any liquid to the meat as it cooks.

Tougher cuts of lamb, such as the shank and shoulder, are best for braising and stewing.

Leg of lamb

You can buy leg of lamb on the bone or boneless. A whole leg of lamb often includes the shank portion, but since the shank doesn’t handle the dry heat of roasting well, it’s best buy the leg without the stem. You can also purchase a half leg of lamb; the end of the thigh will be the most fleshy and tender.

Related:

  • Leg of lamb recipes

a lamb roast baked with rosemary on a white plate
Roast Leg of Lamb | Photo of The British Baker.
The British Baker

rack of lamb

Rack of lamb is the cut with ribs or ribs. This succulent roast is often served “French-style,” with the fat and meat trimmed between the ribs and the bones scraped and sticking outward. Your butcher should be able to prepare the roast for you; remember to ask for the meat trimmings if you want to make soup later. When two or more lamb chops are tied together to form a circular roast, it is called a crown roast.

Rack of lamb_R226039_Chef family meals
Meredith


How to season roast lamb

Lamb is flavorful enough on its own not to need much seasoning, yet robust enough to pair beautifully with any number of strong-flavored seasonings, such as rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, mint, and garlic.

How to season the lamb:

  • Trim off some of the excess fat and any silver leather;
  • Chop herbs/seasonings and rub the mixture evenly on the surface of the meat;
  • Wrap the breaded meat tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Another popular way to season a roast is to make small incisions on the surface of the meat and push garlic flakes and sprigs of herbs into the slits. You can do this right before you start roasting or a day before for a more intense flavor.

When you’re seasoning lamb, don’t salt it until just before cooking; salt can draw moisture out of the meat.

VIDEO: How to roast a mint-crusted rack of lamb

With this roast lamb recipe, there’s no need for mint jelly on the side because Chef John roasts mint flavor right in the crust! And instead of jelly, Chef John serves his rack of lamb with a slightly sweet vinaigrette. You’ll also get great advice on getting your lamb cooked evenly. See how it’s done!


Roast lamb: temperatures and times

Before roasting the lambremove it from the refrigerator e let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. A piece of meat at room temperature will roast more evenly.

Use a roasting rack to ensure even browning and heat circulation around the meat.

How to determine the ideal temperature and cooking time for lamb. The amount of fat your lamb has on the outside and marbled in the center will determine the cooking time and temperature:

  • Roasting Leaner Cuts in a Hotter Oven: A hot oven gets leaner cuts of meat nicely browned on the outside before they become overcooked and dry in the center. For a lean piece of beef, cook at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for the first 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) to continue roasting — the meat will take about 25 minutes per pound to reach medium rare.
  • Roasting fatter pieces of lamb longer and at lower temperatures: For a fatter piece of meat, roast at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for a longer period of time, allowing the fat to slowly melt away and bathe the roast in its own juices. Meat cooked this method will take about 30 minutes per pound to reach medium doneness.

The most accurate way to determine doneness is with a meat thermometer:

  • 110 degrees F (42 degrees C) is rare
  • 120 degrees F (58 degrees C) is medium to rare
  • 145 degrees F (68 degrees C) is medium to well

The USDA recommends roasts to be cooked to 145 degrees F. Avoid cooking lamb beyond this temperature as the meat can become dry and tough.

easy leg of lamb
Meredith


Rest your roast

Once the roast is within 10 degrees F (5 degrees C) of its ideal cooking temperature, remove it from the oven, place a foil tent loosely over it, and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. As the meat rests, the internal temperature will rise by several degrees, the muscle fibers will relax, and the juice that has come to the surface while cooking the meat will begin to return to the core. A well-rested piece of meat will be more tender and will hold its juices better when you slice it.


Get all the prep tips and cooking times you need to roast lamb that’s crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. We’ll share tips on how to choose the right cuts of lamb, how to season it and the ideal cooking times and temperatures.


Choose the right cuts

The leg and rack are the most tender cuts of meat in a lamb and are at their best when roasted. Roasting is a “dry heat” cooking method, meaning that you don’t add any liquid to the meat as it cooks.

Tougher cuts of lamb, such as the shank and shoulder, are best for braising and stewing.

Leg of lamb

You can buy leg of lamb on the bone or boneless. A whole leg of lamb often includes the shank portion, but since the shank doesn’t handle the dry heat of roasting well, it’s best buy the leg without the stem. You can also purchase a half leg of lamb; the end of the thigh will be the most fleshy and tender.

Related:

  • Leg of lamb recipes

a lamb roast baked with rosemary on a white plate
Roast Leg of Lamb | Photo of The British Baker.
The British Baker

rack of lamb

Rack of lamb is the cut with ribs or ribs. This succulent roast is often served “French-style,” with the fat and meat trimmed between the ribs and the bones scraped and sticking outward. Your butcher should be able to prepare the roast for you; remember to ask for the meat trimmings if you want to make soup later. When two or more lamb chops are tied together to form a circular roast, it is called a crown roast.

Rack of lamb_R226039_Chef family meals
Meredith


How to season roast lamb

Lamb is flavorful enough on its own not to need much seasoning, yet robust enough to pair beautifully with any number of strong-flavored seasonings, such as rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, mint, and garlic.

How to season the lamb:

  • Trim off some of the excess fat and any silver leather;
  • Chop herbs/seasonings and rub the mixture evenly on the surface of the meat;
  • Wrap the breaded meat tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Another popular way to season a roast is to make small incisions on the surface of the meat and push garlic flakes and sprigs of herbs into the slits. You can do this right before you start roasting or a day before for a more intense flavor.

When you’re seasoning lamb, don’t salt it until just before cooking; salt can draw moisture out of the meat.

VIDEO: How to roast a mint-crusted rack of lamb

With this roast lamb recipe, there’s no need for mint jelly on the side because Chef John roasts mint flavor right in the crust! And instead of jelly, Chef John serves his rack of lamb with a slightly sweet vinaigrette. You’ll also get great advice on getting your lamb cooked evenly. See how it’s done!


Roast lamb: temperatures and times

Before roasting the lambremove it from the refrigerator e let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. A piece of meat at room temperature will roast more evenly.

Use a roasting rack to ensure even browning and heat circulation around the meat.

How to determine the ideal temperature and cooking time for lamb. The amount of fat your lamb has on the outside and marbled in the center will determine the cooking time and temperature:

  • Roasting Leaner Cuts in a Hotter Oven: A hot oven gets leaner cuts of meat nicely browned on the outside before they become overcooked and dry in the center. For a lean piece of beef, cook at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for the first 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) to continue roasting — the meat will take about 25 minutes per pound to reach medium rare.
  • Roasting fatter pieces of lamb longer and at lower temperatures: For a fatter piece of meat, roast at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for a longer period of time, allowing the fat to slowly melt away and bathe the roast in its own juices. Meat cooked this method will take about 30 minutes per pound to reach medium doneness.

The most accurate way to determine doneness is with a meat thermometer:

  • 110 degrees F (42 degrees C) is rare
  • 120 degrees F (58 degrees C) is medium to rare
  • 145 degrees F (68 degrees C) is medium to well

The USDA recommends roasts to be cooked to 145 degrees F. Avoid cooking lamb beyond this temperature as the meat can become dry and tough.

easy leg of lamb
Meredith


Rest your roast

Once the roast is within 10 degrees F (5 degrees C) of its ideal cooking temperature, remove it from the oven, place a foil tent loosely over it, and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. As the meat rests, the internal temperature will rise by several degrees, the muscle fibers will relax, and the juice that has come to the surface while cooking the meat will begin to return to the core. A well-rested piece of meat will be more tender and will hold its juices better when you slice it.


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Should You Bring Meat to Room Temperature Before Cooking?

Should You Bring Meat to Room Temperature Before Cooking?
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