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Lamb Shoulder: Tips & Techniques


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Unfortunately I don't think I can bone this thing (unless I cut it into small pieces or chops.)  It seems to be the upper part of the shoulder with more than a few ribs.  Am I better off roasting this as a whole or attempting to make chops out of it?

Lamb shoulder roasts are hard to debone. They contain part of the neck/backbone, a few ribs, a blade and ball joint. We use this cut for shish kabobs and use the bones to make stock for cooking stuffed grapeleaves.

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Unfortunately I don't think I can bone this thing (unless I cut it into small pieces or chops.)  It seems to be the upper part of the shoulder with more than a few ribs.  Am I better off roasting this as a whole or attempting to make chops out of it?

A whole roasted shoulder can be a wonderful thing. An easy and delicious way way to cook it would be as a mechoui, a Morrocan technique. Basically, take a shoulder on the bone, cut away the excess fat (leave at least 1/4 inch, though), and roast it (fattiest/skin side up) under foil in a moderate (350-375) oven for about an hour and a half, then rub with a profuse amount of butter, recover with foil and roast for another two hours, repeating the butter bit every 20 minutes or so. (You'll need at least a quarter of a pound of butter, more if you like to live dangerously.) When the meat is nearly done to your satisfaction (this particular dish works best when cooked to medium well) remove the foil and turn up the heat to 425 for about 10 minutes to crisp it up. When done, let it sit on a platter for five or ten minutes to rest. Serve with salt and freshly ground cumin.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Unfortunately I don't think I can bone this thing (unless I cut it into small pieces or chops.)  It seems to be the upper part of the shoulder with more than a few ribs.  Am I better off roasting this as a whole or attempting to make chops out of it?

You may want to excise the ribs, and treat the shoulder separately; if doing just the shoulder, it isn't pretty, but just follow the bone lines - the flat scapula, and the long bone - and you will clear the meat. I usually began by cutting midway the length of the scapula, which brings you to the ball and long bone. A flexible knife is really helpful, especially along the interior of the scapula, as you must bow the knife in the hollow to avoid losing a lot. My favorite way is to just bone it out, and marinate it overnight in (de-alcoholed/flamed) white wine, garlic, mirepoix and thyme. I then cover the inside with garlic, salt, pepper and (fresh) herbs de provence, gather the meat into a ballon, S & P the outside, sear, and braise on a bed of mirepox, with the marinade, a decent amount of romas, and a bit of orange zest, for 5-7 hours. "Gigot de sept heures," except it is "l'épaule de sept heures."

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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  • 8 months later...

I picked up a package of two "Lamb Shoulder Blade Chops". This is how it is described on the package. I was in the meat aisle thinking of what to buy and I hit the section where they kept the lamb. There were other types of cuts, but this was less expensive than the others. I can't eat pricey cuts every time I eat meat. :)

So, how to cook. Pan sauté? Is that a good method for this cut? Or will it be too tough. Should I braise them instead? I don't have any red wine on hand (the horror, I know).

Looking for some suggestions here. (grilling is not an option as I don't have a grill)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Jeff,

Shoulder chops are best cooked by searing on both sides followed by a short braise. Season and sear for 5 minutes a side. You may use aromatics, herbs, seasoning and braising liquids of your choice. They only need about 20 minutes of braising.

Tim

ps: I really like to use herbs, apples and ginger beer for the braise. You can reduce the braising liquid to a nice pan sauce.

Edited by tim (log)
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I've got some chicken stock.. Plus the stuff for miripoix.. I should have thought this out better at the grocery store.. I don't want to go back.

I DO have some apple juice, though. That might work in lieu of wine to deglaze.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I have never been too happy with lamb shoulder chops grilled or braised. Too much gristle, fat, and bones. But made into a curry, they are ideal. Just remove from the bones, braise with curry spices, finish with yogurt, and serve over basmati...

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I like to braise them until they hit the falling off the bone point, but Tim's probably right that they can reach done in 20 minutes.

If you have any dried chili peppers around, you can toss a whole one in with the braising liquid. It should give the liquid a nice, warm quality.

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I picked up a package of two "Lamb Shoulder Blade Chops". This is how it is described on the package.  I was in the meat aisle thinking of what to buy and I hit the section where they kept the lamb. There were other types of cuts, but this was less expensive than the others.  I can't eat pricey cuts every time I eat meat.  :)

So, how to cook.  Pan sauté?  Is that a good method for this cut?  Or will it be too tough.  Should I braise them instead?  I don't have any red wine on hand (the horror, I know).

Looking for some suggestions here.  (grilling is not an option as I don't have a grill)

I cut the fat,grissle(sp.) off and make the lean meat into a stew. The fat is not really tasty to me..

Bud

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James Beard has a recipe for Irish Stew which calls for lamb shoulder chops and for the very few ingredients it calls for, turns out to be amazingly good: potatoes, onions, thyme and parsley.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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well, they are braising away.. I had to make do with what I had. I'll see how it turns out. Next time I pick some up at the store, I'll be sure to have some more ingredients on hand. The curries sounds pretty good to me.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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We always throw them on the grill. I marinate them for an hour or two in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano or rosemary, s&p and have never had a problem with them being tough.

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We always throw them on the grill.  I marinate them for an hour or two in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano or rosemary, s&p and have never had a problem with them being tough.

I agree with Pam. They're great on the grill, but equally great fried in a very hot pan very quickly. It is essential to cook them quickly & to not over cook them.

We did 30 of them for a hamlet party here in France the other day. Our French friends loved them. They were very tender.

whole shoulder is even better.

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Cf. this post (#197). Just made this tonight and for the first time, I understood why so many culinary professionals declare a preference for this particular cut.

ETA: Just read other posts. Yes, they're loved cooked quickly, too. Scottadito. Greek style.

However, don't dismiss long cooking methods. I remember being skeptical about something prepared last winter. Shoulder, after all, is used for a number of Mediterranean stews.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Usually with this cut I find that both the texture and the flavor are improved by an overnight marination in the fridge in a yogurt/lemon juice/honey/mint/black pepper marinade.

Grill them quickly over high heat and you might find that even people who don't like lamb like it this way. :smile:

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  • 7 months later...

I found shoulder chops at the Giant this afternoon for $3.99/lb (vs. $4.79/lb for bone-in leg), so I bought a couple. I should have asked the butcher if they had whole shoulder.

Anyway, the shoulder is a cut best suited for slow-roasting or braises, right? How should I cook the chops?

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I found shoulder chops at the Giant this afternoon for $3.99/lb (vs. $4.79/lb for bone-in leg), so I bought a couple. I should have asked the butcher if they had whole shoulder.

Anyway, the shoulder is a cut best suited for slow-roasting or braises, right? How should I cook the chops?

Personally, I like to braise them in standard mirepoix/broth/wine.

Or, I marinate (lots of different marinades work well- tandoori, lemon and fresh herbs, pomegranate molasses and thyme, etc.) and sear over relatively high heat to medium (the meat is slightly chewy but very flavorful by the this method).

I wonder what it's like working with a whole shoulder? Chatting with a butcher the other day, he mentioned there's a lot of rimming to get shoulder chops from a whole shoulder. Since in my market, the whole shoulder and shoulder chops are the same price, he advised me to just buy the chops unless I wanted the little bits for sausage-making, etc.

Edited by Sony (log)
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Thanks, Sony. I'll probably try a marinate and pan-sear method

I would cook shoulder slowly whether it's whole or as chops. It's nowhere near as tender as loin or leg. With your chops i would braise it Lancashire hotpot style. Whole shoulder is imo the best roasting joint there is. As long as you cook it low and slow for at least 3hrs it's absolutely foolproofly delicious.

Maggie, I feel your pain - even as I drizzle a little mint sauce on my leftovers.

Ha, mint sauce with lamb. Definitely a British thing, the French laugh at us all they like, it just works.

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