There's nothing quite like getting your hands into a slow cooked lamb shoulder and pulling it apart. There's little pockets of meaty goodness everywhere. You will find the process very similar to cooking/smoking a pork shoulder so similar methods apply. Lamb shoulder can be served with a large variety of sides and is great for sandwiches and salads the next day. Drizzling a little honey over your pulled lamb will take it to the next level.
The Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) is the perfect tool for smoking lamb shoulder. Once it's up and firing with a full ring of charcoal it will run for the entirety of the cook with no need to refuel. The only thing you will need to keep an eye on is the water pan. If the water in the pan evaporates the temperature inside the WSM will rise quickly. If you need to add water open the side door and using a squeezy (sauce) bottle filled with water and spray into the bowl.
- Lamb shoulder (they usually weigh around the 2.5kg mark)
- 2.5 tsp kosher salt for dry brining
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 tsp brown sugar
- 1.5 tsp dried rosemary leaves
- 1.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1.5 tsp paprika
- Sprinkle the Kosher salt over the lamb and leave covered in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours. Dry brining not only enhances flavour, it also enhances the moisture levels within the meat. For the scientific explanation you can read Meathead Goldwyn's explanation here.
- On the morning of the cook mix the remaining ingredients to create a rub and liberally cover all over the meat after a light slather of oil, mayo or mustard.
- Fire up your WSM, aiming for 300f/150c. Add the lamb and when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 195f/90c start to probe the shoulder with your digital thermometer. If the meat probes with little resistance then take it off, wrap it in foil and let it rest for at least an hour. Lamb shoulders can be stubborn things that's why you can run a little hotter at 300f/150c.
After the bark is well formed on a lamb shoulder (or pork shoulder, brisket etc) you have the option of wrapping the meat in foil or peach paper. The reasons and benefits behind wrapping are as follows...
- To avoid ‘the stall’. Most tough cuts of meat that require low and slow cooking will hit a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 160f/71c to 170f/77c and can sit at that temperature for hours. One way to avoid the stall is to wrap the meat in foil.
- To keep the meat moist. As well as being wrapped in the foil the meat is spritzed with a liquid such as apple juice, apple cider vinegar or even water.
The downside to wrapping is that the liquid and steam will soften the bark and potentially you will lose some of it so work carefully when wrapping and unwrapping.
Photos and recipe by Messy Benches. Visit www.messybenches.com