The Absolute Best Way To Cook A Leg Of Lamb

Lamb is a versatile protein. While sometimes deemed a polarizing meat option, it's arguably the single-most flavorful protein choice on its own volition, when all sauces and seasonings are stripped away (via Cook's Illustrated). With a perfect balance of gaminess and richness, lamb can make an ideal dish for a celebratory dinner or a Holiday get-together. 

Unsure how to go about cooking it? In most instances, lamb is purchased as either lamb chops, a rack of lamb or crown roast, or a leg of lamb. Individual lamb chops are actually quite a small amount of meat, while a leg or rack of lamb tends to be a piece that can often feed a large crowd. Other cuts, like shank, are ideal for braising. Allrecipes notes that when it comes to the leg, it can be purchased bone-in or boneless; boneless will have a slightly shorter cook-time than bone-in. Also, some legs of lamb don't contain the shank, which is a cut that tends to fare better in a moist-heat cooking method like braising, whereas the rest of the leg is best roasted.

While the ideal cooking method differs for each, there is one method that is the ideal choice when it comes to a leg of lamb.

How should I cook a leg of lamb?

As suggested by Allrecipes, leg of lamb should be roasted — and with its size, that's often the only available cooking method. Allrecipes states that roasting, perhaps the most-used "dry heat" cooking approach, is an ideal method when it comes to cooking the leg. As far as seasoning, any mix of herbs (mint, rosemary, parsley) and spices (coriander, garlic powder, or lemon zest), with oil or unsalted butter, is a great bet (per Better Homes & Gardens). The leg should be brought to room temperature before roasting, according to Better Homes & Gardens. Mix the herbs and spices together well, and once the lamb has been properly trimmed (all silverskin should be removed), rub the blend all over the lamb. Note that making a leg of lamb will require quite a bit of salt. As Allrecipes notes, though, don't salt the meat until you're about to place it in the oven. 

Lamb cooking times differ based on your proclivities (via Allrecipes and Better Homes & Gardens); someone who likes a rare piece of meat (about 110 F) will need to cook the lamb for much less time than someone who likes it well done (above 145 F). The pan drippings make a great gravy, too, as per Recipe Tin Eats.

Once done, don't forget to rest the leg for a bit after it's removed from the oven. Then slice and serve; we bet your guests will be very pleased.