Lamb - Oven Roasts

Oven Roasts

A cut of lamb suitable for oven roasting is usually a minimum of 2 inches thick. If not overcooked, the dry heat of oven roasting enhances the flavor and tenderness of the lamb. The best oven roasts are from the tender cuts of the loin, rib, and leg. Shoulder cuts, which are usually best when braised, may be purchased as oven roasts if the cuts are from younger animals and are of the highest quality.

Blade Roast

The blade roast is cut from the shoulder blade section of the shoulder primal. Although it is best when braised, it can be successfully oven roasted if the meat is of the highest quality and it is not overcooked.

Saratoga Roll

This refers to a boneless center roast obtained from the blade portion of the shoulder and is also known as a chuck eye roast.

Arm Roast

The arm roast is cut from the upper arm section of the shoulder primal. Like the blade roast, it is often braised, but it can be roasted successfully if it is not overcooked.

Whole, Bone-In Shoulder Roast

One of the larger cuts of lamb, shoulder is very flavorful. Bone-in shoulder roast, also known as square-cut shoulder, can be used in a variety of recipes and is a more economical cut than leg of lamb. Although many cooks believe that a bone-in roast produces better flavor, the complex bone structure of the shoulder makes it difficult to carve. The roast can be purchased pre-sliced and tied to hold the shape, making carving unnecessary, but it must not be overcooked because it can dry out more easily than a roast that has not been presliced.

Whole, Boneless Shoulder Roast

Boned shoulder is usually rolled and tied to maintain its shape, if it is to be roasted. This is an ideal cut for stuffing.

Rib Roast or Rack of Lamb

A whole rib roast, or "rack of lamb" has seven or eight ribs. Although it may be roasted as is, it may also be "Frenched," or prepared with the upper ends of the rib bones trimmed (and often capped with decorative covers). One rack of lamb is usually large enough to serve three people. A rib roast is one of the most tender and juicy cuts of lamb and it is also one of the most expensive. Roasting is the best method for cooking a rib roast, but it should never be overcooked because it will lose some of its tenderness.

Crown Roast

Two or three racks of lamb can be combined end to end and then curved into a circle to make a Crown Roast. This is a special preparation of Rack of Lamb and may be available from some butchers without special ordering; or it can be created by the home cook. Be sure the chine bone has been cut through before attempting to create the crown roast.

Guard of Honor

The bone ends of two racks of lamb can be interlaced and then tied to form the Guard of Honor. Like the Crown Roast, this is a special preparation of Rack of Lamb and may be available from some butchers without special ordering; or it can be created by the home cook.

Loin Roast

The entire loin section may be left whole as a bone-in roast. It is not a large cut and should be cooked carefully to prevent overcooking and drying out.

Loin Eye Roast

This is a boneless cut which consists of the muscle that lies along the backbone. It makes an elegant, expensive roast but is quite small, usually not weighing more than two pounds. The loin eye roast is also known as the boneless loin roast, rolled lamb roast, or a loin roll.

Saddle of Lamb

This cut is a double loin roast, from both sides of the backbone. It does not contain a large quantity of meat, but the quality is unsurpassed, and it is easy to carve. The cut would probably need to be special-ordered from your butcher.

Whole Leg, Bone-in

The whole, bone-in leg can weigh from five to nine pounds and may be American style (no shank bone attached) or French style (shank bone left on).

Whole Leg, Boned

This cut makes a compact and tidy roast when rolled (with or without stuffing) and tied or netted to keep its shape. It may also be butterflied (so-called because the deboned, flattened leg resembles a butterfly's shape) for grilling.

Sirloin Half of Leg Roast, Bone-in

The sirloin (top of the leg, hip area) is meatier and more tender than the shank half and makes an excellent oven roast. It usually weighs 3 to 4 pounds.

Sirloin Half of Leg Roast, Boneless

The sirloin half of the rear leg, when boned and rolled, makes an ideal size (about two pounds) for four people.

Foresaddle of Lamb

This cut is the entire front half of the lamb carcass, from a lamb of about 20 pounds. It is usually stuffed and roasted.

Center Leg Roast

Cut from the center of the rear leg, the center leg roast contains a portion of the sirloin half and a portion of the shank half of the leg.

Baron of Lamb

This refers to the entire rear half of the lamb carcass, usually from a lamb of about 20 pounds. It is usually roasted.


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