Lamb Leg Versus Lamb Shoulder - How to BBQ each

Smoked Lamb Shoulder versus Lamb Leg : A Step-by-Step Guide

Lamb is a delicious and versatile meat that is perfect for cooking on a BBQ. Whether you're using a smoker or a grill, there are a few key things you should know about cooking lamb in order to get the most flavor and tenderness out of your cuts.

In this guide, we will take a look at two popular cuts of lamb: the shoulder and the leg. While these cuts come from the same animal, they require different preparation and cooking methods to achieve the best results. We've got a great video on YouTube show how to prep and bbq both cuts.

Comparison of a lamb leg and a lamb shoulder

Left: Lamb Leg, Right: Lamb Shoulder 

The Lamb Shoulder

The shoulder is the primal cut that includes the upper front leg and the shoulder blade. Because these muscles get a lot of exercise, the meat is tougher and but tends to have more flavor than the loin or hind leg.

It also has more connective tissue, veins of fat, and depending on how your butcher prepares it it may have a lot of bones is it could include the ribs and the neck.

This one's we've used for the video and this blog is a super market bought shoulder and is really clean with really just the shoulder blade so it has a lot less bones. Now as I mentioned a lamb’s shoulder is full of flavor and to maximize that flavor, we are going to cook it on the bone over a slightly lower heat than the leg but for a lot longer so the meat simply falls apart to make tasty pulled lamb. For this cook we will be using our Traeger Pellet Grill.

To prepare the shoulder, start by seasoning it with your favourite BBQ rubs. We recommend using a combination of Four Monkeys BBQ Lamb and Home Base Rubs.

Lamb shoulder seasoned in Four Monkeys Lamb and Home Base Rubs

Next, place the shoulder on the grill or smoker and cook it over a low heat for several hours, or until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.

Lamb shoulder smoking in a Traeger Pellet Smoker

The Leg of Lamb

Like the shoulders, the legs of a lamb work hard however it's not as fatty as a lamb shoulder. Because it has a lot less connective tissue A Leg of lamb can be prepared two ways, either deboned and butterflied or kept on the bone and roasted. We prefer the roasted whole on the bone, although a butterfly version will cook slightly faster. In order to keep the leg moist and juicy we cook this at a higher temp for a shorter period of time and in the video of this cook we to show you how to get the best results using the traditional webber kettle.

Lamb leg cooking on a Weber Kettle BBQ

To prepare the leg, start by seasoning it with your favorite herbs and spices. We recommend using our Boars Night Out x Butchers Axe Lamb Leg Bundle or a  combination of thyme, lemon zest, and sea salt.

Next, place the leg on the grill or smoker and cook it over a high heat for about 20-30 minutes per pound or until the meat is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Final Results

Pulled lamb shoulder, smoked to perfection

When cooking lamb, the key is to pay attention to the temperature and the timing. The shoulder requires a lower heat and a longer cooking time, while the leg requires a higher heat and a shorter cooking time. By following these guidelines and experimenting with different herbs and spices, you will be able to create a delicious and tender lamb that is sure to please your family and guests.

For more details on how to cook either of the great cuts of lamb, be sure to watch our indepth video Lamb Shoulder and Leg smoked to perfection, a step by step BBQ guide.

In conclusion, cooking lamb on your BBQ is an easy and delicious way to enjoy this versatile meat. By understanding the differences between the shoulder and the leg and using the right preparation and cooking techniques, you can achieve the perfect results every time. So fire up your smoker or grill and get ready to enjoy some delicious lamb!

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