Slow Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Lamb Shoulder

Lamb shoulder is cheaper, juicier and easier to roast than leg. Infused with rosemary garlic flavours, this is not the sort of roast for carving, just pull the meat off with tongs!


  • 3.5 lb / 1.8kg lamb shoulder (bone in) (Note 1)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 onion, quartered (no need to peel)

  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally

  • 3 garlic cloves, cut into slivers

  • 8 sprigs rosemary

  • 1 cup / 250ml water


  • 2 tbsp flour

  • 2 cups / 500 ml beef broth (or 1 cup red wine + 1 cup water)

  • Salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 220C/425F (fan forced/convection) / 240C/465F (standard).

  • Rub the lamb with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

  • Use a thin, sharp knife to make 12 incisions in the lamb, deep as you can but without piercing through the bottom of the lamb.

  • Stuff bits of rosemary and garlic slivers into the holes (chopstick helpful!)

  • Place the onion, halved garlic bulb and rosemary in the base of a roasting pan. Place the lamb on top. Pour water around.

  • Cover with lid or tightly with a double layer of foil. Place in the oven, and TURN DOWN to 160C/320F (fan forced / convection) or 180C/350F (standard).

  • Roast, covered, for 3 hours.

  • Remove foil, turn up the oven to 220C/425F and roast for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until the skin is browned and crisp. By now, you should be able to part the meat with two forks.

  • Remove lamb from the roasting pan and transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil then a couple of tea towels and let it rest for at least 20 minutes, up to a couple of hours (after this, you may want to reheat). Serve with gravy.


  • Tilt the pan and use a spoon to remove all but around 2 tbsp of fat (try to avoid scooping out any juices).

  • Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium high heat. Add the flour and stir to mix in with the fat. Cook for 30 seconds. 

  • Add the stock gradually and stir to combine. Use a potato masher to mash the onion and garlic, making sure that all the garlic squeezes out of the skin. 

  • Allow it to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until it is just before your desired consistency (it will thicken a bit as it cools), then remove from the stove. Season to taste with salt and pepper, strain into bowl being sure to squeeze all juices out of garlic etc, then transfer into gravy jug.


1. This method of slow roasting is not suitable for lamb leg. It must be made using lamb shoulder which is a tougher and fattier cut of meat.

2. You'll need to adjust the cooking time for larger pieces of meat. As a guide, add about 30 minutes for each extra 2 lb/1 kg.

3. If you are making the Truly Crunchy Roast Potatoes, place the pan with oil in it in the shelf beneath the roast at step 8 i.e. when the lamb is being browned. Refer to separate recipe for full instructions.

4. Servings - a 1.5kg/3lb lamb shoulder yields about 700g/1.4lb of meat once cooked. This is because the meat shrinks while cooking, there's a giant bone running through the middle and a thick layer of fat on the surface that mostly melts. I find that a shoulder of that size serves about 4 people. Maybe

5 (not in my family!).5. Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder nutrition per serving. This does not take into account the fat discarded before making the gravy and also assumes that all the gravy is used.