Slow-Roasted Lamb Shoulder


This perfectly-tender lamb roast is paired with a sweet and slightly sour sauce, providing a welcomed acidic balance to the rich meat.

Slow-roasted lamb shoulder is pulled out of the oven and served inside a blue dutch oven.
Photo: Antonis Achilleos
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 20 mins
6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar

  • 2 Freshly-ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed

  • 1 (3 ½-lb.) boneless lamb shoulder, tied with butcher’s twine

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, divided

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Stir together salt, sugar, pepper, and fennel in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over lamb. Place lamb in a large Dutch oven or other ovenproof heavy-bottomed pot and carefully pour in boiling water. Cover, transfer to oven, and bake until lamb is very tender, 3 to 3½ hours.

  2. Remove pot from oven and uncover. Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Stir brown sugar and ¼ cup of the vinegar into juices around the lamb and return to oven. Roast, uncovered, until lamb is browned and vinegar mixture begins to reduce, about 10 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning.

  3. Transfer lamb to a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer pot to stovetop and bring vinegar mixture to a boil over medium-high. Cook, occasionally spooning off and discarding fat from surface, until sauce reduces, about 5 minutes. (There should be about ⅔ cup sauce.) Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar.

  4. To serve, pull lamb shoulder apart into large pieces and place on a platter. Spoon sauce over top and garnish with parsley.

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