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Slow Roast Lamb Shoulder - didn't work as expected


I am new to Pit cooking, but would normally cook a lamb shoulder in the oven at a low (130C/260F) for 4 or so hours.  It would normally come out meltingling soft ("pulled lamb") and carveable with a spoon.  I wouldn't normally use a thermometer to measure interior of meat, it always unfailingly works.

I tried to replicate in the Pit.  Went for temperature of 130C/260F.  Indirect. I read on a website to stop cooking when the internal temperature got to 78 C/170F. 

This took around 4 hours to get to that temperature so thought - all good!

However, it wasn't soft.  Perfectly edible (indeed, tasty), but needed to be sliced with a knife and didn't "pull".  so not quite what I wanted.

Any ideas why not?  I could have carried on but though the internal temp would get hotter and hotter and meat would dry out.

What would have happened if I had continued for another hour or so?

Thanks in advance from an Egg novice.



  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,782
    Never have cooked that protein, but given what you describe, I'm guessing you declared victory too soon.  The texture you described (pulled lamb) gets that way after a complete rendering of all the fat and connective tissue.  Not sure how fatty the meat was going in so I could be way off-base here.  
    But to get pulled pork or beef you have to cook until they probe like buttah, normally in the low 200's*F. FWIW-
    BTW-welcome aboard and continue to enjoy the journey you have embarked upon.  Wish I could be more definitive-I'm sure someone with more knowledge will be along.
    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 2,540
    Yep, generally to have meat that "pulls", you want to be around 200.
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,357
    But does lamb have a lot of collegen to melt at 200F?  A beef steak doesn't, which is why it's tender at 125F, but shoe leather at 200F.  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • buzd504buzd504 Posts: 2,540
    I would think a shoulder would, but I've never cooked one.
  • Yes, a shoulder I think would - it does "melt" when cooked in a conventional oven.

    Thanks, All, I should have persevered!

    Is there a recommended website for joints/internal temps chart.


  • Hans61Hans61 Posts: 3,414
    I'm guessing if the lamb "pulled" it had fat and connective tissue. Might want to get a grate thermometer, if you were going by dome temp it could have been 20 or so degrees less than you wanted. Welcome aboard! 
    “There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.”
    Coach Finstock Teen Wolf
  • AcnAcn Posts: 2,548
    Hans61 said:
    I'm guessing if the lamb "pulled" it had fat and connective tissue. Might want to get a grate thermometer, if you were going by dome temp it could have been 20 or so degrees less than you wanted. Welcome aboard! 
    I would bet this is the culprit - the difference between some and grate temps.  The lamb was probably cooking at 240-245, rather than 260.  Those results sound very similar to pork shoulder at those ITs, 170-180 you'll get very tasty sliced pork, but you need to take it north of 195 to get pulled pork.

    Next time I'd go by feel, when your thermometer slides in without resistance, it'll be pulled and delicious.


    Pikesville, MD

  • dldawes1dldawes1 Posts: 2,140
    TheManOnTheBus...First Welcome to the eggdiction !!!!

    Second....Thanks for posting. I've only egged rack of lamb once , and it came out perfect. I wondered what would happen if I let the IT raise higher, but I was afraid to try.

    I want to learn more about hopefully some more folks will jump in on your thread.

    Thanks again,


    Donnie Dawes - RNNL8 BBQ - Carrollton, KY  

    TWIN XLBGEs, 1-Beautiful wife, 1 XS Yorkie

    I'm keeping serious from now more joking around from me...Meatheads !! 

  • Thanks, all.  All good tips to a novice!  Sounds like I should have persevered and waited til IT got to 195 (rather than stop at 170). 

    Thanks for the welcome, Donnie. Shoulder of lamb is much fattier than Rack of Lamb.  (I am in the UK, and I know that US terminology can be different, but I assume we mean the same by "rack":  Whilst I am a novice at this type of cooking, Rack of Lamb would definitely be direct grill (served pink).

  • Darby_CrenshawDarby_Crenshaw Posts: 2,657
    You can also roast rack of lamb. Doesn't have to be direct grilled
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  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,020
    ive done pulled lamb from the leg which folks here said it wouldnt work, it does =) with that shoulder at 170 internal, you need to foil and continue the cook to 205/210 internal and adding a braising liquid doesnt hurt, it doesnt need much. (is there a braising liquid when you do it in the oven). im not a fan of pulled lamb and prefer it raw to rare but it does and will pull, it pulls more like pulled beef chuck
  • bigbadbenbigbadben Posts: 397
    I would check your oven temp with a thermometer. Many home ovens can be off my 50 F. That is the only thing I can think of to explain this. 

    experiment 2. 2 lamb shoulders. One inside, one outside. 

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