The Best Cut Of Lamb To Slow Cook, According To An Executive Chef

If you want to start cooking lamb at home, slow cooking is a good method to start with — after all, slow cooking is fairly hands-off while also ensuring that the meat turns out tender and flavorful. But what cut of lamb is best for slow cooking? To find out, Tasting Table spoke with an executive chef, Wissam Baki of Amal, a modern Lebanese restaurant in Miami, Florida.

When it comes to slow cooking lamb, Baki suggests the shoulder, leg, neck chops, or shanks. Baki explains, "These parts can sometimes be tougher and require additional cooking time. Slow cooking allows them to become more tender, soft, and juicy." If you want to try slow cooking one of these suggested cuts, Tasting Table has recipes for slow cooker leg of lamb, slow-braised lamb shanks, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder to get you started.

Meanwhile, there are a few cuts of lamb that Baki tends to avoid slow cooking, such as the tenderloin lean meat. Also, in some cases, he decides to cook the leg a different way even though it also works for slow cooking. Baki says, "I prefer to cook [them] in small portions, such as in steak or kebab cubes, for a fast and juicy result."

Should you slow cook the lamb bone-in or boneless?

Once you know what cut of lamb will work best in the slow cooker, there's another question to be addressed: do you slow cook the lamb cut bone-in or boneless? When Chef Wissam Maki slow cooks lamb, no matter the cut, he prefers bone-in.

Maki insists that slow cooking bone-in is a good practice, stating, "When you cook any kind of meat with the bone, you can expect more flavor, however it will require a longer cooking time." Cooking bone-in is also directly related to the Lebanese cuisine of Amal. He continues, "We typically cook the whole lamb, let it marinate for 12 hours to bring out the most flavor, and we also cook our lamb over charcoal for a smoky flavor."

However, he also notes that cooking boneless lamb takes less time and is easier to slice afterward. With this in mind, cooking it boneless may be preferred to anyone who is new to slow cooking lamb, at least for the first time, as you'll definitely want to try cooking bone-in at some point for the flavor benefit.