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How Long Does It Take To Cook A Boneless Leg Of Lamb?

How long does it take to cook a boneless leg of lamb? Until it's done… To begin, the cooking time will obviously vary depending on the size of the leg.

That can vary greatly, and a 1.5kg cut will be completed much faster than a 3kg one, all else being equal.

Then there's doneness. Do you prefer your leg medium-rare or well-done? That will make a significant difference in cooking time.

This leads us to the next point, which is the cooking method.

If you want a well-done boneless leg of lamb, cook it low and slow. Of course, you could simply roast it at a high temperature, but it will most likely come out tough and dry.

Braising, slow roasting or even sous vide cooking would be preferable. Which can take hours and hours (try sous vide for 20-ish hours at 68°C or a traditional braise at 90°C for 6-10 hours).

If you want medium-rare, or even medium-rare, a traditional dry, high-temperature roast can work if you let it rest long enough and cut it very thinly.

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Depending on size, I'd expect anywhere from half an hour to two hours at 170-ish °C to get the core temp to around 50°C, with it rising to the desired 54 during the quarter-to-half hour rest period at 30-50°C.

Leg of lamb, on the other hand, is a little tough for that, so I'd go with slow cooking here as well.

Sous vide (again, for 20-ish hours) at 54°C works well; however, my preferred method would be a slow roast at 80°C for however long it takes for the core temperature to reach 50°C, followed by an hour's rest at 54°C if I had the time.

Otherwise, I'd start it at 180°C for ten minutes or so, then drop it to 120 for another ten or twenty minutes, then let it go at 90-100 until the core temperature is up to 48-ish°C, then let it rest at around 50-ish°C until the core temperature reaches 54°C, which could realistically take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.

However, this technique will produce a poorer result than a long slow roast at lower temperatures.

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There will be more 'overcooked' meat on the outside, and it will most likely be tough and dry. If you're careful about temperature control, timing, and basting, it can work out fine, but it's a bit of a gamble.

Other methods necessitate specialized equipment not commonly seen in domestic settings (such as Delta-T cooking, which essentially means the oven will maintain a set temperature difference between the core temperature and cooking temperature, which is a thing on professional combination steamers), constant monitoring by a skilled craftsman (such as broiling on a charcoal grill), or an end result that isn't a traditional-ish roast, but it all boils down to meticulous tempering.

I always recommend going low and slow for domestic use. Household appliances don't hold temperature very well, and you don't want to be 100% on edge all the time when cooking at home, and low and slow cooking simply leaves a much larger margin for error.

If you want a traditional medium or medium-rare roast, you'll need (or really want) an instant-read thermometer (suitable meaning with a probe that can be stuck inside a roast). The one I always use at work is a 4€ digital affair from Amazon that works perfectly.

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At least once, that thing was (commercial) dishwasher safe, but I'm not about to let our dishwasher/kitchen porter make a habit of it.

Alternatively, you can do a lot of trial and error to gain enough experience to judge doneness by touch.

Sticking a metal skewer in and touching your lips is how I learned, and it's the least bad option — but getting it right takes practice, and the results will never be as precise or reliable as those from even a cheap instant-read thermometer.

Hey, we professionals tend to use thermometers for larger roasts, and we are in the best position to have acquired the necessary experience/skill.

There's no shame in using one, no matter what some dimwits stuck in the nineteenth century said.

Or simply braise it with some roasted vegetables and red wine. It's a completely different style, fully cooked (and then some), but tender and flavorful in its own right.

There's a lot of leeways, and you get a world-class sauce for free, which is always nice because everyone wants a lot of sauce with their roast, and faffing around with bones to make stock, reducing that for days, and so on, just to get enough decent jus is a major hassle.

Sure, the commercially made fonds-in-a-jar available at most well-stocked supermarkets around here are quite good, but not exactly cheap.

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A braised 'roast' will produce its own sauce...

Yeah, I went off on another tangent or five.

It takes as long as it takes to finish it the way you want it to, using the cooking technique you want to use. Sorry, but there isn't a more straightforward or useful answer to the question “how long does it take to cook a boneless leg of lamb”.

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