Spiced Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder Recipe

February 12, 2013 — 2 Comments

Confession: I only learnt how to cook Mexican 8 months ago. With the help of a sous chef from Puebla (South East of Mexico City), a passionate boss from Southern California, a few books and A LOT of trial and error, I now cook Mexican. This protein recipe is a culmination of flavours and techniques I have learnt over the past few months.


  • Dry Rub (tend to keep the ratio a secret, but you can buy rubs from specialty butchers as well): Cumin, coriander seed, dried thyme, Mexican oregano, bay leaves, smoked paprika, brown sugar, Maldon sea salt, dried morita chillies, dried guajillo chilles, dried chipotle chillies, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, black pepper
  • 2 whole lamb shoulders, bone in
  • 200mL orange juice
  • 100mL lime juice
  • 100mL apple cider vinegar
  • 200mL olive oil
  • 3 brown onions
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • 6 Guajillo chillies
  • 6 Morita chillies
  • 1 can of cheap Mexican beer (Tecate, Rio Bravo, etc)
  • Handful of Maldon sea salt


  1. Season the lamb with the dry rub and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  2. Blend the liquids with the garlic, onion, chillies and salt. Pour marinade over the lamb, and add the beer. Leave to marinade overnight.
  3. Next day, preferably over an open flamed grill, seal the shoulder 2 mins each side, and place in a deep baking tray or dutch oven. Heat up the marinade liquid and pour over the shoulder. Seal the tray well with aluminium foil (this is important, because it needs to be airtight to keep in the steam when cooking).
  4. Place in a 150*C oven for 5 hours.
  5. Once out, let rest for 20 minutes. The bone should just slide off.
  6. Use forks to shred the meat, but not too fine; keep some chunky bits for texture.
  7. Serve on anything; tacos or nachos, rice and beans… Shown below I served it on a hard shell taco with chipotle mayo, two kinds of cheese and pickled cabbage (homage to the “Mexican food” that I grew up with. Obviously, I can’t serve it in this way when my sous chef is working; it offends her.)


If you’d like to be more traditional with this recipe, you can wrap the shoulder in banana leaves to cook, but I find if you’re cooking at home and and not slow roasting it outside, it doesn’t make much of a difference to flavour.

Apologise for bad photo editing, first time using Lightroom. I get paid to make good food, not take and edit photos – this is a hobby; will happily exchange cooking lessons for photo editing lessons.

If you’re wondering where to source Mexican ingredients from, Add to Cart.

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2 responses to Spiced Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder Recipe


    12 cloves of garlic! woah! The Hungry Dad would *love* this.


    ive been looking for a nice lamb shoulder recipe for a while, bookmarked and will defs give this a try!

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