posted May 11, 2022
Smoked Lamb Shoulder
Smoked lamb shoulder is reminiscent of juicy and tender pulled pork, but with the delicate flavor of lamb. Once you top that shredded shoulder with my homemade lemon butter BBQ sauce, you won’t be able to stop eating!
Can You Smoke Lamb Shoulder?
One of the most frequent questions I get from readers and followers is if you can cook various foods. Personally, I think you can cook just about anything on a grill. So the answer is simple.
Yes! You can indeed smoke a lamb shoulder! If you’re a fan of lamb, this lamb shoulder is amazing for a BBQ dinner or weekend cookout.
The slow smoke imparts a lot of smoky BBQ flavor to the lamb, and the addition of my lemon butter BBQ sauce makes for a killer meal you won’t soon forget!
Smoked Lamb Shoulder
Lamb shoulders tend to be one of the fattier (albeit still relatively lean) cuts on the lamb. Most of the “gamey” flavor that people associate with lamb is found in the fat, so the shoulder definitely carries more of the funk than a leaner cut (like a loin chop).
The method of slow smoking, and then the balance of flavors you get from the bright and acidic lemon BBQ sauce really helps to create a whole bite that is completely irresistible!
My lemon butter BBQ sauce delivers the tangy punch of a North Carolina-style vinegar sauce, with the bright lemon flavor that lamb needs.
How to Smoke Lamb Shoulder
Once you’ve snagged yourself a lamb shoulder and you’re ready to dive into making this awesome meal, here are the basics on getting it to smoked perfection. For a full ingredients list and instructions, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Season. Snag yourself some Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub and season all sides of the meat. If you don’t have any Beef Rub on hand, you can season this with equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Smoke. With your smoker preheated to 250 degrees F, place the seasoned lamb on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke for around 4-5 hours or until the meat reaches 165-170 degrees F.
- Make the sauce. While the meat is smoking, scroll to the recipe card below and follow the instructions to make the lemon butter BBQ sauce.
- Wrap. Remove the lamb from the grill and wrap it in peach butcher paper. Place it back on the smoker and smoke until the internal temperature reaches a final temp of 200-204 degrees F.
- Rest. Take the lamb shoulder off the smoker. Rest for at least 1 hour.
- Shred and enjoy. Snag yourself some meat shredder claws and go to town shredding the meat. Serve topped with the BBQ sauce and some Homemade Coleslaw. Delicious!
How Long to Smoke Lamb Shoulder
Just like smoking a pork shoulder or pork butt, it will take a bit of time and patience to smoke lamb shoulder. Plan on around 6-8 hours to cook this lamb.
As with everything else you cook on a grill or smoker, the total cook time will often vary from meat to meat. There are many factors that affect how long it will take to smoke this lamb shoulder, so I recommend gauging the doneness by temperature instead of time.
Invest in a reliable meat thermometer and cook until the meat reaches 200-204 degrees F.
Tips for Smoking Lamb Shoulder
Here are some tips for making sure this lamb shoulder is cooked to fall apart perfection. If you happened to stumble upon a few tips of your own, be sure to drop them in the comments section below!
- Buy a bone-in shoulder if you can find one! This helps the roast cook more evenly, as well as keeping things moist.
- Check the label! Sometimes lamb shoulder is labeled as an arm roast. Both work well for this recipe. If you’ve got a leg of lamb, be sure to check out my smoked leg of lamb recipe. It’s a different process, but incredibly delicious!
- Make your BBQ sauce in advance. Your sauce will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge after you make it, so you can save some time and prep it a day or two before you smoke your lamb shoulder. I even believe the sauce tastes better the next day!
More Lamb Recipes
Calling all lamb lovers! If you can’t get enough of grilled or smoked lamb, check out these other delicious BBQ lamb recipes from Hey Grill Hey. They’re all unique and packed with flavors that are as awesome as you and your guests.
- Smoked Leg of Lamb
- Grilled Lamb Chops with a Honey Mint Marinade
- Smoked Rack of Lamb with a Curry Spice Rub
Smoked Lamb Shoulder Recipe
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Smoked Lamb Shoulder
- 4 pound lamb shoulder
- 2 Tablespoons Beef Rub (or equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
Lemon Butter BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat smoker to 250 degrees F with your favorite hardwood. I like a mild wood like alder, cherry, or maple for lamb.
- Season your lamb shoulder on all sides with the Beef BBQ Rub or equal parts Kosher salt and coarse black pepper.
- Place the lamb shoulder on the smoker, close the lid, and cook until the lamb is around 165-170 degrees F internal temperature. (about 4-5 hours).
- While the lamb smokes, prepare your BBQ sauce. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and whisk until combined. Don't bring the sauce to a boil, or you can cause your butter to separate. Transfer your sauce to a jar and set aside until ready to use. Refrigerate any leftover sauce for up to 2 weeks in a sealed jar.
- Once your lamb shoulder reaches 165 degrees F internal temperature, wrap tightly in unwaxed butcher paper and return to the smoker. Continue cooking until the internal temperature of the lamb reads 200-204 degrees F and your thermometer probe slides easily into the lamb.
- Remove your lamb shoulder from the smoker and allow to rest at room temperature for an hour, or in a warm oven or cooler if you need to rest for longer than an hour.
- Shred the rested lamb shoulder and top with the lemon butter BBQ sauce. Tastes amazing on a toasted bun topped with creamy coleslaw!
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