Slow Cooked Pulled Lamb shoulder

Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder

Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder is melt in the mouth fall off the bone deliciously juicy tender meat cooked at a very low temperature.  You can set the timer and leave it cook low and slow in the oven until nearly done.

My mother and aunts were experts at making roast leg of lamb and that is what usually graced our feasting tables. One day however, they broke that leg-o-lamb streak when Mummy Rachel cooked a whole lamb for a wedding.

Pulling lamb shoulder

My mom and I had spent the day working at her hair salon and we were late getting to the wedding of Aunty Norma’s only son Michael. The caterer at the wedding was doing a spitbraai for the guests and provided the salads and other braai sides. 

The food provided by the caterer was not halaal so Mummy Rachel made pot roast lamb in this huge 100 liter pot. When we entered the kitchen at the reception venue the smell of roasted lamb with garlic wafted on the air. I was salivating before I even saw it.

Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder with veg and salad

After she had finished making the platters to send out to guests, Mummy Rachel called me over and said she had something to show me. She opened the pot and it was that smell that came to greet me at the door earlier. She scooped out a hunk of the slow cooked lamb shoulder that was pulled off the bone and said ‘Taste this. If you like it, I’ll keep it for us’.

And so began my love affair with slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder. I suspect I ate more than my fill of that tender slow cooked pulled lamb that night and have never forgotten the aroma or the taste. Over the years I’ve cooked it in different ways but my favorite is still my mum’s simple slow cooked lamb roast flavoring of salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary.

Simone insisted that she wanted to make this for the blog for the Christmas recipes because she really loved it whenever I made it for them and hasn’t had it in a while.


Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder meal

How to make Slow Cooked Pulled Lamb shoulder

  • Lots of whole garlic cloves are placed into slits in the meat and studded with fresh rosemary leaves. 
  • The meat is browned on the stove top and then placed into a heavy baking tray with vegetables and meat.
  • Water or stock / broth is added and the baking tray is covered with a few sheets of aluminium foil.
  • The lamb shoulder roast is placed into a hot oven then the heat is turned down and it is left to cook slowly for 4-5 hours (depending on the weight of the roasting lamb) at a very low heat.
  • When the lamb is cooked, leave it to rest then pull apart the tender meat with two forks. This is much easier than trying to cut through all the bones (large and small).
  • Serve the slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder with a pan sauce, roast potatoes, sweet yellow rice and summer salad or quinoa salad for healthier options.

Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder close up

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Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder

Slow Cooked Pulled Lamb shoulder

Razena Schroeder
Slow cooked pulled lamb shoulder is melt in the mouth fall off the bone deliciously juicy tender meat cooked at a very low temperature. 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes
Course Main courses
Cuisine Cape Malay
Servings 8
Calories 276 kcal


  • 2 kg lamb shoulder (bone in)
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 sprigs rosemary
  • 250 grams brown onion, quartered approximately 1 large
  • 65 grams large carrot, peeled and halved
  • 10 ml salt; adjust to taste approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 5 ml black pepper, freshly ground approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 500 ml water or vegetable stock approximately 2 cups
  • 30 ml olive oil approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 5 ml lemon juice or pomegranate molasses, optional approximately 1 teaspoon


  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan /Gas Mark 7/ 428ºF.
  • Make slits in both sides of the lamb shoulder with a sharp knife and insert a clove of garlic and rosemary leaves. Do not cut right through the flesh.
  • Pour the oil over the meat and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  • Put a heavy bottom frying pan or heavy bottom roasting pan that you will use on a high heat on the stove.
  • Brown the lamb shoulder on both sides for a few minutes then remove from the heat. This should take about 10 minutes.
  • Place the lamb over the onion wedges, carrot and remaining rosemary sprigs in the roasting pan. Add the full heads of garlic too.
  • Add one cup of the water or vegetable stock to the roasting pan and cover the lamb with two layers of alumunium foil, making sure that it is fully sealed.
  • Place the roasting pan in the oven and reduce the temperature setting to 140°C. Roast for 4 hours. Check that there is enough water and add up to a 1/2 cup more of your chosen liquid to prevent scorching the vegetables.
  • Increase the temperature to 200°C. Remove the foil and allow to brown for another 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove the roasting pan from the oven and check whether the you can pull the meat apart with two forks. If it pulls apart then it is ready.
    If not, return and cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until the meat can pull apart.
  • Place the meat on a serving platter and cover with foil then leave it to rest for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

Roasted garlic pan sauce

  • Drain any remaining stock from the roasting pan to use for a pan sauce.
  • Skim any oil off the pan stock and add to a small pot or high sided pan.
  • Squeeze the soft squidgy garlic cloves from the whole heads of garlic into the pan sauce.
  • Add a cup of vegetable stock and blend with a hand blender until emulsified.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and add a dash of lemon juice or pomegranate molasses.
  • Serve the sauce on the side with the pulled lamb.


If the lamb shoulder is slightly bigger just adjust the seasoning of the meat. 
The lemon juice or pomegranate molasses is optional for the pan sauce but the acidity helps cut down the fattiness of lamb meat.


Calories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 33gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 852mgPotassium: 571mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1498IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 3mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

Keyword halaal recipe, simple recipe, slow cooking
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  • Reply
    December 23, 2022 at 7:20 am

    This looks so darn good. I love it when lamb is tender and juicy. YUM!

  • Reply
    Christmas Decor
    December 22, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    I never cooked pulled lamb shoulder before, omg!!! This looks so so good. I can’t wait to try out your recipe, can’t wait.

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