Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shanks for Everything - Slow-Roasted Lamb Shanks with Garlic and Rosemary

There are some recipes that require absolutely zero technique. This video recipe for super-simple, stick-to-your-ribs, slow-roasted lamb shanks is a perfect example. You add like three ingredients, wrap them up, and a couple hours later you are enjoying succulent, fork-tender lamb.

It almost seems too good to be true, and you keep trying to think if you missed something, but you didn't. The shanks do almost everything for you. Lamb shanks, and all shanks for that matter, are loaded with connective tissue that melts during the slow roasting and creates that rich, sticky, satisfying texture and flavor.


When buying lamb shanks, look for ones that are the same size. The foreshanks are smaller than the hindshanks, so be sure the butcher isn’t giving you some of each. These are so delicious that guests will fight over who gets the big shank, and it could get ugly. Enjoy!



PLEASE NOTE: ABOUT.COM NO LONGER SUPPORTS EMBEDED VIDEO...Click here TO SEE VIDEO AND for ingredients and recipe transcript.

51 comments:

Rickey said...

Looks great! Rosemary, garlic, and meat. (that's my holy trinity of food)


This reminds me of my pork butt. When I first started smoking them, I would spend lots of time rubbing (actually sprinkling to avoid clumpification), and injecting, and turning.

The more I did them, I got lazy with it, and eventually ended up just rinsing it with water, and started smoking. It turned out just as good. (As long as your sauce is good)

Some meats do the work for you.


Random Questions:
How long does it take to do the videos?

Why are some for about.com and some not?

Jairus said...

no-knead lamb shank pizza?

Chef John said...

I'll do the jokes.

Chef John said...

Start to finish, a 5 minute video and post takes about 7 hours.

I work part-time for About to produce a couple videos a month. They own the videos and I post when they go live on their site.

Jessie said...

I made these when you first posted them on YouTube a few years ago. Oh my god, they're the best. Love this recipe.

Susanna said...

Doesn't a LC pot or any cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid have the same effect as using 3 layers of foil? As extra precaution, covering the pot with a piece of foil before clamping on the lid must surely do the trick?

Chef John said...

yes, basically. I think I like the closer quarters with the foiled baking pan, as well as they all lay flat and cook in there own juices, but the LC will work fine.

Nath said...

Looks good. Is there a reason these are browned in the oven rather than on a stove-top? Are there any major pros and cons to each method?

Chef John said...

since they are cooked in the dish, I browned in the oven. You can, if using a Dutch oven brown on the stove, but due to their shape, it can be difficult to brown all over.

Greg said...

Oh man! It has been 4-5 years since I made Lamb Shanks and I'm wanting some now.

You should figure out a way to get a commission from the supermarkets for the run on lamb shanks that is going to happen now.

Chef John said...

Yes, they should have to buy one DVD per 8 shanks purchased!

dakencook said...

is a shank cut from the 'bicep' part of the lamb's 'arm' or from the 'forearm'?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic recipe Chef. This is my weekend plan now. You have no idea how much a part of my kitchen you have become. Now for my 3 monthly reminder (now that it is winter here in NYC) - Cassoulet, Cassoulet, Cassoulet! :)Thanks much
...AP

Chef John said...

Here is a graphic that may help. It's kinda both. http://www.houndriverfarm.com/id13.html

Anonymous said...

Chef - if I want to adapt this recipe for a leg of lamb or a shoulder, will the cooking achieve the same "fall off the bone and sticky sauce quality"? What I mean is do those cuts allow for the meat to be soft and fall off the bone after cooking? Separately, how will you alter the roasting time for the shoulder or whole leg with the bone in? Thanks much in advance. James..

Chef John said...

Cooking time depends on size, but it will work. The leg is leaner than the shoulder, so wouldn't be as sticky. Don't worry about time, just check after a few hours and cook until fork tender. But shanks are the best!

Zach said...

I cooked these back when you originally posted this recipe and have been making them ever since. Best lamb shanks on earth!

Anonymous said...

So I searched four local supermarkets looking for lamb shanks - all they had were pre-packaged legs of lamb and crown ribs for the holidays. I ended up buying some short ribs instead, thinking I could adapt this recipe to short ribs. Is this possible? How long would you recommend I cook them?

Chef John said...

I would try the same time, and then check for fork tenderness. You can always cook longer.

JH said...

I made this today. Absolutely brilliant. Thank you so much. James.

Jewels said...

Out of curiosity, would this same method of cooking work okay on boneless pork ribs? I would think since they're so fatty, that it would break down nice and whatnot, but I'd rather ask before I try it and screw it up.

I have two pounds of rib meat in my fridge waiting for me to turn it into something beautiful...

Thanks!

Jewels said...

Out of curiosity, would this same method of cooking work okay on boneless pork ribs? I would think since they're so fatty, that it would break down nice and whatnot, but I'd rather ask before I try it and screw it up.

I have two pounds of rib meat in my fridge waiting for me to turn it into something beautiful...

Thanks!

milkshake said...

As it happens I was going to follow the recipe but could not buy decent lamb shanks in my local grocery store (what they had was looking sad and tired - and it was pretty expensive too) but the boneless pork shoulder was on sale. I followed the recipe just as in the video, the pork took about 2 hours at 325 F to complete, and the meat came out very tender and lovely. I put some pieces of butternut squash to bake along the pork and after straining off the fat I thickened the sauce with the caramelized squash.

Chef John said...

Yes, pork ribs will work, but I would cook them uncovered at the end a little longer to caramelize a bit more.

Hey 'shake that sounds great!!

Jewels said...

I did it! I did the ribs this same way and they turned out SO great!!!

http://lapbandeating.blogspot.com/2008/12/juiciest-pork-ribs-ever.html

I've never attempted quite this dish before, and I probably wouldn't have without your videos, for fear of screwing something up.

You rock Chef John!

Chef John said...

I'm very proud.

Jewels said...

LOL! I feel your sarcasm!

Naw, just kidding. You're such an inspiration. :)

Chef John said...

thanks, so are you. :)

Anonymous said...

They seem to be covered in a silverskin, no need to remove that?

Chef John said...

no need

Anonymous said...

Chef - I am making this for christmas dinner tomorrow.

Quick question - I have only one even and am planning to also roast a whole fish which will be served before the lamb and will need the broiler.

Will it matter a whole lot if the cooking time of the lamb goes above 2 hrs and the lamb stays on a lower rack while the fish is browning?

Thanks so much in advance and a merry christmas to you. James..

Chef John said...

it shouldn't. I may take it out for the broiling part, and then put it back in. But shanks are hard to over cook.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. J.

foofifofum said...

This recipe rocks! We loved the results and now want to have it a few times a month, but it's hard to find this cut at our grocery store. We searched three stores to find them, and were told they don't get them in too often. Bummer, but that doesn't change the fact that this recipe is great! It so easy to make, so delicious, and our dog loved the bones.

Chef John said...

thanks, unless something has changed, safeway usually carries packages of 2. they can easily order if out.

sj said...

This recipe is great. I tried this recipe with two shanks and it came out really good.

How do I adjust temperature/time for four shanks in one go?

Chef John said...

not sure I understand, the recipe is for 4 shanks.

sj said...

Sorry I was referring to this video.

http://www.graspr.com/videos/Slow-Roasted-Lamb-Shanks-with-Garlic-and-Rosemary-1

I prefer to cook the lamb for longer for that sticky and gummy effect.

Chef John said...

will be the same

sj said...

I thought increasing food quantity will also increase the cooking time?

Chef John said...

it does if it's one big hunk of meat, but these are uniform separate shanks. a pan of 4 baked potatoes cook the same time as 8 baked potatoes - as long as they are spaced the same.

asdf said...

Chef John,

First, I love your website!! You've inspired me to learn how to cook. As I type, chicken covered in your 20 cloves of garlic sauce is sitting in my fridge waiting to be cooked, and I will also be making the burnt chocolate coins tomorrow!

Sunday, I plan on making the lamb shanks, but would like to add a bunch of carrots, celery and onions to make it all fancy. Can I cook these in the jus? If so, when do I put them in?

Thanks again! and I will enjoy.. all weekend!

Chef John said...

thanks! you can cook veggies with the lamb. you can't really overcook them so add at least an 1 1/2 hr before the lamb is done.

Ollie said...

Excellent! Just found this, at least I know what I'm having for dinner!
Thank Chef John!

dub said...

Which Slow Roasted Lamb Shank recipe is better, this one that you cook at 325 for 2 hours, or the recipe you posted in 2007 that you cook at 200 F for 3hrs?

Pam said...

Chef John, something is terribly wrong! I'd never purchased lamb shanks before, but love lamb in just about every other cut, so I was excited to give this recipe a try. I cut the shrink wrap from the [Wegman's FYFGA lamb] shanks and P.U. -- the entire kitchen immediately started to stink. I've never encountered this with other cuts of lamb, so I figured this "eau de manure" was normal and would dissipate. No - it got worse as they roasted, and everything in the house, including me, was coated in the sour stench. After the first 30 minutes I decided to save my marriage and toss the smelly shanks out. Do shanks typically smell like a dirty sheep pen? I'm actually hoping that these were just bad shanks, because I very much want to try this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

Your videos are cool! Do you have any suggestions for sides for these shanks?

:)

Chef John said...

I like mashed potatoes!

Dave said...

I first saw this recipe on YouTube and I'm a bit confused. The cooking directions are completely different here than they are on there. YouTube has 200 F for 3 hrs and this is 325 F for 2 hrs, there smashed garlic, here whole garlic, there in foil loose, here in pan then foil. Which version makes the better finished product? I always thought that low and slow was the best way for connective tissue breakdown.

Chef John said...

Just a different recipe. I like them both. I probably would use or most recent shanks video.

Paula Wick said...

Chef John, you do not disappoint! I'm new to lamb shanks. My Persian friends made some the other week and I was hooked! They actually got me a box of New Zealand lamb shanks that are GINORMOUS!
I needed something not fussy tonight, so, of course, as is my bent, I come to your blogsite.
I made these just like you said, except I used a glass baking dish with a lid (because I don't like cooking with foil) and they were A MAZING!!!
The fresh herbs roasting were intoxicating and the smell wafting from my house will be the envy of the neighborhood for a WEEK!
If compliments were dollars, you could pay off the national debt singlehandedly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.