This meltingly tender Slow Cooked Lamb Shawarma is the stuff food dreams are made of!! Slathered in a deceptively simple shawarma spice rub then slow cooked until fall apart, the flavour and fragrance of this lamb is absolutely heavenly. This recipe is ideal for butterflied lamb leg OR lamb shoulder.
While it takes time to roast, it’s a very straightforward recipe – and will feed a crowd. Sensational for finishing on the BBQ!
This one’s for everyone who doesn’t have a charcoal spit in the middle of their kitchen….. and for Australia Day!!!🇦🇺 🇦🇺🇦🇺
Quick to prepare but tastes like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day, this Lamb Shawarma is absolutely terrific for gatherings because it’s easy to make loads, can be cooked ahead then reheated. Or in the spirit of Australia Day, finish it on the BBQ!
This Slow Cooked Lamb Shawarma is 100% me. Big hunk of meat. Big flavours. Simple, fast prep, with big pay offs. Meltingly tender, fall apart meat, dripping with the beautiful roasting juices. Food made for sharing with family and friends. Food to pile onto platters to let everyone help themselves, rather than using tweezers to daintily plate up.
Rustic. That’s how I describe my food. As opposed to refined and elegant! 😂
Just remembering how good this was is killing me as I sit here on the couch late on a Wednesday night sipping on a green smoothie of all things. Suddenly, this spinach-kale-mango-pineapple-ginger smoothie is very unappealing. 😩
So, here’s how this Slow Cooked Lamb Shawarma goes down.
We start with a simple homemade Shawarma slather, my go-to mix that I use for my Chicken Shawarma and all things Shawarma on this site (Lamb Shawarma Chickpea Soup, One Pot Chicken Shawarma and Rice Pilaf). Nothing exotic in it, you’ll find all the spices at the supermarket: coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne and cardamon. Plus olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix and slather.
Use butterflied lamb leg OR lamb shoulder
As for what to slather, take your pick – lamb shoulder or butterflied lamb leg.
In the recipe video, I’ve used lamb shoulder because I wanted to show how to pull the lamb apart in order to finish it on the BBQ. Also because I think lamb shoulder is not quite as popular as lamb leg but I rate it highly and I want to encourage people to try it! It’s usually cheaper than lamb leg and it’s fattier which means juicier (and better for reheating), making it ideal for gatherings.
Lamb shoulder has a bone through it, like pictured below. Because the shoulder is cooked to fall apart perfection, the meat slides off the bone in 4 or 5 large pieces which you can then either slice, shred or BBQ to get an extra tasty crust on it / reheat (see the video, it looks SO GOOD!).
Butterflied lamb leg
When making Lamb Shawarma with lamb leg, I prefer to use butterflied lamb leg because you can rub the Shawarma slather into the meat better. Even if you leave the lamb to marinate, a bone-in leg of lamb is very thick so the marinade doesn’t penetrate right through to the bone. Though having said that, there is plenty of heavily flavoured roasting juices to drizzle all over the meat once sliced or shredded.
Lamb leg is leaner than shoulder but in this recipe, it’s cooked until meltingly tender. One of the “pros” of butterflied lamb leg is that it holds together in one piece even after hours of slow cooking making it easier to slice neatly. Also for handling on the BBQ – one piece rather than the multiple pieces of shoulder you’ll see in the video.
Whether you use shoulder or lamb leg, you’re going to end up with this – incredible tender lamb. Sliceable but shreddable (I also show this in the video).
What to serve with Lamb Shawarma
Now for the hardest part – choosing how to serve it. What will you do – make Lamb Shawarma Wraps (Doner Kebab style!) or pile it on a platter with couscous? 🙂 Here are some suggestions for what to serve this with:
- Lemon Herb Couscous – see recipe notes
- Middle Eastern Roasted Vegetables
- Dried Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf
- Lemon Rice Pilaf
- Homemade Flatbreads – add slices of tomato, shredded lettuce, raw sliced onion and a dollop of yogurt or Hummus. You could also use a Lemon Yogurt Sauce (use the sauce in the Chicken Shawarma recipe)
🇦🇺HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!! 🇦🇺 – Nagi x
More Roast Lamb Recipes
I love a good roast lamb – so I’ve shared a few over the years!
- Classic Roast Lamb Leg with Gravy – the classic, perfectly blushing pink inside
- Slow Roast Leg of Lamb – infused with garlic and rosemary flavours, slow roasted until fall apart tender!
- Slow Cooker Roast Lamb – fall apart goodness in the convenience of your slow cooker
- Slow Roasted GREEK Leg of Lamb – garlicky lemony fall apart deliciousness
- Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder – the juiciest, most succulent roast lamb you will ever have!
- See all Roast Lamb recipes
PS Jeez, my hands look extra small compared to that giant platter!!! 😂
Slow Cooked Lamb Shawarma
- 2kg / 4 lb lamb shoulder (bone in) or 1.7 kg / 3.5 lb butterflied lamb leg (Note 1)
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground cardamon
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp = not spicy)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika (ordinary also ok)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 - 3 tbsp / 40 - 60 ml lemon juice
- 2 cups / 500 ml water
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160C/320F (fan forced / convection).
- Place Paste ingredients in a bowl, starting with 2 tbsp lemon juice, and mix. It should be a wet paste that can be slathered onto the lamb (see video).
- Place lamb in a large roasting pan. Slather all over with paste. Optional: Marinate 24 hours (not mandatory, I usually skip).
- Position the lamb with the fat side up. Pour water around, cover tightly with foil.
- Roast 3 hours, removing from the oven 2 - 3 times to spoon over pan juices (ie baste).
- Remove foil. Meat should be tender - check with 2 forks.
- Baste again, then return to oven for 30 minutes to get a nice crust.
- Remove lamb from roasting pan - reserve juices.
Finish on BBQ, Optional (Note 2):
- Cool the lamb for 20 minutes or so (so it firms up slightly, easier to handle).
- If you used shoulder, pull the meat off the bone in 4 or 5 chunks (see video).
- Preheat BBQ to medium and oil if required.
- Coat lamb in pan juices. Sear on both sides until deep golden and a crust forms. Dab with pan juices on both sides.
- Slice or shred lamb, as desired. Drizzle with plenty of juices.
- Make Lamb Shawarma wraps by serving with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and minted yoghurt (Note 3) or pile over Lemon Herbed Couscous (Note 4) and garnish with pomegranate seeds and parsley or chopped coriander/cilantro (if desired). Both pictured in post.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Someone is happy that I’m so terrible at butterflying lamb leg…. plenty of meat left on that bone!