Roasting Lamb Legs for the Maillard Reaction

Roasting Lamb Legs for the Maillard Reaction

I try to maximize the tasty Maillard reaction. I set my oven to Convection Roast and preheat to 450°F. If you don't have a convection oven, then set both temperatures 25°F higher.

I dry the leg thoroughly with paper towels. Moisture keeps the temperature down, and you need a high temperature to get the most Maillard reaction. Four half-size paper towels cover the leg nicely. I sprinkle coarse ground pepper on all sides of the leg. I sprinkle on the bottom first, then sides, then top. This reduces the moisture more. And is tasty.

The leg first gets 30 minutes at the 450°F, then 325°F. There is no way to estimate the time, so I use a remote thermometer. Mine is wireless [a ThermoPro TP07S], as I do not hang out near the kitchen. Non-remote models exist. I set the thermometer to 142°F. It will take me a few minutes to get down to the kitchen, and the temperature will be 143-144°F when I take the leg out. No higher. Then it can rest for 10 minutes, and the internal temperature will continue to rise.

If I want to eat food with it that takes time to prepare, I know the temperature to set at first, to go start the other foods. Like 103°F for sweet potatoes in the Actifry, 133°F for steamed vegetables.

I leave the leg in its roasting pan. With my meat boning knife, I first cut off the meat on the shank and then from the far end, to get what I need. I slice off bite size pieces. Then one can use a spoon and eat with one hand.

While eating, I leave the roast out to cool. I lay the knife at the end of the pan and stick into the meat. All then goes into the refrigerator uncovered. The surfaces may dry a little, but so what. Some people buy dehydrators and deliberately dry meat.

For subsequent servings, I can hold the shank and cut slices from the far end and work my way to the shank. The knife gets washed when the pan gets washed.

For the last serving, I heat in the pan. If you don't have a rectangular burner, you do your best with the large burner. I use a spatula to leave nothing in the pan. All that fat and drippings are tasty.

I much prefer the semi-boneless legs over the fully boneless. The fully boneless are smaller, and if using a full-size oven, it doesn't make sense to cook only one. With two it is hard to get them cooked evenly. I cut the string mesh off before cooking. A big mess to remove afterwards, and you lose some of the Maillard reaction. Then the meat hunks are much harder to carve. You need a meat fork to hold.

I only buy grass-fed lamb. It is what is imported from Australia and New Zealand. Lamb legs are often on sale before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I have a chest freezer and stock up then. I buy the biggest legs. Same oven effort to cook. ShopRite is my source.

From: Don Wiss
recipe picture
Don Wiss