Lamb shoulder chops are so tender and delicious. Cook them in the slow cooker, then briefly broil them to brown the fat.
Served with the cooking juices for dipping, they make for a hearty, satisfying meal!
I've been making these tender chops quite often lately. They are really good! And surprisingly, even the Picky Eater agrees to eat them. Perhaps because they are so melt-in-your-mouth tender. She vehemently refuses lamb steak, for example.
My favorite meat is beef, but I also really like lamb. I love lamb ribs and lamb shanks. Roasted leg of lamb is wonderful, and the leftovers are great either reheated or cold. But these tasty chops are definitely one of the lamb recipes that I enjoy the most. I also consider them very easy to make.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Bone-in lamb shoulder chops: 4 lb. total weight
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use or the chops could end up too salty.
Spices: I use garlic powder, ground cumin, and dried rosemary. In this recipe, I actually prefer garlic powder to fresh minced garlic. I feel that it coats the chops more evenly.
Lamb shoulder chops are tough. So, just like any other tough cut of meat, they require low, slow cooking, which makes them ideal for your slow cooker. You can't quickly pan-fry or grill them. They really do need to be cooked low and slow.
The reward for your patience? Intensely flavorful, delightfully fatty, melt-in-your-mouth meat. So it's totally worth it!
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
Season. Place the chops in your slow cooker. Sprinkle them with the spices.
Cook. Cover and cook them on LOW for six hours. Strain the cooking juices, reserving them for serving.
Broil. Briefly broil the chops to brown the fat, then serve them with the cooking juices for dipping.
There's actually no need to add liquids to the slow cooker pan, although adding ¼ cup water or broth is fine if you wish.
But remember that the meat will release liquids as it cooks, and too much liquid in the pan could result in boiled rather than braised meat, which is not what you want.
Frequently asked questions
Like other tough cuts of meat, they can't be cooked quickly. You need to cook them low and slow. That's why the slow cooker is so perfect for them. It creates the perfect cooking environment for tenderizing their meat.
Perhaps because you tried to cook them quickly. But they're too tough for a quick sear or for grilling. You need to slow-cook these chops for several hours to ensure they come out nice and tender.
They have the typical, distinct flavor of lamb meat. However, it's milder than lamb meat that you cook quickly (such as a lamb steak, for example). The prolonged cooking seems to not just tenderize them but also make them taste milder.
Variations and substitutions
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can vary your spices. A pinch each of onion powder and smoked paprika taste very good in this recipe.
- The cooking liquids will thicken more quickly if you add a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water).
- Alternatively, it's OK not to thicken the cooking liquids at all. Simply strain them and serve the chops with small bowls of the cooking juices on the side for dipping - similarly to how I serve brisket.
Recommended side dishes
Leftovers should keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave, covered, before serving.
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Slow Cooker Lamb Shoulder Chops
- 6 large bone-in lamb shoulder chops 4 lb. total weight
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- Combine the spices in a small bowl.
- Place the lamb shoulder chops in your slow cooker, in three layers of two chops. Sprinkle each layer with a third of the spice mixture.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.*
- Remove the chops to a foil-lined baking sheet, arranging them on the baking sheet in a single layer. Set the oven to broil on high (500 degrees F) and position an oven rack 4 inches below the broiling element.
- Carefully strain the cooking juices from the slow cooker pan into a heatproof glass jar or measuring cup.
- Briefly broil the chops to brown and crisp up the fat, 1-2 minutes. Keep an eye on them so that they don't burn.
- Transfer the chops to dinner plates. Serve them, if desired, with small bowls of the strained cooking juices for dipping.