A beautifully roasted leg of sheep is a crowd pleaser! It makes the holidays perfect and creates such a feeling of love and celebration for family and friends. Sheep meat can be a bit tricky, though. There are “need to know” tips to get your roast just right. The way you cook it can be hit or miss.
If it is perfectly cooked then you have a winner on your hands but it if is overcooked and dry, then you are left with a meat that is subpar at best with a lot of time and money invested for an un-thrilling dish. So how to do cook a roast to perfection? Well, we are here for you with tips and tricks to create the best-roasted meat you possibly can for your next event.
Before You Cook
It is important to bring your meat to room temperature before you cook it. A leg of sheep or a roast should never go from the refrigerator to the heat. Doing so will lengthen your cooking time. It can also leave you with meat that is unevenly cooked.
Instead, take your meat out of the refrigerator and give it time to sit and get to room temperature. One to two hours should be a wonderful amount of time to allow it to sit. It will not spoil in this amount of time but will cook beautifully. Following this step will ensure that your meat is evenly cooked to perfection.
A tasty marinade is the most delicious compliment on a roasted meat; however, if you allow it to marinade too long, it can destroy the meat. Marinades are famous for developing deep flavour and for tenderizing a tough cut of meat. Just be careful that you do not allow it to marinade too long in sauces that contain large amounts of salt (such as seasonings) and acids (such as vinegar or citrus juices).
These compounds break down the proteins in sheep at a rapid rate which can make your meat mushy. A leg of sheep is a tender cut. It doesn’t need a lot of marinade time. Try a nice rub of seasoning and herb instead. If you do want that delicious marinade then make sure that it is not allowed to go beyond the recommended marinade time on the recipe.
One sure fire way to overcook your sheep is not to use a meat thermometer but to try and judge a glance if it is done or not. This is a common mistake made and one that ends up being very costly in the end. All cooks need to use the meat thermometer when cooking a roast. A roasted sheep is perfect when it is medium rare to medium.
You can tell if your roast is perfectly cooked by using a meat thermometer. For a medium rare leg of sheep, the internal temperature of a just right roast should be between 130 and 60 degrees C. This translates to about 20 minutes of cooking time per pound of meat.
If you want your roast to be cooked to a beautiful medium then it should have an internal temperature of between 60 degrees C. this translated to about 25 minutes of cooking time per pound of meat.
After Cooking: Rest Time
Cooking a roast required a lot of patience. It even requires it after the cooking is done. After you remove your roast from the oven or grill, allow it to rest before you slice it up. This step is crucial because your roast needs this time to redistribute the juices throughout the meat.
If you cut it too soon, the juices will run out of the roast and end up on the cutting board or platter. You want these juices held within the meat and not wasted on the cutting surface. For a more tender roast, allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before you cut.
Carving Your Roast
Carving your roast correctly offers tender pieces of meat. Carving it up incorrectly brings tougher pieces. So, how do you carve it the right way? The right way to slice all meats is to cut against the grain- never with the grain. The grain of meat means the way that the fibres run within the meat. Always cut across those fibres to have tender cuts that are easier to chew.
Follow these tips for a fantastic roast that you will be proud to serve for holiday or any day during the year.