Smoked Lamb Shoulder Recipe

Since lamb is a fatty, gamey meat, in my opinion, smoking is the perfect way to cook it. Traditionally, we have a mint sauce with roast lamb in my house, but not when it’s we are smoking or bbq-ing it. 

When we are bbq-ing, grilling, or smoking, the natural flavor from the wood and charcoal is the perfect seasoning. However, in this recipe, I go one step further and add a dry rub of a few herbs and spices which help enhance that natural flavor. 

In the recipe I use a boneless lamb shoulder, however, you could use a bone-in leg of lamb or bone-in shoulder of lamb.

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Smoked lamb shoulder

Should You Smoke Bone-In or Boneless Lamb Shoulder?

You can smoke either boneless or bone-in cuts of lamb. In general, you will get a little more flavor from bone-in cuts – however, using boneless cuts do have a couple of pros: 

  • You can easily pull the cooked lamb.
  • Cooking a boneless lamb shoulder is easier to get an even cook with. 
  • You can carve easier and look better when serving on platters or boards. 

What Temperature Do You Smoke Lamb Shoulder?

It is very important to use temperature rather than cook time with lamb. Lamb is best server (in my opinion) and rare – medium-rare. According to the USDA, lamb is cooked and safe to eat at 145°f, this is when the meat’s internal temperature is at medium to well done. 

Lamb Doneness Guide:

  • Rare: 115 to 120°F
  • Medium-rare: 120 to 125°F
  • Medium: 130 to 135°F
  • Medium-well: 140 to 145°F
  • Well-done: 150 to 155°F

Can You Smoke Butterflied Lamb Shoulder?

You can smoke Butterflied lamb shoulder. I have smoked a butterflied lamb shoulder in the past and it has turned out fantastic. 

Once butterflied, I filled it with greek inspired ingredients like garlic, lemon, paprika, cumin, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and olives then roll into a log and smoke following the same method as below. 

What to do with Smoked Lamb Shoulder

Your options are endless with smoked lamb, however, some of my favorites are:

  • Smoked lamb tacos.
  • Smoked lamb mac and cheese.
  • Greek lamb Gyros.
  • Lamb nachos.
  • A classic leftover smoked lamb sandwich.

What Goes with Smoked Lamb

Lamb is super versatile and can go with almost anything. However, here are my top recommendations. 

  • Garlic butter potatoes.
  • Lemon and garlic wilted greens.
  • Grilled pita bread.
  • Hasselback potatoes with A Turkish spice blend.
  • Potato or sweet potato chips.
  • Garlic butter grilled asparagus.
  • Classic red cabbage slaw.
Smoked lamb shoulder
Smoking Lamb Shoulder

Smoked Lamb Shoulder Recipe

Smoked Lamb Shoulder

The smells that come from this smoked lamb shoulder are incredible. This smoked lamb shoulder recipe is not very difficult but will impress! My favourite thing to do with this smoked lamb is to pull it and make pulled lamb tacos! Its a huge hit in my backyard.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Resting Time30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 50 mins
Course: main, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Barbecue, bbq, grill
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 260kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 30


  • Smoker
  • Marinade injector
  • Food safe spray bottle
  • Kitchen twine
  • Meat thermometer


Dry Rub

  • 2 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp Dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp Dried crushed bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp Ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic powder


  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Apple Juice


  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit as directed by your smokers manufactures instructions. Ensure that you have a water pan set in your smoker to ensure that your smoked lamb shoulder does not dry out. 
  • Prepare the shoulder of the lamb by trimming any excess fat and membrane. Rinse thoroughly in cold running water. Pat dry with a towel of paper. Inject the lamb with the mixture of apple cider vinegar. You'll use about one cup for a five-pound lamb shoulder. If you don't have a syringe, you could use a skewer or something similar to make small incisions to pour in the apple cider vinegar. 
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl combine salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin and garlic powder.
  • Pat the surface of the lamb with a paper towel and cover thoroughly with olive oil. Fully coat with your dry run, ensuring there are no gaps. Tightly tie together with the kitchen twine.
  • Once your smoker is exposed to the temperature of the lamb in the center of your grill plate. Spritz every 15 minutes for the first hour of cooking until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. It should take about 3 hours for a 5 pound lamb shoulder. 
  • When the center of the lamb reaches 165 degrees, wrap the lamb tightly in the foil and return to the smoker until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees. 
  • Remove from the smoker, cover and rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking and getting out in nature with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.


I get lots of questions about my smoked lamb recipe, so I have put some of the common ones below. Happy to answer anymore questions you have.

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