Core Temperatures For Lamb: Leg Of Lamb, Rack Of Lamb

Would you like to prepare lamb? If you pay attention to the right core temperature, the meat will be wonderfully tender. We’ll show you what you need to know about the leg of lamb, rack of lamb, and lamb loin.

Lamb Meat: Origin and Taste

Lamb meat not only has a very special and mild taste but is also very healthy. It contains many B vitamins, which are important for your metabolism and bone structure. It’s also relatively low in fat. Lamb comes from animals no older than 12 months. In order to be able to serve different pieces such as leg of lamb, rack of lamb, or lamb loin perfectly, it is important to determine the desired doneness by measuring the core temperature.

Note: Please remember to always put lamb as directly as possible on the plate. If it cools down too much, the fat will solidify quickly and the taste experience will be clouded.

The core temperature of lamb: table

Depending on the cut, there are different ways of preparing the lamb. Whether braising, grilling, or roasting – you can do a lot with lamb in your kitchen. We explain some of the most popular pieces and show you how best to prepare them and what core temperature they should have.

Cut of Meat – Medium – Well Done

  • Leg of lamb – 60 °C – 70-72 °C
  • Rack of lamb – 60-62 °C – 68 °C
  • Lamb salmon – 60-62 °C – 65-68 °C
  • Lamb fillet  -60-62 °C – 65-68 °C
  • Lamb shoulder – 60-62 °C – 66-68 °C
  • Saddle of mutton – 70-75 °C – 80 °C
  • Leg of mutton – 75-78 °C – 82-85 °C

Lamb shank

If you want to prepare a large roast, your best bet is a leg of lamb, which you can buy on the bone or already deboned from the butcher. Low-temperature cooking, after the meat has been seared to develop roasted flavors, is becoming increasingly popular. Although you have to plan a few hours for a leg of lamb prepared in this way, you will be rewarded with incredibly tender meat that melts in your mouth. If you hit the optimal core temperature of 60 °C, you will be amazed by the juicy meat. If you prefer it cooked through, the meat will be a bit tougher.

The leg of lamb consists of four sections, which are ideal individually as a steak or as a delicious skewer for grilling. For medium cooked meat you should aim for 60 °C, if the meat is cooked through, about 70-72 °C is recommended.

Rack of lamb

This is meat on the bone, from which the popular lamb chops are cut. The bone ensures that the rack of lamb has a particularly great and intense taste. The fat content makes it wonderfully juicy. You can use this lamb meat for grilling, searing it brings out the desired roasted aromas. Whether you prepare the rack of lamb medium or rather well done is up to you. The core temperature should be 60-62 °C for medium cooking and 68 °C for well done.

Lamb Salmon

What does lamb have to do with fish? Nothing, the name is just a bit confusing. Lamb salmon is the cut piece of the loin that has been removed from the core muscle of the back – a particularly fine and extremely tender piece of meat from which small steaks can be cut. If you like, you can also prepare a piece of lamb salmon and carve it before serving, i.e. cut it into slices.

The lean meat tastes best at a core temperature of 60-62 °C when it is still pink and wonderfully tender on the inside. The core temperature of this meat should not be higher than 68 °C, otherwise, you would end up with a tough and dry piece of meat on your plate.

Lamb fillet

As with all animals, the fillet as part of the back of the lamb is the finest piece. Sliced and grilled, you can conjure up a culinary treat with lamb fillet.

Prepared medium at a core temperature of 60-62°C, you will not only love lamb fillet at Easter. You can enjoy it well done at 65-68 °C.

Lamb’s shoulder

The meat from the shoulder will be less tender than the rest of the cuts. Nevertheless, you can prepare great dishes from lean meat. Prepare it either whole as a roast for a larger round, as a delicious goulash, or for grilling steaks.

You get a pink shoulder of lamb at a core temperature of 60-62 °C. The meat is well done at 66-68 °C.


A special feature is a button, which you will find much more rarely in the trade than lamb. It comes from animals older than 1 year. These are either castrated male sheep or female animals that have not yet had any offspring. If you compare mutton to lamb, you will find that it is even darker in color and has more marbling. Mutton has a much stronger taste than a leg of lamb, rack of lamb, etc., the structure is much firmer. Mainly the saddle and leg of the mutton are prepared.

Depending on the desired level of doneness, the core temperature should be significantly higher here than with lamb, otherwise, the meat will not taste convincing and the fat it contains would simply be too thick.

Measure the core temperature of the lamb

If you want to determine the desired core temperature from our table when preparing lamb or mutton, it is best to use a meat thermometer:

  1. Insert the thermometer carefully at the thickest point
  2. to the middle of the piece of meat
  3. read temperature

Note: Don’t bite the flesh too often! Otherwise, there is a risk that too much meat juice will escape and your lamb or mutton will not end up juicy on the plate, but rather dry and tough. And please do not measure directly on the bone, because the temperature is often higher here and the result could be falsified.

Cooking test by hand

While this method isn’t as accurate as measuring the core temperature with a meat thermometer, it’s still better than cooking the lamb at random. Also known as the “palm pressure test,” it is best used on smaller cuts of meat, such as lamb loin steaks. You compare the degree of softness of the piece of meat with that of the heel of your hand in different finger positions.

The following guidelines will help you with a lamb:

  • Bring thumb and ring finger together: Medium
  • Bring your thumb and little finger together: Well Done
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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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