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How to Defrost a Frozen Lamb Shoulder

Updated February 21, 2019

Whether for a traditional Easter celebration or just Sunday dinner with the family, lamb shoulder makes an impressive presentation at the dining table. Lamb shoulder contains large amounts of fat, making this cut very juicy and flavourful, though slightly chewy. It needs to be cooked slowly to tenderise the meat. If you placed the lamb shoulder in your freezer when you bought it, thaw the meat and bring it to room temperature before you begin preparing it. Defrost the lamb safely to avoid potential food-borne illnesses.

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  1. Place the frozen lamb shoulder in the refrigerator up to three days before you are ready to cook it. The lamb shoulder may take a long time to defrost, and the refrigerator is the safest place for defrosting.

  2. Submerge the lamb in cold water while still in its packaging; this is ideal if you need to cook the meat the same day that you begin defrosting it. Change the water every 30 minutes until fully thawed out, which could take anywhere from an hour to four hours depending on the size of the lamb shoulder.

  3. Thaw the lamb in the microwave as a last resort and only if you have a small cut of lamb shoulder. If you're really short on time, place the lamb in the microwave on the defrost setting, turning and rotating it frequently to avoid the meat cooking in one section while another remains frozen solid. Cook the meat immediately after microwave defrosting.

  4. Warning

    Avoid using the microwave to defrost when possible as dangerous bacteria may start to develop in the defrosted area while other areas are still thawing.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

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