Cooking Times & Food Safety Tips

Lamb and Veal Cooking Times and Food Safety Tips:

Like other meats, lamb and veal are perishable and should be handled and stored properly to avoid spoilage and food-borne illness. The basic rules of food safety are: keep cold foods cold, keep hot foods hot and keep foods clean.

  • Refrigerate or freeze lamb or veal immediately after purchase. Use an ice chest to transport meat if you will not be able to refrigerate the meat within an hour.
  • Wash your hands and all equipment thoroughly in soapy hot water before and after handling meat.
  • Wash all work surfaces, utensils and cutting boards with soapy hot water after exposure to meat. Keep the final carving board separate from other food preparation.
  • Keep raw meat and meat juices from coming in contact with other foods when thawing, storing and preparing lamb or veal.
  • Never serve raw meat.
  • Use a sharp, clean knife when cutting lamb or veal.
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure lamb or veal is cooked to the desired doneness.
  • Refrigerate leftovers promptly after serving.

After returning from the supermarket, immediately store lamb or veal in the store’s plastic packaging in the coldest part of the refrigerator, preferably at 32° F to 36° F for a day or two. If you do not plan to use the lamb or veal within 24 hours, if the packaging is torn or if the lamb or veal is wrapped in butcher paper; remove the store’s packaging and cover it with plastic wrap, foil or place in a sealable plastic bag.

Freeze ground meat for up to 3 to 4 months or lamb/veal cuts and roasts for 6 to 9 months. To maintain quality, rewrap the meat tightly in heavy-duty freezer wrap or a sealable freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

  Tip:  Label your freezer package with the name of the lamb cut, the date and the weight or number of servings.

Lamb or Veal Cuts Refrigerator (32° to 40° Fahrenheit) Freezer (0° Fahrenheit or colder)
Ground Lamb/Veal 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months
Roasts, Chops 2 to 3 days 6 to 9 months
Cooked Lamb/Veal 3 to 4 days 2 to 3 months

If you’ve purchased a full leg of lamb or rack that isn’t frenched and you didn’t have your butcher cut it to your specifications, here are some easy guides to help you do it yourself:

Cooking Times for Lamb and Veal:

Eating healthy means cooking healthy and safely. Cooking methods can not only affect the nutrient quality of your food but also the quality of your dining experience. Here are a few tips that will turn cooking lamb and veal into a quick and convenient meal that your family will love.

 

Cooking methods utilizing “dry heat” such as; broiling, roasting or grilling are suitable for cuts such as steaks, legs, chops, roasts, etc. Moist heating methods, such as braising or stewing are appropriate for roasts, shanks and stew meat. USDA* recommends that ground products including patties, meatloaf, etc, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F as measured on a food thermometer. The safe cooking temperature for whole muscle items such as steaks, chops, roasts, etc is a minimum of 145°F for medium rare, with a recommended three-minute resting period. If you desire your lamb or veal cooked medium, internal temperature should be 160°F. Below find a cooking temperature timetable as a reference for cooking lamb and veal.

CUT OF MEAT SIZE COOKING METHOD COOKING TIME MINIMUM INTERNAL TEMPERATURE
Bone-In, Leg 5 to 7 lbs. Roast 325°F 20 – 25 min per lb Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Bone-In, Leg 7 to 10 lbs. Roast 325°F 20 – 25 min per lb Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Boneless, Leg 4 to 7 lbs. Roast 325°F 20 – 25 min per lb Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Butterfly, Leg 3 to 5 lbs. Broil/Grill 8 – 12 minutes Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Shanks .5-1.5 lbs. Cover with liquid and simmer 1.5 to 2 hours Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Shoulder Roast 3 to 5 lbs. Roast 325°F 20 – 25 min per lb Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Cubes for Kabobs 1 to 1.5” Broil/Grill 8 – 12 minutes Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Loin and Rib Chops 1 to 1.5” thick Broil/Grill 7 – 11 minutes Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Leg Steaks 1 to 1.5” thick Broil/Grill 14 -18 minutes Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Stew Meat 1 to 1.5” thick Cover with liquid and simmer 1.5 to 2 hours Medium Rare 145°F

3 min Resting Period

Ground 2” thick Broil/Grill 7 – 11 minutes Medium 160°F