Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb is an easy set and forget family favorite recipe! Seasoned lamb shoulder gets cooked low and slow resulting in juicy, tender lamb that will melt in your mouth! Use it for tacos, sliders, burgers, salads, BBQs and more. Pulled lamb shoulder requires minimal effort yet delivers maximum flavour.
Recipes like the Slow Cooker Lamb Ribs, Lamb Osso Bucco and Greek Lamb Shanks allow us to use this fantastic protein for hearty popular recipes.
The Easy Lamb Bolognese lets us make a non beef version of spaghetti bolognese.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Minimal effort: after measuring and combining the ingredients for the dry rub, we season the lamb and the hard work is done! You have to love easy recipes that produce a slow cooker meal with a delicious aroma to match.
- Set and forget: after we prepare the lamb, we pop it in the slow cooker, turn the lid on and let it do its thing. You can be hands off for the 4 or 8 hr period of time whilst it pretty much cooks itself! This makes it the perfect recipe for starting in the morning and having dinner sorted by the afternoon.
- Full of flavour: being very intentional in creating a recipe that will deliver maximum flavour and the yum factor results in the use of both a dry rub and a smothering of BBQ sauce. The whole family will love the flavour!
- Versatile: you are unlimited in the use of this slow cooked pulled lamb for BBQs, burgers, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, toasties, nachos, a lamb tacos recipe and or anything you can thing of.
- Taste sensation: cooking any meat for a long time is pretty much guaranteed to produce juicy, tender meat. This recipe does that plus the smothering of BBQ sauce with grilling combination turns the process of cooking lamb into a home run.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Lamb shoulder (shoulder of lamb): you can purchase this cut of meat either from the local supermarket or your local butcher. It is excellent for slow cooking and results in tender, juicy meat. Both bone in and boneless lamb shoulder can be used.
- BBQ sauce: store bought is fine! Once we have slow cooked the lamb shoulder, we baste it in BBQ sauce then grill it for maximum flavour.
- Mustard powder: a great ingredient to use for grilling or making rubs for meat. It is soft and lends itself very well to being massaged into proteins that deliver results. The contributing flavour is very subtle!
- Garlic powder: an easy way to add garlic to recipes that involves no peeling, chopping or hard work. It is a key ingredient in the dry rub.
- Onion powder: I didn't mention it above but this and the garlic powder are 'spices' that will dry out if kept in the pantry but not used very often. Something to keep in mind, so that you don't turn to the cupboard only to find yours in a dry hard lump!
- Paprika: robust and bright in colour this ingredient provides flavour but not in a hot or spicy way (cayenne pepper does that!). It helps add a BBQ type flavour to the lamb rub.
- Salt and black pepper: a little of each goes into the dry rub to season the lamb.
Tasty Tip: I like to provide you with a number of substitutions and variations giving you an array of options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section (further below) before jumping into the instructions on how to make the recipe which are coming next 😉👌.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by gathering the ingredients needed to make the spice rub and then separately combining the liquids that will sit in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Gather dry rub ingredients and combine (Photo 1)
- Gather liquids and combine (Photo 2)
- Rub dry rub into lamb (Photo 3)
- Pour liquids into the slow cooker bowl (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb
Start the recipe by gathering the ingredients to make the dry rub. Add the mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper to a glass and use a mini whisk to combine then set side.
Grab the Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar, pour both into a measuring jug and stir to combine.
Remove the lamb shoulder from the fridge, use scissors to cut the packaging off, then use paper towel to pat dry. You can rinse the lamb, however, you will find that more paper towel will stick to it if you do, than if you simply pat the excess moisture dry.
- Place seasoned lamb into the slow cooker (Photo 5)
- Place the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low (Photo 6)
- Remove, transfer to a silicon mat, baste with the bbq sauce and grill for 10 mins, then repeat x 1 (Photo 7)
- Remove grilled lamb and place on a chopping board ready to pull (Photo 8)
🥙 Pulled Lamb Slow Cooker
Once the lamb has been patted dry, take the dry rub and smother it all over the top surface of the lamb. Massage it in using your fingers and palms of your hand.
Then flip to the other side and repeat this process so it is also covered in the rub.
Once done, transfer the seasoned lamb into the base of an oil (sprayed) slow cooker. Pop the lid on, turn the heat to high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours and let it do its thing.
The lamb juices will start to flow out of the meat as it cooks and the aroma will fill the kitchen.
Just before the cook time is up line a baking tray and rack with a silicon baking mat. Also turn the oven on during this stage to grill at 200°C 392°F6.
At the end of the cooking time, you can take the lid off, turn the heat off and then gently use a pair of tongs in each hand to lift the lamb up and out of the slow cooker. Next, place the lamb onto the silicon baking mat.
Take the pastry brush and BBQ sauce and coat a layer of sauce onto the slow cooked lamb shoulder. Place the baking tray into the oven and grill the meat for 10 mins. It will be a lovely golden brown colour. Then remove and repeat the basting process followed by a further 10 minutes of grilling.
Once done use oven mits to remove the baking tray from the oven and place it on a heatproof surface.
Let the lamb rest for 3 to 5 minutes during this time.
Then use a pair of kitchen tongs in each hand to transfer the lamb onto a chopping board.
🍖 Slow Cooker Shredded Lamb
Use a large knife to start to carve the lamb and remove any bone pieces.
Then use a fork in each hand and shred the lamb. Do this in a manner where each hand's fork is pierced into the meat and your hands pulled open to then 'pull' the meat apart.
You will find that the meat will very easily and gently come apart and shredding the whole shoulder will be a quick and effortless process.
Now you are ready to serve the pulled lamb in whatever fashion takes your fancy! Lamb sandwiches are a great starting point!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Fancy a pulled lamb burger, a shredded lamb burger or a pulled lamb slider? All you need is some bread rolls and extras to get those parties started 🥰.
Turn the shredded meat into tacos by adding a few simple ingredients like soft tortillas, salad, avocado and lime juice.
Serve it with Gravy Fries the Turkish Garlic Bread, make a side salad for it using the Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad or Healthy Panzanella Salad.
For potato sides the Creamy Garlic Potatoes, Duck Fat Roast Potatoes or Garlic Butter Potatoes will all work well.
Use long hot dog rolls like we do for the Baked Meatball Subs and stuff them with shredded pulled lamb, bbq sauce and chopped lettuce for an easy lunch idea.
Throw some sliced green onions, wombok, basil leaves and avocado in some soft taco shells and you have a meal in one!
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Let the meat fully cool before transferring into a sealed air tight container. It can be kept in the fridge for 3 days or placed into the freezer for 3 months.
How to Freeze
You can freeze the raw shoulder and then remove and defrost prior to cooking. If doing this, you won't be able to freeze leftovers however.
Or you can cook the lamb, allow to cool, then place in sealed zip lock bags laid flat in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
Keep the meat warm in the slow cooker using the warm setting. Or reheat leftovers in the microwave (high heat) covered in cling wrap.
They will only take 2 to 3 minutes to reheat.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- Yes, you can use pork or beef as alternative proteins to slow cook then pull apart.
- You can add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you would like a little spice/heat in the recipe.
- Use spicy BBQ sauce in place of regular for a little spiciness.
- Stuff into burger buns with some creamy mayo coleslaw, pulled lamb and BBQ sauce.
- Serve with mashed potato and grilled greens for a non burger or slider type meal (a little bit fancy 😘).
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Try and keep moisture away from the dry rub as this will help it stay dry and be more easily massageable.
- You can spray the slow cooker bowl sides with a little oil. The combined Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar will however, ensure that the lamb does not stick to the base of the slow cooker.
- You have the option of cooking the lamb for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, both times and temperatures will deliver fantastic results.
- Whilst tempting, we can't remove the slow cooker lid (for a peek) during the cooking time. Doing so rapidly reduces the heat and doesn't allow us to follow the cook time accurately. So peek through the glass lid instead 😉👌.
- You will need to use 2 pairs of tongs once the lamb is cooked to lift it up and out of the slow cooker. This technique reduces pushing any rub off the outside of the lamb and is the easiest way to handle the cooked meat.
- A preheated oven is the best way to start the grill process with the BBQ sauce. So pop this on towards the end of the slow cooking time to ensure it is ready when you have based the
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What cut of lamb is best for pulled lamb?
Lamb shoulder is the best cut of lamb for pulled lamb. Cook it low and slow for best results where the meat will literally fall off the bone.
How do you shred lamb?
Place the slow cooked and grilled lamb shoulder on a chopping board. Use a knife to make some initial cuts and remove any bone pieces. Then take 2 forks, 1 in each hand to pull the meat apart. Dig the forks into the tender meat and then use a opening of the hands movement to pull the meat between the 2 forks. It will separate and shred easily.
Can you slow cook lamb the night before?
Yes absolutely. You can cook the lamb the day or night before and store it in a sealed air tight container in the fridge for the next day. Reheat prior to serving.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
We need taste, texture, variety and a little spice to keep things exciting, never dull and super interesting on the dinner table. These recipes will help you to achieve all of that with minimal effort with a variety of cook times:
- Dutch Oven Pulled Pork
- Pork Osso Bucco
- Greek Lamb Shanks
- Easy Greek Ribs Recipe
- Meatball Bolognese
- Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese
- Spaghetti Al Pesto
- Tagliatelle Pesto
- Beef Pesto Pasta
- Pesto Fettuccine (Fettuccine Al Pesto)
It is time to let dinner pretty much cook itself whilst you relax and breathe in the delicious aroma! You can also find all of my dinner recipes in the one spot.
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Slow Cooker Pulled Lamb
- 1 Glass jug to combine the dry rub ingredients
- 1 Mini whisk to whisk together the dry rub
- 1 Medium size jug to combine the liquids (or use a small bowl)
- 1 Slow Cooker
- 1 Baking tray
- 1 Silicon Baking Mat
- 1 Pastry Brush to coat the cooked lamb in the BBQ sauce
- 1 Chopping board
- 2 Forks to shred the lamb
- 1 Knife to remove the bone from the lamb
- 2 Kitchen Tongs for handling the meat after cooking
- 1.5kg/3 pounds lamb shoulder bone in
- 2 tablespoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder Note 1
- 1 tablespoon onion powder also Note 1
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ cup/125ml BBQ sauce
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 tbs/40 ml Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs/40 ml apple cider vinegar
- Lamb: remove lamb from packaging and pat dry with paper towel. The set side.
- Dry rub: in a glass combine mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir with a mini whisk to combine.
- Season lamb: place lamb shoulder on chopping board and massage dry rub into top side. Flip and repeat for the underside.
- Liquids: combine Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar in a glass jug, stir to mix together.
- Slow cooker: pour combined liquids into the base of the slow cooker. Place seasoned lamb on top, pop the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- Sauce and grill: once the cook time is up, lift the lid off the slow cooker and turn the dial to off. Use a pair of kitchen tongs to lift the cooked lamb up and out of the bowl. Place this directly onto a silicon lined baking rack. Use a pastry brush to gently but liberally coat the lamb with the BBQ sauce.
- Grill/broil: preheat the oven setting to grill at 200°C 392°F6. Place the baking rack into the oven on the top shelf. Grill the lamb for 10 mins (no need to flip). Repeat basting process followed by a further 10 mins grill time.
- Pull: once the lamb has been grilled use 2 pairs of kitchen tongs (1 in each hand) to transfer it to a chopping board. Then use a knife to make a few initial cuts and remove the bone from the lamb. Next use a fork in each hand and a pulling (widening of your 2 hands) to shred the lamb.
- Serve: use the pulled lamb to fill burger buns, make sliders, add to salad or make soft shelled tacos.
- Note 1 - Garlic and onion powders: these have a tendency to dry out if you have opened the bottle but not used it for a while. It is better to use a fresh (new) bottle which will easily slide into the measuring spoon than to try and salvage dried hard powder.
- Serving size: will depend on what you what to use the lamb for. Be it burgers, sliders, sandwiches or other. You will be able to get 6-8 burger or sandwich fillings out of it easily.
Susan Ottoway says
Yum so good. We used the meat for sandwiches, very tasty and easy to make. Thanks
Great to get your feedback Susan. Thanks for making the recipe and taking the time to leave feedback!
Jess Renolds says
There is so much flavour in this recipe and we each loved it. Smells great when in the slow cooker doing its thing. Yummy and thanks.
You are very welcome Jess. Thanks for your feedback!
Penny Gordan says
Amazing recipe!! Also love your easy to follow instructions. I can predict we will make these again and again!!
Great to hear. Thanks Penny for your feedback, I appreciate you taking the time to comment.