I like to end up with a combo of smaller bits and larger chunks, but you may like a more consistent texture throughout. You can make the pieces as small or as large as you like, depending on preference and how you plan to serve the lamb.
Slow Cooker BBQ sauce
Homemade barbecue sauce is so happily and stupidly easy, it’s a mystery why more people don’t make it. And having said THAT (one of my favorite phrases on the planet), I am all in favor of grabbing a bottle of sauce, and there are so many good ones out there—just read the label and. Avoid high fructose corn syrup, and any ridiculously long list of ingredients that are unrecognizable.
So, if you want to take a super short cut, use 3 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce. But if you have a handful of extra minutes, make the balsamic barbecue sauce below. And, because we are in slow cooker mode, not only is the lamb made in the low cooker, the barbecue sauce is as well!
This barbecue sauce gets tanginess and sweetness from balsamic vinegar, which is a really nice compliment to the total richness and savoriness of the lamb. If you wanted to double the barbecue sauce recipe, and save it for a few weeks in the fridge to make another batch of slow cooker pulled lamb (or some else BBQ) you can absolutely do that.
And speaking of lamb, and richnesss and savoriness. Lamb is a seriously flavor-forward meat. It takes to all kinds of cuisines, from Middle Eastern to Mediterranean, to a kind of hybrid BBQ flavor approach, as in this recipe.
And the majority of sheep in the US graze pastures for most of their lives. Some lambs are exclusively grass fed and others are finished on wholesome grain. And since sheep are grazers, they help naturally control weeds and help clear undergrowth in forests and wooded areas. I had no idea that sheep improve the land by recycling vital nutrients back into the soil, minimizing erosion and encouraging native plant growth. When you are thinking about your red meat consumption, these are good things to consider.
Slow Cooked Lamb
You might wonder for a moment if taking a cut of lamb that is often cooked rare and cooking it low and slow in the slow cooker makes sense. The answer is a resounding YES. The lamb is slow cooked until it falls apart, much the same as other slow cooked meat like pork or chicken. But the flavor if the lamb still shines though, and if your family, like mine, are massive lamb fans, then this might be your new favorite pulled meat.
And don’t think for a minute the unique and highly beloved flavor of the lamb would be overshadowed by the sauce. The first time I made this a tableful of teenage boys who walked into my house at the right time had third helpings of this. Barbecue sauce and lamb and a slow cooker–this is a match made in heaven.
Other Great Lamb Recipes:
- Spanish Lamb Burgers with Romesco Sauce and Caramelized Onions
- Lemon-Garlic Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb
- Instant Pot Mediterranean Lamb Stew
- Lamb Satay
- Lamb Stew with White Wine, Orange, and Fennel
Fall Apart Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Lamb
- ½ large onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 2 cups ketchup
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
- 1 4-pound boned, rolled and tied leg of American Lamb
To Serve (Optional)
- 10 long buns sliced in half almost all the way through
- ½ cup Sriracha Mayo
- In the slow cooker, combine the onions, garlic, ketchup, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, and cook on high for 1 hour.
- Towards the end of the hour, heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add the oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Sear the lamb on all sides, turning it, and allowing it to rest on the edge of the pan as needed. It’s ok if you can’t get the ends browned, but you want a nice sear on as much of the exterior as you can get. This should take about 10 minutes total.
- Tuck the lamb into the sauce already heating in the slow cooker, and spoon some over the top. Reset the cooking time to 4 hours on high.
- After 4 hours remove the lamb to a shallow dish and using two forks pull the lamb into small bite-sized pieces. You can make them as small or as large as you like, depending on preference and how you plan to serve the lamb.
- Spoon some of the sauce over the lamb. If you want to serve it in sandwiches, pile it onto the buns, and spoon some of the Sriracha Mayo on top. You’ll likely have some leftovers, which is a very good thing.
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