For those who have limited experience cooking lamb, determining when it is done can be a challenge. An overcooked rack of lamb can be an expensive mistake and carving into an undercooked roast can be a bit frustrating. Yet the last thing you want to do is cut into a roast or chop to check for doneness. So what do you do? Using an instant read thermometer will give you quick and accurate temperature readings insuring the perfect main course for your meal.
As with other beef, lamb benefits from rest before serving, Resting (off of heat) allows the protein within the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute evenly. Give thin cuts like chops 5 minutes before serving and allow 20 minutes before carving roasts. Keep in mind that the meat’s internal temperature typically rises 5-10 degrees as it rests. So for best results, remove the lamb from heat when the thermometer reads 5-10 degrees less than your desired temperature.
The USDA recommends cooking ground lamb to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160F. Other cuts, including roasts and chops, should be cooked to 145F for medium-rare, 160F for medium, and 170F for well-done. The chart below also lists approximate cooking times.