How to Cook Lamb

Don't ignore the crucial last step! Let it rest.

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Many recipe-users casually gloss over and disregard that common last phrase "let rest for 15 minutes" and then wonder why their meal was not all they hoped for. This is actually a very important part of the process and will make the difference between an even-hued and tender roast and a tough, dry piece of meat with a small red center surrounded by a large grey-brown border. Keep in mind, there are several significant events taking place in the minutes after a piece of meat has left the oven.

  • First off, it's still cooking! Remember, the reading you get from your meat thermometer is taken from the coolest part of a steak or roast — the layers of meat closer to the surface are a great deal hotter, and they continue to radiate heat towards the center. The internal temperature of a roast rises about ten degrees after it leaves the oven. Those ten degrees could well be the difference between tender, juicy meat and something dry and disappointing.

  • Second, during cooking, intense heat drives most of the juices toward the center of the meat. A 10- to 15-minute rest should be enough time to allow those juices to be reabsorbed and redistributed more evenly.

  • A final tip: Choose a well-sharpened knife for carving. After waiting all that extra time, the last thing you want is to squeeze out those wonderful juices by sawing away with a blunt knife.
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