I have a 4lbs boneless leg of lamb I intend to roast in an oven this weekend.

I am thinking of trying very low temperature roasting. I was inspired by Alton Brown roast beef episode where he cooked a (6 lbs?) roast beef in a 200 F oven and then acquired brown skin by finishing it in a 500 F oven.

I am going to follow the same strategy, put the leg of lamb in a 200 F oven (just to stay under boiling temperature) until I reach my internal target temperature of 118-120 F which will carry over to medium rare when rested, hopefully, then finish with 500 F for 15 minutes to brown the skin.

For those who have tried both methods, I am curious to know how the result compares to roasting at a higher heat.

Also, how long (ballpark time) does it take to roast 4 lbs at a low temperature such as 200 F?

  • I've only done this with beef although I used an even lower temperature (70C/160F) and the main result is that there is barely any juices created for a gravy (this is good because it means they're still in the meat) but that the browning you get on the outside is not quite as good if roasted at a higher temperature.
    – Stefano
    Jan 31, 2014 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


I can't comment on how long it takes but I can comment on the difference I've noticed between each method. To start out I could never explain the how and why better than J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, over at The Food Lab, so here is what he has to say about high vs low temp roasting: http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/the-food-lab-how-to-cook-roast-a-perfect-prime-rib.html

If you still want to read here is my take on it.

To me the results were almost identical for the final outcome of the meat. However the difficulty in achieving the right level of done-ness is what differed the most. With the low temperature method, you have a fairly large window of time where the meat is in your 118-120F range. Contrast this to the high temperature method where it is easy to miss by only a few minutes and quickly overshoot your correct temperature.

Another benefit of the low temperature method is that you can pull the roast from the oven, and let it rest while you finish preparing the rest of the meal (in case timing everything isn't your forte). Then when it comes time to serve, you put the roast back into a screaming hot oven, you get the nice brown crust on the outside, warm the meat up again, and can immediately carve the roast right out of the oven since the interior has already had a chance to rest.

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