Grilled Lamb Shanks with Mushrooms and Wilted Greens

This spoon-tender braised lamb shanks with mushrooms recipe is delicious anytime of year. In this recipe, the shanks are par-cooked on the grill to give a light smoky flavor to them perfect for serving in spring when the nights are still cool. Slowly simmered until nearly falling off the bone with aromatic herbs and mushrooms, this is a simple meal you can improvise and make your own. Read on and I’ll explain the important things to know and how you can be creative.

Lamb shanks with pheasant back mushrooms and nettles in a ceramic bowl.
Lightly smoked, grilled lamb shanks in a rich broth with greens, mushrooms and bacon.

Grilled Lamb Shank Ingredients

Here I use pheasant back mushrooms and green garlic. You could substitute fresh shiitake mushrooms and leeks. Feel free to use what’s available.

Lamb Shanks

Either lamb, goat or venison shanks will work here. You can use fore shanks, back shanks, or sliced as for osso bucco.

Seasoning lamb shanks in a bowl with salt and pepper.
Season the shanks with salt the night before for the best flavor.

Green Garlic

Green garlic is garlic harvested while green and tender, before the scapes (flowers) start to form. It tastes like a delicious, garlicky scallion. You can substitute garlic and leeks for them.

harvesting Green garlic in the spring.
Young green garlic ready to harvest in the spring.


Pheasant back mushrooms can be found growing on dying elm and boxelder trees in the Midwest and across the country. Spring is the best time to harvest these mushrooms as they get tough fast as they grow and mature. If you can’t find them, shiitake mushrooms are a good substitute.

Pheasant Back or Dryad Saddle Mushroom growing on a log in the spring.
Young pheasant back mushrooms growing on a log in the spring ready to harvest.


Leafy Greens

I serve the shanks with leafy greens in this case, freshly picked nettle tops. Feel free to use your favorite leafy greens like chard or spinach to soak up the pan juices.

Bending the stem of a stinging nettle to show it's tender.
Common stinging nettles are a delicious wild green to eat in the spring.

Chef Alan Bergo
Chef Alan Bergo, The Forager Chef



This recipe is by James Beard Award-winning Chef Alan Bergo, a chef from Minnesota and author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora. Learn more about Chef Alan at 

Goat shanks with pheasant back mushrooms and nettles
Finished grilled lamb shanks with wilted greens and mushroom sauce.

More Goat and Lamb Shank Recipes

Greek Lamb Shanks 

Smoked Lamb Shanks

Sous Vide Lamb Shanks

Goat shanks with pheasant back mushrooms and nettles
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Grilled Lamb Shanks with Mushrooms and Wilted Greens

Tender lamb shanks braised with green garlic or leeks and mushrooms. Delicious with wilted greens and mashed potatoes.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Goat, Goat Shanks, Green Garlic, Pheasant Back Mushrooms
Servings: 2 People
Calories: 518kcal
Cost: 20


  • 1 grill or cast iron skillet optional
  • 1 Braising pot with lid


Shanks and mushrooms

  • 2 lamb foreshanks (roughly 1.5 lbs) you want shanks on the small side here for a single serving
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 oz lamb or pork bacon (1 slice) optional
  • 8 oz wild mushrooms such as morels, porcini, or chanterelles
  • 3 oz generous half cup green garlic or a combination of diced leeks and garlic
  • 3 cups lamb or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour or equivalent
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary


  • 4 oz fresh tender spinach or nettle tops or chard
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for spreading on the nettles at the table, optional
  • Fresh cut chives, for finishing, optional
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes warmed
  • 1 drizzle extra virgin olive oil for finishing, optional


  • Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper and allow to rest overnight, uncovered. The next day, smoke the shanks over a wood fire, or in a smoker at 300 F for 30 minutes. See note.
  • Sweat the bacon on medium heat until the fat has released in a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot large enough for the shanks. Add the mushrooms and green garlic, cook 3 minutes, push to the side, add the tomato paste and flour and mix to combine.
  • Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the lamb shanks and stock. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Cover the pot and cook for 1.5 hours or until the lamb shanks are just fork tender. Turn the shanks occasionally.


  • Wash the spinach or nettles, then steam for 4-5 minutes until they’re tender and taste good to you.
  • Reduce the shank liquid it until it's slightly thickened and season to taste.


  • Put the greens off-center in a wide plate with a rim, put down some mashed potatoes and a shank, spoon the mushrooms and pan juices over each one, garnish with the chives and serve immediately.



If you want to make it a one pot meal, you can add onions, carrots or potatoes to the shanks. 
I grill the shanks as it was spring time and I didn't want to heat the house. Alternately you can also heat oil in a large pan and brown the shanks over high heat, remove the shanks, add the vegetables, return the shanks to the pan with liquid and cook as directly.


Serving: 1shank | Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 600mg | Potassium: 1086mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1186IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 5mg