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DrakeRemoray 02-15-2007 09:32 PM

Whole Lamb
 
Hi All,

I have a friend coming in town this week and we have ordered a whole lamb for next saturday night.

The lamb is supposed to only 22-25 lbs, so should fit in the oven with ease. I promise to take some pictures, but I was hoping to get some advice before hand? Should I roast is using retained heat? I think so, but at what temp? I can handle the seasoning and marinade, but I would hate to burn the poor little lamb...

I am thinking let the oven cool to 400-425F and then roast for 2 hours or so? What do you think?

Drake

CanuckJim 02-16-2007 02:32 AM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
Drake,

I'd go a bit lower and longer. Little lamb might dry out otherwise. You might want to put it in with a fire on for a bit, to seal the outside, but the rest of the cooking I'd do retained. Depends on how fast your oven cools, but maybe try putting it in for final cooking when you've got about 375, then start your timer. Lamb cooks quickly, but still you've got a lot of mass and bone to deal with on a whole animal.

I would certainly bow to the Argentinian contingent on this one.

Jim

DrakeRemoray 02-16-2007 10:41 AM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
The oven takes 3-4 hours to drop from 400 - 300 so I may be able to do it all retained. It tends to hover around 500 with any fire at all...though I like the idea of a little smoky fire going for the flavor aspect.

Anybody else have advice....this is for next saturday, so I have some time to ponder (and salivate).
Drake

CanuckJim 02-16-2007 12:24 PM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
Drake,

What was I thinking:confused: . Hey, Xabia Jim, what's the deal with whole lamb?

Jim

Xabia Jim 02-18-2007 12:56 AM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
Drake: Good Luck with this one...you're a brave man. I also want to try some larger pieces in the oven...:;) We have done the lamb legs and lamb shoulders. I'm thinking about a side of lamb next tiime. (so I'll be happy for your advice!)

Here's my 2 cents and then I'll ask the chief cook when she's done with the beauty rest. :) I'll post her advice too!

Okay, the first thing I'd do is make sure the lamb is warmed up well before it goes in the oven....hopefully room temperature. (All meat roasts should be warmed before cooking, down to the bone if possible. We take all our meats out of the fridge in the morning for our afternoon/evening cooking!)

I'm a low and slow cooker when I can be. But I also like the wood smoke flavoring so if you could have some fire or smoke with the roasting, I think you'll get a much better flavor. You could always take out the fire later. Even some wet wood chunks (bits or your firewood or commercial hickory, mesquite, alder apple?...Wal-mart/Lowes) on a few coals in the corner could give you some awesome smoke flavor to the meat. And don't forget a few wet rosemary branches in the fire!

......mmm 10 kilos of meat. I agree with Jim, you may sacrifice some meat where it is thin to get the larger masses cooked. You could cover some of these thinner areas (leg ends) with foil early if searing or later in the cooking to keep them from getting too browned. The big mass of meat and dish is going to help cool down the oven so I think your heat curve might be just a little quicker.

I'm sure you know that by using the fire or smoke, the meat can look cooked before it is due to the fire or smoke darkening effect. With more time, you could always pull it out if you think it's cooking too quickly. Even when "done" I would try and let it "rest". We cover our food with foil and then with towels or blankets while it is resting....usually helps finish the food but keeps it warm and juicy.

Keeping it moist.....
the marinade, oil and liquid will help with the moisture, cover the lamb if appropriate during cooking, and add some liquid if needed........How do we configure a spit for our ovens? I would definately try and turn the meat a few times, at least once.....during cooking. And/or basting with the marinade of course!

Are you going to stuff it? Do you have a meat probe to check temperature down by the bone? What are you going to use for a dish?

When I did my whole roast baby pig, I cooked it for 4 hours and it should have gone for 5 in the slow oven. It tasted great but was much better after we put half back in the slow cooling oven for a couple more hours. When I did the beef roast, it went too long and was more medium well....too much wine with the appetizer course! The lamb has been great, probably cooking in the 350 to 450 range with the side dishes for an hour to an hour and a half.

I think your two hours would work. If you seared with the fire, then cooled the oven down a bit (can you do that easily? Open it up, mop it out?) and let it go slowly, I think it will work fine as well.

Looking forward to hearing about this one and seeing the pictures!

¡Buen provecho!

Xabia Jim 02-18-2007 01:55 AM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
Vaughn's first impression was that it was too hot an oven.

Okay to sear for 15 minutes, but lamb does cook quick. Plan on low and slow for more tender meat....

Also suggested that you tie the legs (otherwise they can spread wider during cooking...we had that problem with the cochinillo so will tie them up next time)

And...maybe put some fruit in the belly...cool down the thinner area and adds some moisture.

XV

redbricknick 02-19-2007 12:00 AM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
We do a lot of spit roast lambs at home in Tas, and Mum bastes the living heck out of them. She makes up a marinade and constructs a paintbrush out of long herb branches which she uses to lilberally apply it. Tinfoil is in the mix too.. We've done lambs and goats in our oven at home too, but I've never been around to check it out.. I plan on building a spit roast system for my oven when I get er' done.. I'll email Mum for some details.. I'm all for low and slow too. We once had a party at home where we had three spits going, and a Hungi, which is a beast wrapped in leaves and cooked underground with coals. There was so much food that everyone forgot about a little goat which was slowly spit roasting away in a corner.. At two in the morning when my Dad remembered it, the remaining guests were treated to the most tender meat the had ever experienced. It fell off the bone..

Richard 02-20-2007 09:42 AM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
Is the 25 pound weight the live or dressed weight? ALso how big is your oven opening and interiro circumference?

Will be very interested in your experience and photos.

DrakeRemoray 02-21-2007 05:35 PM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
I do believe that 25lbs is the dressed weight (at least I hope so!). My oven opening is 12" tall (I think) and 19" wide (for sure).

Low and slow is sounding good...

Drake

DrakeRemoray 02-25-2007 07:33 PM

Re: Whole Lamb
 
5 Attachment(s)
Hi all,

Here is a report on the lamb.

The lamb was most excellent. I have attached a bunch of pictures. We ended up preparing the lamb a bunch of different ways. We took out the innards and grilled them (so lamb kidney is not our favorite, but we tried.) We butchered off the back legs and marinated them separately (one in a Cuban mojo and one in a Thai curry). We also marinated the rib cage section with the rib chops in the mojo. We took the loin chop section and tied up a roast with mint and garlic. The neck, head and other scraps went into a stock. We braised the front shoulders in a coconut and galangal (Thai ginger) broth.

We stuffed the marinated rib cage section with citrus mint and garlic and roasted that and the 2 legs in the pizza oven (at about 350 for 2 hours). I had built the fire at about 10 am, let the dome go white, scraped out the coals, let the oven equalize for about 1 hour, then left the door off for almost 2 hours before it was down to 350.

We had the pizza oven items covered so they would stay moist and probably should have uncovered them at the end for better browning, but they were done so we just removed them.

The braised shoulders went into a Thai soup with the lamb broth. This was very excellent. The loin roast we grilled on the gas grill and it came out very well. Both the legs were tasty. The coconut curry one was cooked a little more well done, but the rib roast and the mojo leg were perfectly pink.

Served it all with rice and some mini-bok choy par cooked then sauteed in garlic and butter, and also some caramelized fennel root.


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