First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

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First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Robert Reynolds » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:30 am

After feeding Harry, the Painted Desert / Blackbelly lamb all summer, and after witnessing him headbutting one of the Anatolian/Great Pyrenees pups (to steal the dog food), Gail and I decreed that it was time for Harry to be the scrificial lamb. So, I put him down this morning, we drssed him out and cut up the carcass, and I grilled a backstrap and the tenderloins for supper. A little EVOO, dried herbs, and a hot grill, cooked roughly medium... and while the taste was ok, it was like chewing shoe leather! I've often cooked fresh-killed venison the exact same way, with tender results. So, did I off Harry for naught?? Will there be redemption in the shanks or leg roasts? Or should I stick with deer and steer?
FWIW, the remaining lambs are safe from the slaughter. Not enough meat on the carcass to be worthwhile for us. :?
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Jim Cassidy » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:52 am

Did the pup's mom see that?

I'd guess that medium-rare might have been a bit more tender than medium, but a bit more tender than shoe leather is not what you're after. Those cuts are just not supposed to be tough.

Are you going to try braising the rest?
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Redwinger » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:40 am

A diet of dog food tends to make the meat chewy. :lol:


Edited to add emoticon.
Last edited by Redwinger on Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:52 pm

Lambs need a controlled environment for feeding if you want good meat. They are not carnivores. They eat plant based, along with mother's milk. This comes from our daughter who also raises chickens, goats, rabbits, for their food. Commercial dog food is not even good for dogs, unless you select the right kind. :wink:
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:06 pm

Wow, sounds like a real dilemma, and I don't have any answer for you! It certainly doesn't sound like the cooking method's at fault. And yes you might have better luck with the shanks, since they'll require 2 1/2 to 3 hours of braising which will add much tenderness.
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Jo Ann Henderson » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:18 pm

HI, Robert
Sounds like you did everything right to me. Especially since you were cooking loins, which tends to be the tenderest muscle on most animals. The only thing that might have made a difference is to let the lamb piece marinade for an hour or so in a Ziploc bag with a bit of citrus added to the herbs and EVOO, which would have broken down the fibers a bit before grilling. I'm with Jenise that cooking the shanks in a braising liquid will render better results, no doubt. Attached is a recipe from Mourad Lahlou, a couple of decades before he wrote his cookbook (this recipe is in the book also). I use far less honey in my preparation, but a couple tablespoons make all the difference. Hope Gail decides to make it. Enjoy!

Moroccan Lamb.pdf
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Sue Courtney » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:08 pm

You asked what did you do wrong? If I read this correctly you slaughtered, butchered and cooked the same day. Sadly, that could be the problem.
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:11 pm

Good catch Sue, I had not thought of that. Doesn't it depend on the age of the animal when slaughtered? Our butcher used to hang the meat for a week, as I recall. It has been a long time since we bought meat in bulk, though. I think he said the little bit of aging made the meat more tender.
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Christina Georgina » Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:48 pm

Totally what Sue said
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Re: First try at lamb, what did I do wrong?

Postby Neil Courtney » Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:04 pm

Sue Courtney wrote:You asked what did you do wrong? If I read this correctly you slaughtered, butchered and cooked the same day. Sadly, that could be the problem.


Yes, the two lambs that we have done on the spit were hung for several days prior to meeting the heat. They were both juicy and tender after about 4 hours on the spit. The older lamb (two tooth at least) that I had to put down after it broke its leg in a fence was not treated the same way and it showed on the plate, as I recall.
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