Zucchini lamb taco boats

Last weekend we were part of hosting a Lamb and Wool festival in our little town for the 17th straight year.

One component of the event is a sheep shearing school. This training provides beginning and intermediate shearers with hands-on, step-by-step instruction to handle a sheep with care as it is shorn.

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Another thing that we do is offer a brief farm tour to discuss pasture and animal health. The questions that come from this tour help us consider things from another perspective.

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However, quite possibly the best-kept secret of the behind-the-scenes festival organization is our vendor dinner. Each vendor is invited to relax and enjoy fellowship with a lamb dinner. This year Sherrie came up with one of the best menus (we probably say this every year and every year it’s true).

This is one easy dish for your household…or up to 75 of your closest friends:

  • In a skillet, brown ground lamb with taco seasoning. Set aside for placing into zucchini boats.
  • Trim the top and bottom from medium-sized zucchini, then slice in half longways, scoop out center contents.
  • Shred lettuce and cheese enough to top each taco boat, and serve with salsa.
  • Serve hot.

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Smoked Holiday Lamb

We’ve had a lot of lamb in my 25 years. I’m pretty sure that our freezer has always contained at least 30 pounds of meat on any given day. One of the perks of being a sheep farmer’s daughter is being able to recommend a favorite cut of meat (kabobs) or a favorite marinade for it (Italian dressing [yes it’s that simple]). But in all my years, I haven’t seen my parents prepare this recipe. I’m 90% sure my dad developed it in a 1,400-mile drive to market lambs on the East coast.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours (dependent on grill and size of roast)
Estimated servings: 10-15

Ingredients:

  • Boned-rolled-tied roast lamb (3.5-5 pound shoulder or leg)
  • 1 medium-sized green bell pepper
  • 1 medium-sized red bell pepper
  • 1/2 medium-sized red onion
  • Jamaican seasoning/rub for grilling (we used a brand called Dizzy Pig, Jamaican Firewalk)

Instructions:

Preheat smoker/grill to 300°F using hardwood lump charcoal. Soak applewood or cherrywood smoking chips (this can be done up to 8 hours in advance to create the best smoke). Set up grill for indirect cooking/grilling (stone in place between charcoal fire and rack, or charcoal on either side of grill, not directly below rack).

Unroll roast lamb, season with grilling seasoning/rub. Cut peppers and onions into strips and lay strips on one end of meat. Re-roll roast and secure with string or skewers. Season outside of roast with grilling seasoning/rub.

raw lamb roast

My parents worked so fast to slice the peppers and onions for the center that this was the first picture I could capture. It’s that fast!

Place roast on rack in smoker/grill for indirect cooking/smoking. Add soaked wood chips to charcoal. Grill/smoke for 2 hours at 300°F or to internal meat temperature of 160°F.

Cooking lamb

The lamb roast looked especially pretty with the green, red and white veggies peeking out. The grill master is charged with responsibly tasting the meat (i.e., making sure SOME gets to the dinner table).

cooking lamb

The lamb roast should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit before removing it to be tented.

Rest roast with an aluminum foil tent for 15 minutes prior to carving, then remove string or skewers. Carve the lamb and enjoy with your favorite sides. Even the onions and peppers are fair game!

lamb meat

Carve the lamb and serve the onions and peppers as one of your meal side dishes. Notice the perfect smoke ring – yum.