Lamb and goat are not high-volume meat products in the U.S., and they are most commonly consumed by various ethnic groups where tradition and culture drive the preferences for them. Although both lamb and goat may be used in Texas Barbecue, lamb may be most often used in West Texas, and goat, especially cabrito, would be prepared most often in South Texas.
For class, we prepared lamb and goat three different ways: spit-roasted goat, crown rack of lamb, and rotisserie-roasted rosemary lamb leg. The spit-roasted goat was placed on a large motorized rotisserie over an open cinder-block pit and cooked with indirect heat from oak logs. The goat carcass was not seasoned, but was mopped during the cooking process with the Hill Country Barbecue Mop.
We made two crown racks of lamb by taking two half-racks that were “lolly-popped” (the meat between the ribs was removed down to the rib eye muscle) and tied together forming the “crown.” Sprigs of rosemary were placed in and around the racks before they were cooked in the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. The lamb legs were boned out, the seam fat was removed, sprigs of rosemary were placed on the outside of the leg muscles, and elastic netting was used to secure the leg before they were placed on the Weber Charcoal Grill rotisserie spit. For both the crown racks and lamb legs, Aggie Prime Rib Rub (salt, black pepper, white pepper, and thyme mix) was used as the seasoning. All meat was cooked to 145°F internally.
The goat was of unknown age, but it was definitely not a cabrito. We chopped the meat from the back, legs, and shoulder and served it with flour or corn tortillas, pico de gallo, and guacamole to make goat tacos out of it. The goat by itself was not very tender and was a bit strong in flavor. The goat was much better when served as goat tacos with the pico de gallo and guacamole.
The crown rack roasts and lamb legs were much better. The crown rack roasts were simply sliced between the ribs, and the students ate the chops with their hands. The combination of the rosemary and rotisserie cooking really imparted a great flavor to the lamb leg, which was served sliced with garlic-flavored red potatoes. For many of the students, the only lamb and goat they have eaten has been in this class. We will see if there will be more lamb and goat cooked by them now that they have had these unique ways of preparation.
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