Smoked whole lamb

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Damn, that looks killer!!!
I bet that little lambs name was, YUMMY!!!

Lamb is one of my favorites, growing up we had Greek family friends that lived across the road from us that cooked whole lamb several times a year.
I love the fact that you threw in some heads and heart, to top it off the homemade corn tortillas are MONEY!!!
 
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Baaaaaaaad to the bone goodness right there. Nicely done it looks and sounds fantastic.

Point for sure
Chris
 
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Thanks for all the kind words. It was a great experience, we got to share it with a couple of awesome families, we are truly blessed.

Since the is so little info on while lamb on the web (aside from the garbage that gets parroted by bloggers and YouTubers that have never actually done it) here is my full run down. I also will edit and add some details throughout.

The set up: 20 lb lamb. Dry aged for 1 week. Buterflied by using a hatchet to split the pelvis and crack the ribs in each side of the spine. Seasoned with 10 tsp salt and 15 tsp ginger black pepper. Smoked in vertical offset at 275 F. Primary wood was Russian olive with a few pieces of oak through. Used 3 water pans (full size hotel pans). 2 right where the firebox opening is. Those were useful for balancing the heat side to side. 1 Pan directly under the loin/saddle/ribs to slow the cooking of the much thinner areas.

The cook: Smoked for about 9 hours! I thought 4 to 5 would do it and we would rest it for 2 hours before eating. WRONG! Lol. The stall was serious, especially in the leg. I thought the shoulder should have lead the legs since shoulders need more serious heat to break down. But the shoulders stalled WAY less. Next time I'm going to put more heat on the legs and target them hit the stall at least 30 minutes before the shoulder and then try to balance the temperature from the out. I started it with the lamb on its back for the first 3 hours and flipped it bone side down. Next time I'd flip 4 or more hours in to even it out a little.
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The mop and sauce:
At the end of the day, I don't think I could taste anything but lamb and smoke. I don't think it got anything, but not sure it made a difference in the flavor dept. Next time I'll probably just put some salt and pepper in 50/50 water /vinegar. Switching to peanut oil at the end I think was a good call since the lamb didn't have solid fat cap. I made a sauce for the tacos. Started with this sauce ( https://www.smokingmeatforums.com/threads/whole-lamb.54753/ post 3). Was too blunt for me, so I added about equal parts home made Texas style BBQ sauce. It turned out good, but I don't think I'll start with a mustard based sauce again.

The pull:
This is the part I wanted to know before I did the cook, so hopefully this is helpful to at least 1 person, lol. We raise and butcher sheep, so this wasn't just a 20 lb lamb. I was there worrying about her dam as she struggled with her first lamb, I made the decision to cull this lamb to manage our flock, and I did the deed when it was time. So it's understated to day there was a lot at stake for me here. "Risking" this much in a single cook flying blind was never wracking. (not to mention the 16 hangry kids running around). I pulled the lamb because we couldn't wait any longer. All 4 shanks were splitting /falling apart, ribs were splitting and shoulders were probe tender. Leg was about 185 in the thickest part and still proving tight. I figured if nothing else we'd save the legs and finish in oven or something. (Spoiler alert, the legs weren't just fine, they were great).

The result:
I'd read this about whole hog , but didn't understand what was meant. "The different textures are the best part". I get it now. When you cook a cut of meat, you get tender inside and *hopefully* good bark. Texturally it's 2 notes. With the whole animal, each different muscle responds to the long cook time different. Here is my run down:
Shanks: the thicker parts were exactly what you expect from shank, lean, tender, moist and flavorful. Easily shredded by hand. The very end of the shanks got crispy and crunchy. Not it the tough jerky way, but almost like pork rinds kinda way. And salty! Delicious.
Shoulder: my favorite lamb cut, so expectations are high here. Shoulder had allot of variation, because there is so much muscle group and thickness variation. Some if it was shredable, some pulled off the bone but had to be sliced. All is it was tender and moist. Great flavor.
Ribs and breast: I said shoulder was my favorite cut, but I lied. I love lamb ribs. I think the water pan came in clutch here. Despite being so thin, the rib meat stayed moist and tender. Perfectly rendered. The membrane held everything together, but was inedible. Had to cut into rib pairs with a knife, but were easy to separate since they were cracked at the spine.
Loin and tenderloin: I had written these off. So little meat, and lean, I figured they would be dry, and was willing to sacrifice for the rest of the cuts being done. Loin and tender loin were able to be pulled out as whole muscle and sliced into medallions. Both were okay. Dry, but not terribly so. Very tender and flavor was okay, not a lot of lamb flavor. If someone doesn't like lamb, you might give them cuts from the loins.
Legs: The wild card. Everyone say, "you HAVE to cook leg of lamb med rare, or it's inedible!" Lesson: don't listen to people on the Internet, lol. Was able to debone the legs with my hands then slice. Flavor was fine, better than the loin, but not by much. Another good choice for this that *think they* don't like lamb Meat was tender and shockingly moist. Not BBQ, coat your mouth in gelatin moist, but more like a steak is moist. Not sure how at 185 it, but I didn't ask to many questions, just enjoyed the gift.

Summary : What an experience! Unfortunately one family had to leave and just got a sample of the shoulder. 20 lbs lamb fed 5 adults and 12 kids under 13 easily. I froze an entire half of the lamb and still have enough shredded leftover for dinner tonight. Easily could feed 10 + adults. Lamb is so rich, you can estimate less meat per adult than you would pork or beef in my experience.

If you are thinking about doing a whole lamb here are my tips.
-Do it. It's worth it.
-Start early. And probably cook hotter. I think 300 would have been fine as long as you are mopping and protecting the thin ribs.
-Don't worry. I fretted so much about trying to get everything done together. Tried to do research, but never found anything helpful. There will be variation, and that's the fun of it. Part of what makes it special. All of it will be good, even if it's not exactly how you would have cooked that cut.
-Mop. I don't think it matters to much what you mop with, but do think doing it helps. Next time though, I'll only mop the parts that need it. I think mopping the legs slowed then down and the are so big, they didn't need the protection.
-Don't overthink the seasoning and mop. Aside from salt, I don't think anything else I applied did much.

Thanks for watching!
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Watching. I’ve thought about getting one to butcher. Had some chops on Wed. I’d only had mutton an aunt roasted years ago never had lamb til I bought some chops last year, and we like it.
We actually butcher most sheep as hogget or mutton. Much better yield and at least on our breed, flavor doesn't change.
Looks like an excellent mop and love the herb mop
Unfortunately I left the mop jar on the fire box to keep the butter melted, but it cooked the herbs and my broom fell apart, lol. Next time I'll use full rosemary branches if we have them. Since we harvested and dried just a couple weeks ago the pants are pretty paltry right now.
Damn, I need one of those for the 49ers Rams game. I only have a boneless leg of lamb.
I have a Rams head I can mail you, lol. Horns still on.
Just impressive right there!!!!

It looks very tasty! Nice work! I would have been full doing taste tests!
I did sit down with a plate because I wanted to try a taco, but yeah, not much beans or salad were eaten 🤣.
Damn, that looks killer!!!
I bet that little lambs name was, YUMMY!!!

Lamb is one of my favorites, growing up we had Greek family friends that live across the road from us that cooked whole lamb several times a year.
I love the fact that you threw in some heads and heart, to top it off the homemade corn tortillas are MONEY!!!
Thanks! Unfortunately, I didn't check that the hearts were cleaned properly (they weren't), so they didn't taste good. The dogs thought they were acceptable though. In January we'll get beef hearts and THOSE will be cleaned properly.

The tortillas were great! We put some of the older girls to work making them. They had never done it before. I don't know how they got them pressed so thin! They were perfect!
 
our breed
What is the breed?
I’ve got the seasoning down pretty good for smothered chops or grilled that my wife and kids like now. I cooked one batch that she didn’t care for too much. That had me thinking a sheep may be too strong.

I remember the mutton being pretty strong from my aunt’s meals.But she always made a lot of crescent rolls with it that I loved so that made up for it. Dad wasn’t a fan as he’d cooked a lot of it in the Navy and never wanted it.
 
What is the breed?
I’ve got the seasoning down pretty good for smothered chops or grilled that my wife and kids like now. I cooked one batch that she didn’t care for too much. That had me thinking a sheep may be too strong.

I remember the mutton being pretty strong from my aunt’s meals.But she always made a lot of crescent rolls with it that I loved so that made up for it. Dad wasn’t a fan as he’d cooked a lot of it in the Navy and never wanted it.
We raise Navajo Churro sheep. They are a wool sheep. Not sure if that is the difference, but I think they taste better than the hair sheep I've tried. People with hair sheep don't let them get older than 9 months. 1.5 years is our typical butcher age.
 
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