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Monday, September 10, 2012

The Silence of the Lamb Chops...

Ok, this post has the potential to gross some people out, but for me, it only makes my stomach grumble while I eyeball the clock to see if it's time to cook up some lunch or something.

My friend Robin, of Meridian Jacobs Ranch, raises Jacobs sheep for multipurposes. In the past I've purchased her wool (fiber) and even Jacob lamb pelts at the ranch, but I've always had my eyes on... uh... my stomach on... purchasing lamb meat. I finally put in an order, and to that end, yesterday afternoon I drove to Meridian Ranch, ice chest in tow.

I wasn't the only one on hand, members of the ranch's Farm Club were on hand to, to pick up their 'bonus' lamb. It was quite an operation. Earlier, Robin picked up the year's culled ram lambs, that is, ram lambs that didn't make the cut for breeding or sale purposes, from the local butcher. After loads of weighing of individual butchered lambs, we got one lamb onto Robin's kitchen island. In the first photo below Robin takes a picture of one lamb, of which I purchased half. That's a lot of lamb I can tell you!

One entire lamb - which I think is a cross of Black, Blue face Leicester and Jacobs
Once the lamb meat was spread out,  and divided into two whopping big portions, it was time to vacuum bag and seal up the meat. Robin had just the tool for the job. Ever see a new fangled item and then wonder how the heck you ever managed without one? Well, the vacuum sealer hit that spot for me, it was amazing! Robin fixed up empty bags, I packed each sack with what cut/quantity of lamb I wanted, then Robin vacuum sealed the bag. She says the bags can as easily seal wool (to keep out moths) and other goods, as well as food. Oooo gotta get me one o' dem!

Robin prepares an empty sack for meat storage.
 Here is what my 1/2 lamb looked like when all vacuum bagged up and ready for my ice chest. I was drooling like a hound dog at a BBQ I can tell you!

Half that meat isn't even visible as the sacks are on top of each other in the middle - about 45 lbs - that's a LOT of meat!
Rusty, musing on if he will get a cut of the goodies - hey, he herded those buggers didn't he?
There are chops, shanks, flank, riblets and other cuts among the lot. On the way home I got the idea of flank steak in my head - that is my all time favorite cut of lamb. When I got home I carmelized some thin sliced onion, garlic & red pepper. I then pushed the veggies aside in my pan and added flank meat, some salt & pepper. After flipping the meat and cooking a bit more, I added maybe 1/3 cup of port wine, and a couple tablespoons of Pomegranate Molasses (a Moroccan specialty) and let the liquids reduce a bit. Oh, dear me, that was one amazingly delicious din-din. Hum... wonder if this method will work with riblets?

I know, I know Paul McCartney. Just a few months ago, that innocent little ram lamb leapt and cavorted happily in Robin's green meadows. Well Paul, the lamby had a short life, but a good and happy one: no stress, no cruelty and loads of fun times. There, there Paul... shut up and eat your tofu... there's a good Beatle.

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