We didn't win squat! After smoking for 8 hours over apple and hickory, mopping with a Moonlight mop, wrapping and resting in a heated cooler for an hour, shredding and pulling and removing all fat, we didn't win squat.
I really liked the lamb. It tasted like an outstanding smoked/barbeque lamb. It was tender, moist and flavorful. I'll post the losing recipe later in the week, but damn, I'm cooking this lamb again. To me - this was a winner.
Here's a list of the contestants for this year's Lamb Takedown
. All worthy opponents. We didn't get to try most of the entries unfortunately. The crowd was too large and many of the teams ran out of food. I hope when Matt Timms does this again, he sets up a competitors choice award where all of the cooks get to taste the competition.
- Robert and Johanna Fernandez - Blue Moon of Kentucky Lamb
- Sara Morrisson - Lamb Sliders
- Blondie and Brownie - Rock the Casbah Lamb
- Emily Hanhan - Lambda Eata Thai meatballs
- Jen De La Vega - Wham Bam Thank You Lamb
- Trish Tchume - Indian Pizza
- Ross Hutchison + Joanna Cybulski - Team Redneck caviar
- Mike O’Neil and Christine Schmitd - Lambs in a blanket
- Jordan Goldstein - Harissa Explained it All
- Jules Acampora - Lamb Stew
- Melissa Sands - Hoi Tomato Lamb Noodle Soup
- Ben Conniff and Henry Chan - Baa Baa Bruschetta
- Keavy Landreth - Lamb Cupcakes
- Ben Sargent - Cocoa Loco Lamb Chowder
- Cody Burke - Rogan Josh
- Sarah Howland - Mini Greek Gyros
- Tony Santoro - Grape Leaves of War
- Greg Erskine - Gyro Pita OPA!
- Carol Pitts - Vietnamese Lamb Stew
- Barbara Warnock Morgan - Baa-BQ
The judge's winners (who received fancy cookware and knives) were: Wham Bam Thank You Lamb, a Filipino-style braised lamb stew, Harissa Explains It All, oroccan spiced lamb with carrot salad and minted lebne
and Lamb on Goat, smoked lamb shoulder braised in bacon marmalade atop a round of goat cheese polenta all took home honors.
The people's choice winners were...
- 1st Greg Erskine - Gyro Pita OPA!!!!
- 2nd Ross Hutchison + Joanna Cybulski - Redneck Caviar
- 3rd Jordan Goldstein - Harissa Explained It ALL
- 4th Cody Burke - Rogan Josh
- 5th Sara Morrisson - Lamb Sliders
- 6th Ben Conniff and Henry Chan - Baa Baa Bruschetta
I learned a lot from this experience. The first thing I learned was that presentation matters. When I decided what to cook - I gave it no thought on how to serve it or present it. We decided to serve the lamb on tortilla bread with a slice of dill pickle. Sounds good right? Well, it looked like shit and was extremely messy to eat. And it was almost impossible to pick up.
Also, 13.5 lbs of uncooked lamb shoulder, which was provided by the American Lamb Board, is no where near enough for 250 people to sample! We ran out of meat long before this was over and when the picture above was taken we were no longer making lamb sandwiches but placing a few strands of lamb on 1/6 of a tortilla with the slice of pickle.
We almost made it to the end. When I do this again, I will seriously look for ways to supplement the meat, as all the winners did either with toppings, fillers or serving containers like bread or crackers. Something to take down the flavor of the meat. We, my wife and I, tasted most of the winners and we both thought that the flavor of the lamb was masked by the other ingredients. Sometimes so much, that the lamb flavor was completely lost. Our lamb was front and center. There was no mistaking it for anything but lamb. Maybe that wasn't a good thing.
And finally, I've learned that the rules of the barbeque competition circuit don't apply in the Takedown world. In the barbecue world, it's a meat contest. End of story. Here in the Takedown world - its all about presentation, combinations, creativity, degree of difficulty and familiarity.
A gyro wins? Seriously? Now I didn't taste the gyro - but look at what it was up against. The sliders were served on home made potato buns. Lamb shoulder braised in bacon marmalade atop a round of goat cheese polenta. Moroccan spiced lamb with carrot salad and minted lebne - hell I don't even know what lebn
I can't wait for the next one! I will whip you yet, Takedown! Just you wait!
Labels: american lamb board, barbecue, barbeque, bbq, competition, lamb, takedown