GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 21, 2013

Try your hand at lamb

Prep tips for this meat offered at Blues & BBQ Festival

By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times

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Blues and barbecue go together, and this year’s Newport Blues & BBQ Festival, held annually in July, offered a fantastic line-up of music and food, plus a meaty surprise.

The blues platform features the James Cotton Blues Band, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Matt “Guitar” Murphy with Rick Russell & the Cadillac Horns, Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, and Quinn Sullivan.

Eddie’s BBQ, Smoke House, Julians Smoker and Kinfolks BBQ were all in the running to take the top award for best barbecue at this year’s event. The lines were long to each contestant, but none matched the lines to Kinfolks BBQ. Thus, it was no surprise that the Brockton restaurant’s food was voted Best BBQ at the 2013 Newport Blues & BBQ Festival.

The unique find of the event however, was not in the mix of usual barbecue suspects of beef and pork. It was in fact not even a contender. The American Lamb Board offered samples of delicious and succulent lamb jerky and a booth filled with funny lamb-ear headbands as well as photos. In addition, one could learn all about the cooking times, temperatures by cut, and a few great recipes for lamb that you couldn’t find at the other stations.

American lamb is definitely worth trying to cook at home. However you decide to prepare it, when buying frozen lamb, the key is to thaw it properly first. After, you are ready to make lamb jerky or your favorite lamb barbecue.

How To Thaw Frozen Lamb

1. When thawing lamb in the refrigerator, lamb roasts and chops should be used within three to five days. However, ground lamb or stew meat should be used within one or two days. If you do not use the lamb within this time period, you may refreeze lamb without cooking it first.

2. When thawing lamb in cold water, leave frozen lamb in its packaging, making sure it is airtight. If not, transfer it to a leak-proof bag. Keep the lamb submerged in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to continue thawing. Cook lamb immediately after thawing. It should not be refrozen unless cooked first.

3. When thawing lamb in the microwave, as with the cold water method, when frozen lamb is thawed in the microwave, it must be cooked immediately. It should not be refrozen unless cooked first.

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Tips courtesy of American Lamb Board; for more tips and recipes, visit http://www.americanlamb.com.