Primal Grill with Steven Raichlen
Season 3 in High Definition
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Primal Grill is filmed at Esplendor Resort in Rio Rico.
The Real Barbacoa: A Mexican Pit-Barbecued Lamb
Source: The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen (Workman, 2008)
Method: Indirect Grilling
4 to 8 hours for marinating the lamb, plus about 4 hours cooking time
Category: Meat
For the adobo paste and lamb:

6 guajillo chiles (or the equivalent of dried guajillo chili powder)
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 bone-in leg of lamb, 5 to 6 pounds

For the consomm:

1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 small green cabbage, cored and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 ear corn, shucked and cut into 1/2 inch rounds (optional)
2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs cilantro, and 2 sprigs epazote (optional), tied in a piece
of cheesecloth
8 to 10 cups of water
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 chipotle chile, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

For serving:

Warm tortillas
Salsa Mexicana (recipe below)

Other Items Needed:
Banana leaves or 8 to 10 fresh or dried avocado leaves (optional; if using dried leaves, soak for 20 minutes in cold water to cover); toothpicks

Prepare the adobo. If using dried chiles, stem the chiles, tear open, and remove the veins and seeds. Soak in water to cover until soft and pliable, about 20 minutes. Drain the chiles and place in a blender with the garlic, onion, oregano, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, salt, vinegar, and water. Process to a smooth paste.

Using the tip of a paring knife, make a series of slits in the lamb, 1/4-inch deep and 1 inch apart. Smear the chile paste all over the lamb, working it into the slits, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours (the longer the better).

Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-low.

Assemble the consomm. Combine the onion, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, tomato, potato, corn (if using), herb bundle, and water in a large fire-proof pot.

Youre now ready to assemble the barbacoa. Place the consomm pot in the center of the grate that holds the charcoal, or if using gas, the grill grate (away from the heat). Place a metal rack, like a sturdy cake rack on top, and layer the banana or avocado leaves, if using; if not using, oil the rack. Place the lamb on top of the leaves, fat side up, and cover it with the remaining leaves, using toothpicks to secure them. Cover the grill tightly.

Cook the barbacoa until the lamb is fall-off-the-bone tender, 4 to 5 hours. If using a charcoal grill, youll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side every hour. When the lamb is done, the internal temperature will be about 170 degrees F.

To serve the barbacoa, discard the top layer of avocado leaves and transfer the lamb and bottom layer of leaves to a platter. Let sit for 5 minutes, then thinly slice the meat or cut it into chunks. Remove the herb bundle from the consomm, then, using a ladle, skim off any fat floating on the surface of the soup. Stir in the chopped cilantro, chipotle, and salt and pepper; the soup should be highly seasoned. Serve the consomm first, then the meat. Accompany both with tortillas and salsa.

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