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help! self doubt about lamb tacos for tomorrow's party

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ok, so we're having a party tomorrow and I picked up a boneless leg of lamb that I was sort of thinking of making into tacos. I started pulling the muscles apart tonight and only got half way (I forgot how much work that is!). I really wanted to have the small pieces of lamb to grill to get a better sense of doneness and also because people will be coming and going all day and it would be nice to throw pieces on the grill as people want to eat. Which I guess I'm committed to anyway now as it's half apart.

But now I'm having serious self doubt about what I'm doing. I was thinking of doing this marinade:
http://www.pithyandcleaver.com/?p=2194

but is that right? should I do something else? I'd be fudging the peppers anyway with ground chili powder.

I'm also making this chicken in the slow cooker tomorrow so I have kind of a backup meat that people can have whenever:
http://www.kissmywhisk.com/home/2013/...
I really like it (I just leave out the broth and use frozen TJ chicken thighs) and it's great with just avocado. And the sauce is already made.

But if I just grill the lamb without a marinade what will make it seem like it should go in a taco? I didn't make any slaw or anything, or salsa for that matter. Would a rub be better than a marinade? ack! help me chowhound geniuses! I won't have much time, as I have to make a cake in the morning and watch a toddler too.

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  1. As someone who's a fan of tacos for parties, I'll say that the marinade looks good -- am I missing something? Why are you second guessing yourself? Also, if you just grill the lamb plain, I think that would work too. Clearly you'll have a set up for people to assemble their own tacos, so that will send the message that the lamb pieces are meant to go in the tortillas.

    Wait, though, I'm assuming you'll have a make-your-own-taco setup but maybe you don't if you don't have any salsa. Do you have anything else for people to put on the tacos (shredded lettuce, diced tomato, grated cheese)? Because if not, I'd say you definitely need to marinate the lamb or those could be pretty uninteresting tacos. What else are you serving?

    1. You definitely need salsa, slaw, and other toppings. I'd marinate the lamb.

      1. Tacos without salsa??? You need to rethink this.

        1. Marinate the lamb.

          1. I think you need salsa or a slaw topping. Plain tacos (with any kind of meat ) needs a topping.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sedimental

              "Plain tacos (with any kind of meat ) needs a topping."

              I tend to agree. However, I don't think it needs to be a sauce or slaw. A squeeze of lime, some cilantro, and chile peppers would work fine for me. Admittedly, I'd go with a salt, pepper, and cumin rub on the lamb a few hours before grilling. I'm not much for wet marinades.

            2. Yum, lamb tacos! Can I come over?

              if you are not going to make salsa you at least need a host of toppings; crema, cilantro, radish, hot sauce, limes -

              but it sounds good - the chicken is a good add as some people think they dont like lamb

              4 Replies
              1. re: JTPhilly

                some people think they dont like lamb

                lol- married to one of them

                1. re: Berheenia

                  I didn't think I liked lamb either.
                  Had lamb twice in my life. Once, about 1 month ago - blech. Didn't like it.

                  Tried it two days ago at a restaurant and it was absolutely delicious!

                  1. re: pumpkinspice

                    Some people ( I am not saying you) confuse lamb with mutton. They try what is actually mutton and dislike it and think that is what spring lamb is which it is not.

                    1. re: Fowler

                      Eating the two, I would probably not know the difference....unless you told me since I am really still unfamiliar!

                      Only reason I know I had lamb is I ordered it off the restaurant menu :)

              2. Buy fresh tortillas, warm, from a local Tortilleria, which is, unsurprisingly, a store that makes fresh tortillas. One near me has a machine with a conveyor belt. I buy them still warm right off the conveyor. My local also sells chunks of confit'd pork skin called chicharones that taste like clouds of bacon

                1. You can just add salt and pepper to the lamb, then serve it with a couple of salsas, onions, cilantro, and lime wedges. It becomes borrego asado.

                  You could also try this Monterrey style of taco: flour tortillas, grilled lamb (nuthin but salt and pepper), once the lamb is grilled, slice pieces, stuff it into a taco with queso quesadilla or queso oaxaca or melty mozzarella, and some avocado slices. Then put the tortilla on the grill for a few moments so the cheese melts and the tortilla warms through. Serve with lime wedges and two options of salsas.

                  1. ok, so I'm listening to everybody's wisdom, and stopped by the store to get appropriate topping. Had to buy salsa at this point, but whipped up some crema, got some radishes to slice, cilantro, avocados and grated cotija. our supermarket tortillas are surprisingly good, and I'll throw them on the grill to heat. I still haven't marinated the lamb but I did manage to finish trimming it and the chipotle chicken is smelling great! also the cake is out of the oven. Fingers crossed I have enough food, my people seem to not know how to rsvp

                    I'm also making a big quinoa salad, and have some veggies to grill (zucchini and asparagus, plus portobello mushrooms for vegetarians/vegans to put in their tacos). also, everything is gluten free, just in case!

                    also have hamburgers and hot dogs for any kids or taco haters that come.

                    1. thanks, everyone - the party was a hit! The chipotle chicken was a *huge* win and the lamb was too though it was less of the star. In the end I just marinated it with oil and garlic, and was glad as someone wound up bringing hummus and pita so people could swing either way with it. Next time I'll probably commit on a more special marinade though next time I'm definitely not breaking down a leg of lamb. You all were spot on about the taco toppings. whew! People also *loved* the quinoa salad which surprised me.

                      i always forget that my friends, while bad at rsvping are great at bringing stuff to parties, so we now have way more food and booze than we started off with! and all good stuff! yay!

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kazhound

                        Sorry I missed this, as I did a * Lamb Taco * with a slightly different approach. on Friday Night as well. My dinner party theme was based on a Greek Style approach.which I *Wet Aged* two legs for a total of 32 days.then removed the lamb from their Cryovac packaging, removed the bones and prepared a simple marinade of:

                        Fresh Minced Garlic
                        Fresh Oregano
                        Fresh Lemon Juice
                        Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

                        The first leg was roasted low and slow in the oven at 225* to an internal temperature of 135*, removed from the oven and allowed to rest for 4 hours.

                        The second leg was roasted at 450* for the first hour covered in a roasting pan with the addition of some nice Paprika, white wine and stock made from the leg bones and a medley of vegetable scraps from the vegetables used for the menu intended to be grilled.

                        carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus,tomatoes, onions, scallions, mushrooms and maybe a few others I cannot remember.

                        After the first hour, the foil was removed and the thermostat was dropped to 350* for about another 2 hours of baking uncovered. The meat falls off the bone and becomes very easy to shred at this point.. The braising liquid is strained and reduced before being added back to the Shredded Lamb.

                        Back to the first lamb, it was charred on the grill for about 8-10 minutes and sliced. Having roasted it prior, it was a perfect medium rare and the short time on the grill warmed it sufficiently and put some great color on it.

                        Two platforms were offered.....Corn tortilla and Pocketless Pita/Naan....both grilled

                        Toppings were a Sheppard's Salad, Feta Cheese and an assortment of Olives. NO SALSA

                        A Greek Salad was also served with the Grilled Vegetables

                        For appetizers, there was a White Bean Dip, Barbecue Baby Back Ribs and a Shrimp and White Bean Salad, Tuscan Style.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          And you didn't invite us :( four, that sounds absolutely fantastic@

                          1. re: c oliver

                            Thanks for the kind words...I had cousins in from Canada and Singapore for my Grandson's Baptism....so I figured a nice little family get together was in order.

                            btw....how could i forget the fresh mint Tzatziki????

                            1. re: fourunder

                              Not sure why people are so insistent on slaw, salsa, etc. It's L. A. M. B. :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                It's that dam word T A C O....

                      2. Glad all worked out. I wouldn't give up on the leg of lamb. I would of butterflied the leg to make it easier to grill rather than going through all the work of making small pieces. So much easier. Then just slice across the grain.

                        1. I would have loved to eaten your lamb tacos.