Sunday, June 19, 2011

Roasted Lamb's Head

 I had seen this done on both Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and No Reservations and I was intrigued.  I mean really, what could be better than an animals head??  Acquiring the head was pretty easy, one of the markets in my neighbor hood sells Lamb heads for $1.99 a lb.  It was a pretty good deal, $7 for a head.

The first problem that I ran into was getting the head cut in half, all the recipes I found called for this.  When I picked the head up at the market I asked the butcher if he could do it for me. Unfortunately their saw was not sharp enough to split a skull. The head was frozen so it took a day and a half to defrost.  Finally we were ready to roast.

 OK, well not quite ready.  I still had a few things to do before she was ready for the oven.  Don't ask me why, I just know my lamb was a girl.  The recipe I was using had me remove the tongue and boil it for 30 minutes, that way it would be ready to skin.

It was pretty easy to get out of the skull, and once it was boiled the skin just peeled right off.  Meanwhile, I parboiled the whole head for 10 minutes.  I'm not sure why, but I figured I should follow all of the directions.

I'm glad I boiled it, because it seemed to release some sore of foamy toxins.

After I finished skinning the tongue, I marinated the head with olive oil, garlic, and oregano for a few hours.

Now, she was finally ready to go in the stove. 

The recipe called for roasting at 325 degrees for an hour and a half, so I figured I would just flip her over half way through.  By this time in the process the kitchen smelled like boiled lamb, delicious
I was a little bit shocked at how the eyeballs had turned bright white, but whatever.  The kitchen smelled much better now, like roasting meat.  Finally, the hour and a half was up so I took her out.

There seemed to be something oozing out of the eyeballs.

I have seen many a TV host go to town on a roasted animal head, so I figured I would do what they do.  Grab the bottom jaw and rip it off.

I like my meat medium rare, but this was a little to pink for me.  I put her back in the oven for another 20 minutes, but not before seeing that some of her brains leaked out.

After another round in the oven I was ready to try all the body parts I had heard were delicacies.  I wanted to start with the brains, but not enough had leaked out.  So after beating the skull several times with a little cast iron pan, I had enough to work with.  I spread them on some bread and took a bite.  They tasted like warm lamb pudding with a livery aftertaste.  Next it was time for an eyeball, I was pretty nervous about this one.  I mean, it had been staring at me all afternoon while I was cooking it.  It was much harder to get out than I thought it would be.
I just kept digging at it with a knife until it popped out, it was weird there seemed to be a lot of fat underneath it.

I pretty much just grabbed it, shut my eyes and chewed.  It did not really seem to have any flavor to it.  It was much more of a texture thing, kind of like lamb cartilage or jellyfish if you've ever had them.  Squishy, but crunchy all at the same time.

Now I was just ready to dig in and have some delicious meat.  Unfortunately the only meat I found was on the cheeks, other than that it was all either grizzle or fat.  So after eating the cheeks, I chopped up the rest and my dog had a feast.

I'm glad I tried this, but more importantly I was glad I did not get food poisoning like last time.

See you next month.


  1. OMG are you Kathy's daughter? When your mother was in high school she wouldn't eat ANYTHING! You look just like your mother, but you sure don't eat like her. Tell her Judy said "Hi!"

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  3. I have lamb's head at least once a month. Just salt it well, wrap in foil and bake overnight- like 10hrs- on very low heat in oven. 100 deg C. Sprinkle some white pepper and feast. PS. Always put it nose down so that all the stuff in the nasal cavity does not run through the meat.
    Rudi. South Africa