My Beloved Osito,
Week 7 of the college football season is here and this week’s challenge brings the University of North Carolina (UNC). When I was in 9th-10th grade and my hoop dreams were in full effect, I dreamed of playing basketball in the baby blue unis. However, my 8-9 inch growth spurt never happened and my basketball handles and jump shot never quite developed like I hoped, but I digress. UNC’s sports teams are known as the Tar Heels which is based on two things. First, North Carolina, the Tar and Turpentine State, was known for exporting Tar and Turpentine from its pine forests used to build wooden naval battleships. The second basis for the Tar Heel name has deep roots in the Civil War. It was noted in a letter dated August 24, 1864 that General Robert E. Lee (commander of the, thankfully, losing Confederate forces) made the statement “God bless the Tar Heel
boys!” This statement was made in reference to Carolina soldiers after a battle where they continued to fight despite their supporting troops fleeing. They stood firm “as if they [had] tar on their heels.”(http://www.goheels.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205498279)
However, this week’s game meal has nothing to do with tar, Civil War or battleships, but instead their mascot, Rameses the Dorset Ram. As The U looked to bounce back into the win column, I looked to take a shot at grilling a rack of lamb for the first time. I figured lamb was close enough to ram, and for all I know the rack of lamb I selected could have been a young ram based on what I learned from Sheep 101, http://www.sheep101.info/sheepandlambs.html.
For the second week in a row, the game day meal came out with a ‘W’ while The U did not fare as well on the field. Getting off to a slow start is not the ideal way to start a football game or grilling. With my slow start, I was able to offset time by finishing the lamb in the oven, while The U was never able to overcome theirs. With a 20-3 deficit at halftime, they ended up losing 20-10. The lamb, I would rate a 7.5 out 10. It could have used more time to marinate and I wish I could have finished it on the grill, but no sense on dwelling on the past when you can’t change it. Consider it a lesson learned because tomorrow has its own challenges. Speaking of challenges, week 8 brings the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Hokies (¿Hokie? I know. I’ll explain).
- Marinade: in a food processor add olive oil, juice from half a lime, Italian salad dressing, dried thyme, dried parsley, garlic clove, chopped onion, dried Italian seasoning, black pepper and Cajun
- Clean lamb rack, coat with marinade, and place in refrigerator. Preferably 24 hours, but mine was only a few hours
- Set up your grill for indirect heat, but first sear the lamb for ~5 minutes on both sides
- Place on indirect heat for ~20 minutes on the top and bottom with the rack facing the heat
- Place back over the heat, bone side down with the tips closer to the heat to get the blackened tips for ~8 minutes.
- Cook until an internal temp of ~135-140 for medium (no pink on the inside as your mom likes to say)
- I served with creamy mashed red potatoes
Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”