American Lamb Recipes

Easy Lamb Barbacoa Recipes Using Shepherd’s Pride Lamb

Shepherd’s Pride ranchers pledge to adhere to the highest level of sheep-raising standards, including never adding hormones and never-ever administering antibiotics. These herds are source-verified. With just a swipe of a smart phone across the QR code on the “Where Food Comes From” label on the package, you can learn more about the hard-working, ethical families raising the lamb soon to be on your tables.

A 3-ounce serving of lamb contains more than 25% of the daily requirement for protein, zinc, niacin and vitamin B12, with only 8 grams of fat. Compared to other meats, lamb has very little fat marbling throughout the meat, meaning fewer calories per ounce.

Barbacoa is a cooking method that tenderizes less expensive cuts, making lamb more affordable for those wishing to try this Latin American celebration dish. Typically, barbacoa is cooked in a bland broth, like salted water.  However, slow-braised, all-natural lamb, perfectly seasoned, brings zesty flavor to the meat and also a full, meaty flavor to the broth.  Often this lamb-based broth bathes garbanzo beans and rice for a wonderfully full-flavored soup.

The traditional preparation for barbacoa entails whole sheep being slow-cooked in a pit covered with maguey leaves or, sometimes, over an open fire. Exciting preparations today make barbacoa more accessible among home cooks. Check out the recipes below for easy and delicious ways to prepare lamb barbaco!

Lamb Barbacoa with Avocado Tacos
Lamb in Yellow Mole Sauce
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Lamb Sliders
Crock Pot Lamb Barbacoa Nachos

Lamb Barbacoa with Avocado Tacos

Lamb Tacos

2 1/2 pounds of de-boned Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride lamb leg
2 tablespoons agave nectar

Chile Colorado Sauce:
1 Spanish onion, quartered
3 tomatillos, husked and washed
2 tomatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 New Mexico chiles, stemmed
4 ancho chiles, stemmed
1 ½ cups water, divided
Salt to taste

Toppings for Tacos:
16 to 24 corn tortillas
Sliced jicama
Avocados from Mexico, cubed
Chile Colorado Sauce
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a roasting pan with foil.

Rub agave nectar on the meat and generously season the lamb with salt. Pour the 2 cups Chile Colorado Sauce over the meat and rub it on all sides. Put the meat (fat side up) in the roasting pan. Roasting the meat fat side up allows the fat to drip down over the roast as it melts, thereby keeping the exterior nice and moist.

Seal the pan with two layers of foil creating a tight seal, and cook in the oven for 3 hours until meat is very tender.

Take the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for about 30 minutes.

When it’s cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, discarding any fat.

Chile Colorado Sauce:
Preheat the broiler.

Put the onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until vegetables start to get charred, about 7 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.

In a large dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chile peppers, turning them over, for about 1 minute. Transfer them to a saucepan with enough water to cover chiles and boil for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Drain the chiles and discard water.

Combine the vegetables and chiles in a blender with ¾ cup of water per blender (you’ll have to work in two batches) and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt.

Leftover sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week.

Set out all the toppings in separate bowls and serve with the shredded meat. Warm up leftover sauce for a salsa topping and let everyone prepare their own tacos.

Makes 16 to 24 tacos

Recipe and Photo courtesy of Muy Bueno Cookbook,  Adapted from Aaron Sanchez – Simple Food, Big Flavor

Lamb in Yellow Mole Sauce

Lamb Mole

Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  6 hours

4 pounds Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride lamb shoulder chops, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 mint sprigs

5 guajillo chiles, seeds and veins removed
5 tomatillos, rinsed
2 tablespoons corn flour
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 salt
1 large Yukon gold potato, sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 large carrots, sliced in bite-sized pieces
2  Mexican squash, sliced in bite sized pieces
1 cup fresh green beans, ends removed and chopped into thirds
lime juice and onion slices for garnish

In a 5 quart pot add lamb, water, onion, oregano, garlic, salt and mint. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. Do not discard broth.

Soak guajillo chiles in hot water for 30 minutes. Discard water and place in a blender.  Add tomatillos, corn flour, garlic, pepper, salt and 2 cups of broth from lamb. Blend until smooth.

Place blended sauce in with the lamb and add potatoes and carrots.  Stir to combine and continue to cook over low to medium heat for 15 minutes.  Add squash and green beans and cook for 10 minutes more until all vegetables are tender.

Serve with a sprinkle of lemon juice and sliced onions.

For slow cooker method: Follow all steps and place in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or until lamb and vegetables are tender.  Serve with lemon juice and sliced onions.

Makes 4-6 servings

Recipe and photo courtesy of Nibbles & Feasts at

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Lamb Sliders

American Lamb Recipes


Cooking time:  6 hours

3 pounds Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride lamb shoulder, boneless or bone-in
2 dried Ancho chiles
2 chipotle chilis, dried or canned
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 garlic cloves,
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

Slider buns
Avocado slices
Cherry tomatoes

Add chiles, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, garlic, oil and water in a blender and blend until smooth.

Place chili mixture and lamb into a slow cooker.  Cook on high for 6 hours or until meat is tender and falling apart.

Serve with slider buns, avocado, cherry tomatoes and jalapenos.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Hott Mama in the City at

Lamb Barbacoa Nachos – Crock Pot Recipe

lamb nachos

Preparation time:  15 minutes
Cooking time:  6 hours

1-1/2 pounds Cedar Springs or Shepherd’s Pride lamb shoulder
1/4 cup water
1 chipotle chili
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
corn tortillas
vegetable oil, as needed

Suggested toppings:
Queso fresco
Lime juice

In a crock pot add lamb, water, garlic, chipotle chili, salt and pepper.  Place on low for 6 hours.

Cut corn tortillas in quarters.  Heat oil in shallow skillet over medium heat and fry tortillas until crisp for approx. 2 minutes turning half way through.  Place on paper towels to drain.

Shred lamb and layer on tortilla chips with your favorite toppings.

Makes 6 servings

Recipe and photo courtesy of A Thrifty Diva at

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