I’m a rugby fan. Irish rugby is united. United way ahead of the politics of our little island. So when Ireland plays internationals, there are two Irish ‘anthems’ played. One is the Irish national anthem “Amhrán na bhFiann” or “A Soldier’s Song”, representing the 26 county state of the Republic of Ireland. The second is “Ireland’s Call”. This is played as a unifying anthem, given that Ireland’s rugby team is drawn from all 32 counties on the island.
I was thinking of Ireland’s Call while I was cogitating what to do with two lamb shoulders. Phil Coulter’s words, for he wrote it, start along these lines;
Come the day and come the hour
Come the power and the glory
We have come to answer
Our Country’s call
From the four proud provinces of Ireland
Together standing tall
Shoulder to shoulder
We’ll answer Ireland’s call
That’s when it struck me. Shoulder to shoulder. Why not have a Dublin / DFW lamb shoulder challenge? I still have enough chilis from Richard McGary to burn a hole in the earth’s crust so I decided to try a classic Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Shoulder and pit it against a Dallas Fort Worth inspired Three Chili and Honey Lamb Shoulder.
Those cow herding Texans have a big secret that makes this challenge OK. There are more sheep raised in Texas than in any other state. Yes Texas is big in sheep. So, DFW is in on this lamb thing. Despite all the spurs, lassoes, and cud chewing, they are sheep herders at heart. First thing to do is to soak the chilis.
While this is going on, I chopped the garlic and the rosemary.
The rosemary and garlic gets rubbed into the meat along with a little olive oil to make it stick.
Next I chopped the chilis.
This is mixed with the honey. That calls for a pouring shot.
Then it gets mixed and rubbed all over the DFW shoulder.
Both shoulders are put into plastic bags and then left to marinate overnight.
Then onto the barbecue with them both.
90 minutes over a slow barbecue and they are ready for the moment of truth.
We all ate some of each shoulder. The chilis had a beautiful, smokey hot flavour that worked really well with the lamb. The garlic and rosemary is a classic combination and worked beautifully.
Despite significant debate and eating every last bit of it, we could not choose a winner. The sweet, crispy and hot DFW lamb held its own against the aromatic, heady, succulent competitor. I suppose when it comes to the next time, we can decide and it will really be Ireland’s call.