An unusual take on a Mexican favorite, this Barbecued Lamb’s Head Carnitas with Masa from Richard Blais’s cookbook, So Good, substitutes the meat from a lamb’s noggin (and tail) for the usual pork. You should be able to special order a lamb’s head and tail from your butcher (ask them to clean out the eye sockets too). The head should be around 3 pounds, and the tail 2 to 3 pounds; there’s not much meat on the head, so the tail will add more heft to your meal. If you’re not feeling quite so adventurous, you can make the recipe with a pork shoulder, or even with a leg of lamb instead.
Whichever kind of meat you use, it’s marinated in orange juice, cilantro, cumin, ancho chile powder, and oregano, then roasted low and slow until it’s super tender. Fresh masa harina tacos make wonderfully fragrant and pillowy vehicles for the succulent meat, along with its reduced pan juices and whatever accompaniments you like. Mild salsa (like our Pico de Gallo recipe) and sliced radishes are a good way to go, but you can bring cotija cheese, avocado, pickled jalapeños and onions, or fresh cilantro to the party too.