BBQ Achiote Lamb Tacos


12 Tacos

Achiote Taco


Achiote Marinade

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 7 ounces achiote paste
  • 1 serrano chili (stem removed)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons guajillo chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano

BBQ American Lamb Shoulder

  • 1 boneless American Lamb shoulder
  • 1 batch achiote marinade (see above)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons 16 mesh ground black pepper

Pickled Pineapple

  • 1 pineapple peeled and small diced
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 cone piloncillo
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves


  • 1/2 red onion small diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 14oz wheel queso fresco


Place all the achiote marinade ingredients in a blender and grind into a smooth paste.

Day 1 cooking directions for BBQ American Lamb Shoulder - Take boneless lamb shoulder and rub generously with marinade.  Place seasoned lamb into a pan and pour the remaining marinade over the lamb evenly.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2 cooking directions for BBQ American Lamb Shoulder - Remove lamb from pan and season both sides with salt and pepper.  Smoke lamb shoulder for 7 to 8 hours at 250F in a BBQ pit smoking with post oak (or your wood of choice).

Lamb should reach an internal temperature of around 195F.  Confirm the lamb is prob tender before taking it off of the BBQ pit.  Hold lamb hot until service. 

Place diced pineapple into a clean, sanitized and heat resistant glass pickling jar. Place rice vinegar, salt, and piloncillo in a stainless steel sauce pot. 

Bundle cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine.  Add spice bundle to pot and bring to a boil making sure to dissolve piloncillo. 

When piloncillo is dissolved pour hot brine over the pineapple add the spice bundle and close with the lid. Allow pickle to cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate overnight before using. 

Before using remove the spice bundle. 

Mix onion, cilantro, and lime and reserve. Crumble queso fresco and reserve.


Heat up 1 dozen yellow corn tortillas. Slice lamb shoulder against the grain. Place 2-3 oz lamb into each tortilla. Top lamb with onion/cilantro mix. Sprinkle 1 oz queso fresco per taco. Finish with 8-10 cubes of pickled pineapple.     

USDA recommends the following time and temperature parameters

Ground Lamb

Internal temperature of 160°F

All Other Cuts

Internal temperature of 145°F, with a 3 minute rest

thermometer timer illustration
Visit our Lamb Cooking Time & Temperature page for recipe inspiration and tips on preparing the perfect lamb.

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