When done right, a cooking a rack of lamb is an absolute delicacy. Is it date night and you want to impress that special someone? Make them this meal and you won’t be able to keep them away. Cooking a rack of lamb is really quite simple, but also very simple to mess up. Follow this recipe on how to cook a rack of lamb, and it’s aces.
The prep is the most important part of making sure this Q’ is all it can be. At nearly ~$22/lb and being mostly bone, lets make sure we do it right. To cook a rack of lamb requires a measure of patience and attention.
To trim and cut these requires a very sharp knife. Some say you can just throw the whole rack on the grill and call it a day. You should run from these people. A proper trimming is essential, and a sharp knife, like this one from Mercer, does a really great job.
To trim the rack, first try to trim as much of the fat cap off and as much of the fat that goes down the length of the bone. Be VERY CAREFUL and go slow. You don’t have the luxury of removing too much meat.
Next, we are going to slice them into “pops”. We could still cook it as a whole rack, however I think the presentation of these is much better. Slicing them into pops requires a very careful cut through the rack in the middle of every two bones, BUT it is very important to make sure that all slices are all the same thickness. If one ends up thicker or thinner, you’ll have to adjust the timing accordingly.
If you want three bone pops, you can! The recipe is the same; we cook a rack of lamb to temperature not time (except for searing). However, I would not go thinner than two bones. Unless you are watching it cook like a hawk, you can go from undercooked past perfect to overcooked in the time it takes you to say “Hold my beer”.
The rub is pretty simple. About 2 hours prior to cooking, mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, oil, mustard, pepper, and water. Every once in awhile, use the back of a spoon to press the concoction and squeeze out the juices into the liquid. Since a majority of the solids in the rub will likely be taken off during the cooking process, you want the flavor of the liquid to stay on. As the meat cooks, the water will evaporate, leaving the flavors that were leached into the water.
Marry the Meat and Rub
The easy part… apply the rub to the meat all over. Because we are using water and a little oil, there will be some runoff. Letting this sit while the grill heats up is ideal.
The method of cook here is the reverse sear. Setup your grill for indirect cooking, with the warm side for searing (as hot as you can). Let the grill warm up for at least 15 minutes for best results. If you have a searing device, whether by afterburner, or cast iron, you can use that to sear.
Place the lamb pops on the indirect side, lid closed, until the internal temperature is 110 degrees F as measured from a reliable digital thermometer. Once the internal temp is 110, move to the direct/sear side and cook 2 minutes a side. Remove when the temperature is 135 degrees. Below is a picture from my kitchen table, you should see the same.
The result will be a succulent piece of meat that will be sure to impress! For those that like more doneness, by all means cook until 145 degrees. However, I hope you do it because your taste buds say so and not because you think 135 is undercooked. Remember, the temperature will naturally go higher than 135 as it sits; there is residual heat.
Pair with a nice dry Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine, and you’re in business! Also goes great with Basmati rice and salad. I also recommend a little bowl with some kosher salt and another with 16 mesh pepper to allow your guest(s) to sprinkle on. Fancy!
Let me know how it goes! Happy Q’ing!
- 1 rack Lamb
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 3 tbsp Fresh Rosemary leaves (Loosely chopped)
- 1½ tsp Ground Pepper
- ½ tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Water
Make the rub
- Remove all the leaves from the rosemary sprig and loosely chop.
- Mix water, oil, rosemary leaves, mustard, garlic, and pepper at least 2 hours before cook occasionally pressing the solids to release their liquid.
Cook the Lamb
- Trim the lamb rack and carefully slice the rack into ~5 evenly thick slices, 2 bones each.
- Warm the meat on the grill on the indirect side until an internal temperature of 110 degrees F.
- Place lamb pops on direct heat for 2 minutes a side. Let rest until internal temp is 135 degrees F and serve.