If you’re like most Americans, lamb isn’t the first thing you think of when you’re planning a barbecue for a holiday weekend. But with Labor Day just around the corner, you may want to reconsider. A rack of lamb cooked on the grill is delicious, easy to cook and makes a beautiful presentation. Lots of people think of lamb as having a ‘gamey’ or strong taste, but if you prepare it according to these directions, your family (and guests) will be asking for seconds.
This is typically how the rack of lamb looks when I bring it home from the market. As you can see, it has been “frenched,” meaning that the tips of the rack have been scraped clean of any fat or bits of flesh. But there’s still a lot of fat remaining, and in my opinion, the fat is what gives lamb the “gamey” taste that many people find objectionable. Also, removing most of the fat helps the marinade to penetrate better.
Use a sharp knife and remove most of the visible fat and the “silver skin,” as in the photo below.
Here’s a photo of how much fat I removed from just one rack of lamb.
Smear the herbs, garlic, olive oil and soy sauce all over the rack, on both sides. Let it sit in the refrigerator at least an hour or two, and if you have time, even overnight.
Place the rack on a hot grill and sear on both sides, before lowering the grill to medium heat.
Use a thermometer to test for doneness, placing it inside the thickest part of the lamb, and away from the bone. For medium rare, remove the rack when the internal temperature has reached 125 degrees. It will continue to cook when it rests off the grill. Optional – Serve with a mint pesto if desired.
- 1 rack of lamb (about 2 lbs)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a sprig of rosemary, chopped finely
- salt, pepper
- rind of ½ lemon, grated
- FOR MINT PESTO:
- about 1 cup of fresh mint, plucked from the stem and packed firmly
- ½ cup parsley leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons almonds
- salt, pepper
- grated rind of ½ lemon
- Trim the rack of lamb of most of the fat, but leave enough so that the rack doesn't fall apart.
- Pour the olive oil, soy sauce and garlic over both sides of the rack, and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, pepper and lemon rind.
- Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least one or two hours, or even overnight if possible.
- Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
- Place it on a hot grill with the fat side down for about five minutes or until a nice sear has formed.
- Turn it over and do the same thing on the other side.
- Then lower the heat, flip back on the fat side and cook until the internal temperature measures 125 degrees fahrenheit for a medium rare doneness.
- Remove from the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
- The temperature will rise a bit more.
- Keep it on the grill longer, for a medium or well done finish.
- Cut between the ribs and serve.
- MINT PESTO:
- Place the mint leaves, parsley, garlic, almonds, lemon rind and salt and pepper in a food processor. Slowly add the olive oil and process until a paste is formed. Add more olive oil to make a looser pesto.