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Grilled Rack of Lamb

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.

Grilled Rack of Lamb
 
Author:
Serves: serves 2-4 depending on appetite
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Trim the rack of lamb of most of the fat, but leave enough so that the rack doesn't fall apart.
  2. Pour the olive oil, soy sauce and garlic over both sides of the rack, and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt, pepper and lemon rind.
  3. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least one or two hours, or even overnight if possible.
  4. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  5. Place it on a hot grill with the fat side down for about five minutes or until a nice sear has formed.
  6. Turn it over and do the same thing on the other side.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove from the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  9. The temperature will rise a bit more.
  10. Keep it on the grill longer, for a medium or well done finish.
  11. Cut between the ribs and serve.
  12. MINT PESTO:
  13. 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.
 

 

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Potato Salad

Grilling season is right around the corner, and while most of us aren’t likely to host a big gathering due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you can still enjoy a backyard barbecue with the friends and/or family who are in your bubble. If you haven’t got an outdoor grill, it’s just as easy to cook this on the stovetop, using a grill pan to get those characteristic marks and flavor. Flank steak is not a tender piece of meat, so you’ll need to marinate it first, for a minimum of a few hours, or overnight.

Use a thermometer to test for the level of doneness you prefer — taking it off the heat about five degrees before the meat reaches the temperature you’re looking for. The meat in this post was cooked to about 125 degrees, then rested for a few minutes before slicing. While the meat rests, the temperature will rise a few degrees. Slice it thinly against the grain, on the diagonal.

What’s the perfect side dish for your meat? Well, potato salad, of course. While I love potato salads of all kinds, I am partial to the ones with an oil and vinegar base, the way my mother used to make them when I was growing up. But inspired by my friend Marie, whose food is always tempting, I took a cue from her and made a dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar, and using some “balsamic pearls” that were included in a food basket I won at a charity event. They are totally optional, and may be hard to find, but worth seeking for the unique look they add to the salad. Since chives are in full bloom right now, I added some chive flowers to the bowl too. For best results, use small yellow potatoes, like Yukon Gold, or fingerling potatoes, rather than the large starchy, baking potatoes.

Drizzle the chimichurri sauce over the meat for even more flavor, serve with the potato salad and a green vegetable and you’ve got a meal fit for company or a family backyard barbecue. The only thing missing is a bottle of good red wine. The recipes below will serve about six people, but if it’s just two of you, the leftovers are good the next day too. The meat is great served cold in a sandwich with the chimichurri sauce smeared on the bread, or made into a cold beef salad. If you get bored eating the potato salad a couple of days in a row, add it to some leftover vegetables and beaten eggs and turn it into a frittata. Leftovers never tasted so good.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what Ciao Chow Linda is up to in the kitchen (and other places too.)

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Potato Salad
 
Author:
Serves: serves 6-8 people
Ingredients
  • FOR THE MEAT and MARINADE:
  • 2 lbs. flank steak
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used parsley and lemon balm, but have also used cilantro, which not everyone loves)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (I used some homemade candied jalapenos)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE:
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (I used some homemade candied jalapeños)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano,( or if you prefer, cilantro)
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • FOR THE POTATO SALAD:
  • 2 pounds small yellow potatoes, like Yukon Gold
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • about ¼ cup parsley, minced
  • about 4 tablespoons chives, minced
  • chive flowers, optional
  • dark balsamic pearls, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients for the meat and place in a container at least four hours ahead of grilling..
  2. Cook over an outdoor grill, or an indoor grill pan until the interior of the meat registers about 120-125 degrees F. for rare, 125-130 for medium rare and 130-135 for medium.
  3. Take it off the heat a few degrees before the desired temperature because it will continue to cook slightly as it rests.
  4. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice it thinly, against the grain, on the diagonal.
  5. Serve with the chimichurri sauce.
  6. FOR THE CHIMICHURRI SAUCE:
  7. Mix all the ingredients together and stir, then drizzle over the cooked meat.
  8. FOR THE POTATO SALAD:
  9. Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and let cool to room temperature.
  10. Peel if desired, or leave skin on.
  11. Mix the dressing ingredients together with a fork or whisk, except for the chive flowers and the balsamic pearls.
  12. Toss the potatoes with the dressing.
  13. Place the salad in a serving bowl, and scatter the chive flowers and balsamic pearls on top.