Spring is a great time to get the grill going for backyard cookouts. Spring is also a good time for lamb. Cooking your lamb on the grill makes for a memorable meal. Although lamb isn’t as popular in America for grilling as other meats it can be flavorful and mild tasting if it is cooked well. There are several important steps that will ensure a perfectly cooked lamb chop.
The primary way to get a good grilled lamb chop is to choose the right chop. For the tenderest cut get a sirloin, loin, or rib chop. A chop from the shoulder or leg is less tender and needs a good marinade to make it work well. You will need thick chops in order for them to grill properly – over 1-inch thick. Have the butcher cut them for you if necessary to get the right thickness.
Although beef can take strong rubs and seasonings lamb is more delicate. It tastes great with herbs such as rosemary and thyme. A little bit of garlic and olive oil mixed in with the herbs make a good rub for lamb. Another seasoning combination can include a bit of Dijon mustard, citrus zest, thyme and a spoonful of brown sugar. A simple Spanish recipe is to rub the chops with a paste of minced garlic and some salt and grill them. The trick is to add flavor without losing the essence of the meat.
Lamb chops can be marinated and put into the refrigerator for a few hours before grilling. Don’t add too much liquid or it can make the meat taste watery. Wine is a nice addition to a marinade and you can include garlic, herbs or citrus as you prefer. Wait until cooking to salt the meat. When removed from the marinade dry off any excess marinade and brush lightly with oil before placing the chops on the grill.
Rub the grill with some oil lightly. Now put the chops down on the grill where the heat is medium high. The chops will cook quickly, in just two or three on each side, and will taste best if cooked rare. Cook them medium rare if you must but don’t overcook them. The temperature on a meat thermometer should be about 140 degrees.
Remove the chops promptly and allow them to rest before serving. Five minutes is usually long enough for the juices to seep back into the meat. The rest period is the best way to ensure a juicy lamb chop.
Lamb chops are easily available in the store now and they are an increasingly affordable meat. Adding grilled lamb chops to your grill repertoire will add some variety to the menu and impress your guests.