Looking for an amazing recipe? This Perfect Grilled Rack of Lamb recipe comes out wonderful every single time. Have your butcher French the rack for you to make slicing easy and presentation stunning.
A brief history of lamb: table of contents
Lamb. It seems to be the one common protein that people immediately have an opinion on. Either you love it or you hate it. But, I believe, that comes from a few singular experiences with it and an interesting cultural history with it that is influencing us and keeping Americans in the dark for something the rest of the world seems to enjoy eating.
True or false:
My parents never ate lamb. Or… My parents hated it.
Most people are going to say true. Followed by “I/They didn’t like the flavor.” It was too “gamey,” “tough,” or “weird.”
Chances are you are confusing a few things. Mainly, Lamb and Mutton.
What’s the difference between Lamb and Mutton?
Mutton, which is often described as ‘gamey’ and finds itself much less preferred, is a little older when slaughtered and was a staple of the food we used for our soldiers in World War II. That ‘gamey’ flavor people talk about is very present in mutton.
That’s right, mutton.
And since the 1940’s the sheep industry in America has been on the decline. There are other reasons as well, but I am sticking to food here.
Bear with me, I am getting somewhere here.
A little about Mutton
Mutton also requires different cooking methods to ensure that it is tender and has a wonderful flavor, not a chewy overpowering mouthfeel.
So, think about it. Your father, grandfather or great-grandfather probably had an awful experience with mutton. And, it wasn’t just mutton, it was canned mutton.
And yes, in the 40’s everything was canned and boiled beyond any point of return, but even I wiggle my nose at the sound of canned mutton. I’d bet your lack of experience with lamb has little to do with it at all, but more about preferences that were established at a very different point in our culinary history and under rather terrible circumstances.
Returning from WW II, most people had no desire to ever eat mutton again. Which means there was an entire generation of young people never exposed to the real deal. It’s the same time that farmers were becoming more rural and big box stores and convenience took over.
Even if there was a chance to try lamb, how would one prepare or safely cook a cut they weren’t familiar with?
Oh, and since it wasn’t on every ranch anymore, at the same time that pork, poultry, and beef harvesting were becoming more efficient, the price tag went up to. Now we have an expensive cut of meat most grandparents believed they didn’t like. It’s easy to see why sales declined. A lot.
Travel outside of the States, and you will see a lot of countries still eating a fair share of it (and mutton). Many global dishes use various cuts of savory stews and braises. I loved the fork-tender meat-filled tagines while in Morocco with fresh fruits and olives.
Australia has its lamb barbecue game on point and their production is rising rapidly (notice the label when you are sourcing your meat). And even in some places here and there throughout the US, it’s starting to make a comeback on regular menus. (Try the sausage. Seriously. Try it.)
So I am issuing a personal challenge: Do some homework. Chat with a local butcher and bring home a cut for an upcoming date night or impromptu friends celebration.
Let’s see if we can make room in our repertoire of recipes for lamb and give it a much-needed second (first?) chance.
Are you a fan of lamb? What is your favorite cut and cooking method?
Ok enough with all that, now onto the fun stuff – cooking.
How to buy a rack of lamb
Look for a rack that has been frenched meaning, trimmed with the top of the bones cleaned of meat. I factor about 2 to 3 chops per person, and purchase as many racks as needed.
Love lamb, but looking to save money?
Price compare a full rack to individual chops. Chances are you will save a few bucks if you are willing to slice the rack into chops yourself. Or grill it whole (hint hint, wink wink) and slice it for perfect medium / medium-rare chops served.
What temperature should a Grilled Rack of Lamb be cooked to?
Lamb, much like beef can be cooked to different temperatures for different cuts. See this chart below:
Cooking temperature for Lamb
- Rare: 115 to 120°F.
- Medium-rare: 120 to 125°F.
- Medium: 130 to 135°F.
- Medium-well: 140 to 145°F.
- Well-done: 150 to 155°F.
- Ground: 160°F.
Now, with this short history of lamb, here’s the best recipe for grilled rack of lamb you’re ever going to try.
Need more inspiration? Check out the Lamb Archives here on GirlCarnivore
Or try some of my favorite unexpectedly amazing dishes:
- Cumin Spiced Lamb Meatballs
- Lamb Stuffed Peppers
- Grilled Lamb Chops
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Lamb Burgers
- Tumeric Ground Lamb and Eggs
If you’ve tried my Perfect Grilled Rack of Lamb recipe, or any other recipe on GirlCarnivore.com please don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know where you found it in the comments below. I get inspired by your feedback and comments! You can also FOLLOW ME on Instagram @girlcarnivore as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
Perfect Grilled Rack of Lamb
- 4 tbs good quality dijon mustard
- 1 tsp kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Pepper
- 1 tsp fresh Rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp Brown sugar
- 2 Garlic cloves minced
- ½ tsp Apple cider vinegar
- 2 racks lamb frenched
- Clean and oil your grill. Preheat grill for indirect heat by building a fire only on one side of the grill.
- In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary, brown sugar, garlic, and apple cider vinegar together.
- Rub liberally all over the racks of lamb and allow the lamb to rest 20 minutes before grilling.
- When ready to grill, place the lamb, fat side down on the hot side of the grill, and allow grill marks to appear, 3 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer to the cooler side of the grill and cook, lid down, for another 15 to 25 minutes for a temperature of 130 internal.
- Remove from grill, wrap in foil and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing along the ribs to serve.
- Serve with Cayenne Maple Roasted Veggies