Lamb doesn't seem to be the meat of choice here in America for most people however if you taste these smoked and seared lamb chops, you might decide to do them a lot more often!
Lamb chops are to a lamb as a bone in ribeye is to a cow. In essence, the whole rack of lamb is the “prime rib” of the lamb.
I keep these pretty simple with a dry brine and a little Texas rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) and in my opinion, they rival the best steak I've ever had, hands down. Try them soon and see if you agree with me.
Lamb chops are to a lamb as a bone-in ribeye is to a cow. In essence, the whole rack of lamb is the “prime rib” of the lamb.
There are 8 bones to a rack of lamb and a normal serving is about 5-6. I usually figure on 2 rack per 3 people but I nearly always throw an extra one into the mix since I don't want anyone leaving the table hungry.
If you see the word “frenched” on a rack of lamb it just means that the ends of the bones or ribs have been scraped and cleaned of all meat and fat. This gives you a “lollipop” like piece of meat on the end of each bone and is a little fancier.
If they are not frenched from the store or butcher, you can do that yourself very easily.
Rack of lamb is a very tender and somewhat lean meat so it is best eaten medium rare (cooked to about 128-130°F) for best flavor and tenderness.
I often cook the racks whole but lately I have been slicing these before cooking and they are SO much better in my opinion. More smoke flavor, ready to sear and serve each lollipop when they are done. It's a no brainer really!
Lay them bone side up so you can see where to make your cuts and use a very sharp knife to cut between each bone. If you have trouble, just stand them with the rib ends facing straight up and slice down between the bones. This is often the easiest way to slice.
At one end of the rack there is usually a piece that is much thicker than the rest of them.. consider trimming this one to match the others. This gives you an extra little medallion of meat that can be cooked alongside the others.
You can also slice after every 2nd bone to make the servings 2 bones each if you prefer however this will affect the overall cook time.
Once the ribs are sliced, lay them flat into a cookie sheet very close together so they can be salted for dry brining.
Chefs recommend about ½ teaspoon of coarse kosher salt per pound of meat however this is difficult to measure and dispense on small pieces of meat like this. My recommendation is to apply the salt fairly liberally on only one side. About a pinch on each one is sufficient and once you see what that looks like on one, you can use the shaker to replicate that coverage on all of them.
Place the pan of salted chops into the fridge for at least 2 hours although overnight is perfectly fine.
While the chops are brining, it's a great time to make up the glaze which will also serve as a binder for the Texas rub that will be applied later.
Stir the 3 ingredients together well then set it aside.
Once the chops are finished brining, remove them from the fridge and place the pan on the cabinet.
Brush each chop with the glaze/binder (top side only).
Apply a good sprinkling of the Texas style rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) to the top of each chop.
Set up your smoker for cooking low, slow and indirect at about 220°F. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
Oak is a great smoke wood for these if you have some otherwise, use what you have available.
Place the chops on the smoker grate or you can place them onto a pan/rack to make them easy to transport to and from the smoker.
I used the Camp Chef Pursuit, a portable, RV sized pellet smoker for this cook.
These will take approximately 25-30 minutes to reach medium rare so don't go stray far and you might even consider checking them at 20 minutes.
Use a quality instant-read thermometer such as a Thermapen to make sure they are finished perfectly!
When they reach 128-130°F, they are done cooking and after about a 10 minute rest under foil, they are ready for a quick sear on each side.
If you happen to be fortunate enough to have a Camp Chef Woodwind with the side griddle or perhaps another outdoor griddle, you can heat it up to about 425°F.
Otherwise you can use a hot grill, the oven broiler or a really hot pan.
Sear each side for about 20 seconds or until it gets the level of sear that you like, flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. Once done, remove to a pan and call them ready to eat.
Bring the pan into the house and keep them covered tightly with foil until ready to serve. If you have to reheat them, do so gently and only heat them to warm for best results.