Lamb doesn't seem to be the meat of choice for most people here in America however, once you taste these smoked 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 smoked lamb chops 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.
Step 1: Slice
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.
Step 2: Dry Brine
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.
Smoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.
It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.