I was always afraid to grill a rack of lamb. I thought the fat would cause flare-ups. But a mix of indirect and direct cooking gives me picture-perfect results.
The rack is seared over medium-high heat, then finished over indirect heat. The whole process takes about 25 minutes.
Chinese five-spice powder adds dimension to the lamb. It's a simple way to add just a touch of Asian flavor. A quick salad of cucumber, red onion and seasoned rice vinegar adds another mild Asian flavor.
Make Ahead: The lamb needs to marinate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
Servings: 2 - 3
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- One 1 1/4-pound rack of lamb
- 8 ounces unwaxed baby or English cucumbers, (unpeeled) cut into 1-inch long matchsticks
- 3 ounces red onion, thinly sliced then cut into 1-inch-long pieces
- 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
Whisk together the five-spice powder, salt and oil in a small bowl, then rub the mixture into the lamb. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
When ready to cook, discard the plastic wrap around the lamb rack and any remaining marinade; bring to room temperature.
Combine the cucumber, red onion and vinegar in a medium bowl. Toss well, stirring every 5 minutes or so while the lamb is on the grill.
Prepare the grill for direct and indirect heat. If using charcoal, light the charcoal in a chimney starter and let the briquettes burn until flames subside and a light layer of ash covers the briquettes (about 20 to 25 minutes). Dump the lighted coals into 2 mounds (or, preferably, into 2 half-moon- shaped briquette baskets) on opposite sides of the grill. Place a drip pan between the piles of coals and fill it halfway with water. (If using gas, with a two-burner grill, set one burner to medium-low and leave the other unlit; with three or more burners, set the outside or front and rear burners to medium or medium-high and leave the center burners unlit.) The grill temperature should be 400 to 425 degrees.
Place the lamb rack over direct heat. Cook uncovered, turning the rack so the meat is seared on all sides, then move the rack to the indirect-heat part of the grill. Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes; the rack is done when the internal temperature of the meat, measured away from the bone, registers 140 degrees (medium-rare).
Rest the meat for 10 minutes before cutting the rack into individual or double chops. Serve with the cucumber salad.
From Mindful Makeover columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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