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Grilled Rack Of Lamb With Herb Garlic Marinade

Treat yourself to a succulent, tender grilled rack of lamb infused with a wonderful garlicky, herby, zesty marinade.

The grill creates a beautifully charred crust while maintaining a juicy tender inside.

two sliced double lamb chops beside rest of rack of lamb on cutting board.

Rack of lamb is like the prime rib of beef – a high-end cut. It can be pricey so it’s important to get it right. The biggest tip I can give you is to use a meat thermometer to achieve the temperature you like best.

For dinner, I slice the rack into double chops (two bones) and for a decadent appetizer, I cut single chops (and serve with lots of napkins!).

Check out to tips below to get the best results.

What to expect

An easy recipe that creates delicious, tender, juicy, well-seasoned lamb chops.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

raw rack of lamb, lemon, mixed fresh herbs, garlic, salt, pepper, oil..

Rack of lamb: The 3 main producers of lamb in the North American market are America, Australia and New Zealand. The taste and texture for each are somewhat different and a matter of personal preference. See ‘what kind of lamb should I buy’ below. Racks of lamb are often 8-9 bones each, range from 10-34 ounces (0.6-2.0 pounds) in weight, and come frozen or fresh. Trim the fat layer to 1/8 inch (3 mm). Any rack of lamb will work with this recipe. You will just have to adjust the cooking time.

Marinade: We are using a zest herby marinade that flavors the lamb beautifully. The marinade is made with lemon, garlic, Dijon mustard, fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley), olive oil, salt and pepper.

Step-by-step instructions

herb lemon marinade in bowl.
Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl.
raw rack of lamb coated with herb marinade on plate.
Brush half of the marinade on the rack of lamb, letting the lamb come to room temperature for 30-60 minutes while it marinates. Reserve the remaining marinade.
grilled rack of lamb on grill with foil covering the bones.
Cover the bones with foil to prevent burning. Sear lamb on high heat for 2-3 minutes per side until charred. Lower the heat and continue cooking until the thermometer reaches your preferred temperature (doneness).
grilled rack of lamb on cutting board with parsley.
Rest the lamb for 8-10 minutes before slicing.
four sliced double lamb chops off rack of lamb on cutting board.
Slice into individual chops between the bones as double or single lamb chops.
Serve with remaining herb sauce or other condiments (these are single chops also called lamb lollipops).

Tips for best results

French the bones (optional): This means that the bones are stripped of all meat and fat making for a lovely presentation (as pictured). You can ask the butcher to do it or french the rack of lamb yourself (ambitious!). The imported lamb tends to be sold this way in vacuum-sealed packages. It is not essential to french the bones but it does look nicely finished.

Bring the meat to room temperature before grilling. This will ensure even cooking. I do this while marinating the lamb.

Cover the exposed ends of the bones with foil to avoid burning them on the grill. Some charring is fine, but if they get too brittle, the bones will break off.

Use a meat thermometer or probe to gauge the temperature and doneness of the meat. This is the best way to avoid overcooking!

Let the lamb rest before slicing it into chops to allow juices to redistribute and stay in the meat (not on the plate).

Degree of Doneness

The most popular choice for lamb doneness is medium rare with an internal temperature of 125-130°F (52-55°C). The meat will be warm pink/reddish, juicy and tender.

For medium doneness – a pink center – the temperature should be about 140-145°F (60-63°C). Increasing the internal temperature for more well-done lamb will create firmer and less juicy meat.

Tip: Remove the lamb from the grill at 5 degrees f lower than your desired temperature as the temperature will rise by that much while resting.

What kind of lamb should I buy?

Lamb generally comes from 3 countries – America, New Zealand, and Australia. You will have to experiment with your preferences. Here are some differences:

  • American lamb racks are larger, less gamey tasting, tender, slightly sweeter, grain-fed and milder in flavor.
  • Australian lamb is medium-sized, has a stronger, gamier taste, and is mostly grass-fed (with some grain-fed now).
  • New Zealand racks are the smallest, grass-fed, robust flavor, firmer texture, rich and full-flavored, tender and leanest.

What to serve with rack of lamb

Condiments and sauces: The delicious reserved herb lemon and garlic lamb marinade can be used as a dipping sauce.

Alternatively, serve the lamb with a 5-minute herb sauce, peach chutney, homemade mint sauce (a classic British condiment for lamb), gremolata dressing or tzatziki. Or check out the mint chimichurri in our sous vide lamb chop recipe.

Side dishes that pair really well with this lamb main course are:

Great salad options: fig salad with pomegranates, charred corn salad, lemon orzo salad with grilled vegetables and roasted vegetable salad with quinoa.

Shortcut

You can skip marinating the lamb if you don’t have time. The meat won’t be as flavorful, but if you serve a sauce or condiment with the meat, it will be just fine.

Instead of the marinade, spread a thin layer of Dijon or prepared mustard all over the lamb and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary.

Make ahead

While you can marinate the lamb ahead, cooking, slicing and reheating it ahead will affect the texture and doneness. Not a great idea.

Here are some options:

  • Marinate the lamb for 30-45 minutes ahead while it comes to room temperature. If you want to prepare the lamb several hours ahead, marinate it in the fridge and leave out the lemon juice as it will start to ‘cook’ the lamb.
  • Grill the lamb up to 30-45 minutes ahead of time and loosely cover the lamb at room temperature with aluminum foil. This will keep it warm.

Store leftovers in an airtight container. I find the best way to reheat it is covered in the microwave for a minute or so on medium power. Add extra seconds if needed.

two sliced double lamb chops beside rest of rack of lamb on cutting board.

Love lamb?

Try our foolproof sous vide lamb chops with mint chimichurri.

And here is a recipe for rack of pork if you’re interested – roasted in the oven. Or a sous vide rack of pork – pork roast sous vide – delish.

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!

two sliced double lamb chops beside rest of rack of lamb on cutting board.
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Grilled Rack Of Lamb With Herb Garlic Marinade

Treat yourself to a succulent, tender grilled rack of lamb infused with a wonderful garlicky, herby, zesty marinade. The grill creates a beautifully charred crust while maintaining a juicy tender inside.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
marinate and rest40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 -4

Ingredients

  • 1 whole rack of lamb, Note 1 1 1/4-2 lbs/570-907 grams

Rack of lamb marinade and sauce

  • 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or mix of thyme and rosemary)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • MAKE MARINADE/SAUCE; Whisk together all lamb marinade ingredients in a small bowl – or place in sealed container and shake well to combine. See alternative and shortcut Note 2.
  • PREPARE AND MARINATE LAMB: Trim excess fat on rack of lamb if needed to about 1/8 inch (3 mm) or slightly more. French bones if desired and needed, Note 3.
    Brush half the herb marinade all over lamb. Let it sit on counter 30-45 minutes to bring to room temperature an marinate at the same time. Cover exposed bones with a piece of aluminum foil to avoid burning them.
  • PREPARE GAS GRILL while lamb is marinating. Heat to medium-high heat, about 450F/232C. Clean grills and spray with oil.
  • GRILL RACK OF LAMB:
    °Place lamb rack, fat side down on hot grill. Insert temperature probe if you have one. Grill for 4-5 minutes, turning to the bone side halfway through until nice crust forms. Remove foil.
    °Turn burner off under lamb and turn down heat of other grills so that temperature of BBQ is about 350F/177C. Continue to cook lamb on indirect heat for 10-15 minutes or until it reach 5 degrees f less than your desired doneness – it will rise further when resting – Note 4. Check temperature with an instant-read thermometer if you don't have a probe. Transfer to cutting board.
  • REST and SERVE: Let lamb rest for 8-10 minutes to retain juices in meat. Important!. Slice rack with a sharp knife into double or single chops between the bones and serve with remaining marinade/sauce.

Recipe Notes

  1. Type of lamb to buy: A rack of lamb is usually 8-9 bones and ranges in weight from from 10-34 ounces (0.6-2.0 pounds) in weight. It can be frozen or fresh. Experiment to find your preference:
    • American lamb racks are larger, less gamey tasting, tender, slightly sweeter, grain-fed and milder in flavor.
    • Australian lamb is medium-sized, has a stronger, gamier taste, and is mostly grass-fed (with some grain-fed now).
    • New Zealand racks are the smallest, grass-fed, robust flavor, firmer texture, rich and full-flavored, tender and leanest.
  2. Alternative and shortcut for marinade/seasoning: You can skip marinating the lamb if you don’t have time. The meat won’t be as flavorful, but if you serve a sauce or condiment with the meat, it will be just fine. Instead, spread a thin layer of Dijon or prepared mustard all over the lamb and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary. 
  3. French rack of lamb: Rack of lamb often comes with the rib bones already frenched which means that the ends of the bones are stripped of all meat and fat making for a lovely presentation (as pictured). You can ask the butcher to do it or french the rack of lamb yourself.
  4. Degree of doneness for lamb:
    • medium rare – internal temperature is 125-130°F (52-55°C). The meat will be warm pink/reddish, juicy and tender.
    • medium – a pink center – the temperature should be about 140-145°F (60-63°C).
    • medium well and well done: Increase the internal temperature by 5-10 degree – this will create firmer and less juicy meat with no pink.
  5. Make ahead: Cooking, slicing and reheating the lamb ahead is not a great idea. It will easily overcook and change texture. Here are some make-ahead things you can do: 
    • Marinate the lamb for 30-45 minutes ahead while it comes to room temperature. If you want to prepare the lamb several hours ahead, marinate it in the fridge and leave out the lemon juice as it will start to ‘cook’ the lamb.
    • Grill the lamb up to 30-45 minutes ahead of time. Loosely cover the lamb with aluminum foil and let it sit at room temperature. This will keep it warm.
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container. I find the best way to reheat it is covered in the microwave for a minute or so on medium power. Add extra seconds if needed.
 
Nutrition values are estimates that include approximately 3 small marinated single chops or one-third of a 1 1/4 lb rack of lamb. Values and portions would be higher if only serving two people.

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 506mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 605IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
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