We all know my love for lamb goes beyond even my love for pumpkin beers and thus I am sad to say I havenít had it much recently because it is just so expensive. But the other night, at a friendís birthday party, I met a chef named Larry Siffrin. He told me how he cooks lamb and that it involves hitting it after it cooks with a marinade. I had to do a double take when he said it and check his drink. He wasnít slurring. He wasnít listing. He was enjoying an adult beverage, but he was by no means drunk. ďMarinating after the grilling,Ē I thought to myself. ďThatís a new one for me.Ē I looked at him and said, ďLarry, tell me more about this process.Ē And he did and I knew it wouldnít be long before I would be grilling some lamb. Exactly one week later, I made this recipe which is his with only a few minor tweaks.
Grilled Lamb PRE Marinade:
1/2 cup Village Press Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp minced rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp fresh chives
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (not pictured)
2 racks of lamb
1 pinch salt and pinch of black pepper
The Ingredients, at least most of them
Wait. Pre Marinade? I thought this dish was all about the post marinade? It is. But just because weíre doing a post marinade doesnít mean we canít do a pre marinade too. I want to infuse the lamb with some flavor before I ever get to the post marinade part.
First I want to talk about the olive oil:
Village Press Olive Oil
I was contacted by the folks at Village Press
asking me if I wanted to sample it and if I liked it if I would use it on the site. So full disclosure, they gave me the stuff, and fuller disclosurer, I liked it. Iím no olive oil snob but I know when it goes bad and why. Three things really hurt olive oil Ė light, heat and air. This is a plastic bladder of olive oil inside a box. Sort of like box wine, but in this instance itís a really good idea to box the liquid. The cardboard will insulate the olive oil from heat like setting it near a burner. The box keeps light out, and the bag keeps air from getting inside the container since it collapses in on itself as the bag empties. To me this is brilliant.
Back to the grilled lamb recipe.
Obviously you could use whatever olive oil you choose if you donít have any Village Press on hand. Combine the salt, pepper, oil, garlic, red wine vinegar and onion in a bowl and then go to work on the fresh herbs:
And put all the pre marinade ingredients in a bowl:
Pre Mixed Pre Marinade
The quickest way to mix the pre marinade is not with a whisk, but with a lid. Slap the lid on and give it a good shake:
Mixed Pre Marinade
Toss the lamb into a plastic bag and pour in the marinade and refrigerate:
Marinating little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Marinating little lamb, whoís meat is great asyou knowÖ
Obviously I only did this for a five bone rack, but thereís enough to coat two whole racks. Marinate for as little as two hours to over night.
The following day, prepare the grill (in this case a Char-Griller Akorn) for a low fire and smoke the lamb indirect with charcoal (or burners lit) on one side and no heat on the other with the lamb on that side:
On the Grill
If you are wondering what the hole is. My grill has a center piece that comes out of the grill grate so I can add more fuel or smoke wood. In this case I used a blend of soaked chips from my local grocery store (hickory, apple, cherry, and sassafras).
And when I say low heat, I mean low. 200 is the max you want to go here:
All you want to do is impart some smoke flavor but not cook them all that much. We will be searing at the end where a lot of cooking will take place, so go low and slow.
Now go prepare the post marinade for the grilled lamb as it will smoke for close to an hour.
Grilled Lamb Post Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup parsley
1 tbsp thyme
2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of salt and pinch black pepper
I was a bit pressed for time, so instead of chopping all the ingredients, I used the food processor. I simply apportioned out the ingredients on a cutting board:
Post Marinade Dry Ingredients
And I dumped them all in a food processor:
Blended by Chunky
I smoked the lamb for a total of 55 minutes. When the meat began to firm up, I went for the sear. I did this totally by feel. If you donít feel that confident to do that, use a probe or instant read thermometer and sear them when they hit 120 degrees internal temperature for rare to medium rare. For medium rare to medium, wait till they hit about 135-140.
I had two choices for searing. Putting them over the side of the grill that is hot, but I didnít get the grill all that hot so it would take a little while for it to heat up. Instead, right next to my charcoal grill is my Char-Broil TRU Infrared
I Love my Infrared!
Itís PERFECT. The TRU Infrared puts out some serious heat, allowing me to get the grill to 700 degrees in a couple minutes and it doesnít dry meat out like a charcoal or conventional gas grill. So I tossed the grilled lamb on the Char-Broil to sear:
Flipped and Repeated
Donít forget to sear the ends
Once the grilled lamb is nicely charred, bring it inside and place on a sheet of aluminum foil:
Ready for the Post Marinade
Then cover with the post marinade paste:
Donít forget the other side and the ends
Then seal it in the foil and let rest:
Resting is vitally important. When meat comes off the grill, the juices are in the excited state because of the heat. Cutting into the lamb right away will result in the juices rushing out onto the cutting board. But allowing them to rest means they can settle down and redistribute throughout the meat and ensure a juicy bite from start to finish. And for this recipe, it cooks the post marinade just enough to awaken the flavors without overcooking them.
After 8 minutes, open the foil:
Ready to serve
Notice how the bright green post marinade has darkened as it cooked and soaked up some of the sumptuous grease on the outside of the lamb?
The question becomes, did I over or under cook the lamb since I went by feel alone? Well, since I always include a teaser shot at the top, and if youíve already been to the site you know, that these are darn near perfect for me:
Ready to Eat
Herbs can have their flavor cooked right out of them, same as garlic, which is why many chefs toss the herbs in right before plating a dish. Essentially, thatís what I did here. This way the herbs and garlic cook for only a little bit, fully opening up the flavors and putting them on the plate (and subsequently in your mouth) at just the right time. I canít quite explain how fresh the herbs and garlic were when I tore through these meat lollies in about 30 seconds. Itís like a misty spring morning in your mouth. All the flavors are at their fullest like a I harvested the herbs myself and ate them within minutes of removing them from the stem. It was absolutely refreshing.
And if youíre wondering whether or not I had a well rounded meal. Iíd say so. This Joel Gott Cab rounded out the meal nicely:
if you liked the grilled lamb and want to see other grilling recipes done by the Grilliní Fools with lamb.
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