A classic traditional beauty – perfectly pink lamb rack with a flavorful herbed crust.
Lamb is one of those meats that makes people nervous. Too often, I’ve heard from people who are too scared to cook it at home, because they’re worried that they’re going to mess it up. I get it. Lamb rack, in particular, is a premium priced cut, and is so unusually shaped that it seems nearly impossible to cook well. I’m here to tell you – cooking delicious lamb is easy! There’s just a couple of things you gotta know:
Make sure you’re buying the right lamb racks.
Not all lamb racks are created the same. Well, I should say that not all lamb racks are trimmed the same. When the entire original fat cap is left on a lamb rack, it’s just WAY too much. I’m talking like an inch thick. That much fat just wont render out during normal roasting time, and ends up being ‘soapy’ and unpleasantly textured. Now, you could try and trim it (just like you’d trim a brisket), but it’s actually exceedingly tricky to do well. It’s very hard to make sure the trimming is even, and if you’re not super familiar with the cut, you might miss another pocket of fat that sort of envelops around the actual backstrap muscle. But, there’s no single specification for how a butcher should cut a rack, exactly. I’ve ordered racks online before that have had so much fat on them, it kinda made me mad thinking that I paid all that extra weight for fat that should have been trimmed… So it’s a real crapshoot.
Conversely, I personally don’t like a rack that has been SO trimmed back, it’s literally just meat and bone – and those are common, too. For me, the fat is where all the flavor is – the key is getting just the right amount. I have found that my favorite racks with the perfect trimming come from D’Artagnan. I usually order these Australian lamb racks (and that’s what you see in the picture for this recipe!)- because I also firmly believe Aussie lamb also has the best flavor. These ones in particular have a nice “tail” of meat in addition to the main backstrap muscle, and a perfectly proportioned fat cap. They often run specials and discounts on their site, too, so you can buy in bulk and store in the freezer.
Make sure you’re using a meat thermometer.
Lamb rack is wonderful when it’s cooked to perfect doneness. I happen to think the ideal temperature is to the medium side of medium rare. Too rare, and it can have an unpleasant gummy texture. Too overdone, and you’re darting into the dangerous territory of toughened meat. To nail the perfect doneness, I shoot for an internal temperature of 130-135, which will allow for a few extra degrees of carry over as the lamb rests. The BEST way to check the doneness is not to squeeze the meat and try to make futile guesses about it’s springiness, but rather to use a meat thermometer. It takes all the guess work out of it, and guarantees you a perfect result. And honestly, a meat thermometer is the real secret to cooking more expensive cuts of meat perfectly.
Recipe after the “how to” pics:Print