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Grilled lamb rack with charred lime & mint salsa
Grilled lamb rack done hot and fast is a quick way to achieve a big flavor result. Pair with this charred lime & mint salsa for a fresh and bright finish.
Let’s talk about lamb. My Australian heritage has bestowed on me a number of things – a somewhat regretful sailors mouth, a deep appreciate for Vegemite, and a fierce love of lamb. Though New Zealand is arguably more famous for being the butt of sheep jokes, Australia actually has more sheep (and lamb) per head than our counterparts over the Tasman sea. So, we ate a lot of it growing up.
The lamb you can usually find in the US has been bred to be far less “gamey” than the lamb of my youth, likely because American’s don’t really love the taste of lamb. So they make it taste more like, lamb-lite. Or beef. It’s a curious phenomenon that I don’t understand, because I want my lamb to taste like lamb. Otherwise, I’d just buy another protein. I specifically seek out Aussie or NZ lamb (Costco has a good selection) for the flavor.
This recipe uses lamb racks, which is the same muscle/cut as a prime rib. Another name you may be more familiar with is backstrap, and this is the same thing, but with the rib bones left on. It’s DEFINITELY preferable to grill the racks whole, then slice into chops after cooking. This way you can control the perfect level of doneness.
If you haven’t tried lamb before, please do! Trust me. I often cook lamb in my grilling classes, and inevitably there’s always someone who has not tried it, or had it and disliked it. And in every instance, they are converted to being lamb lovers! Here’s the key: lamb needs to be cooked beyond rare, but still pink in the middle, so you’re looking for a perfect internal temp of 135-140 degrees. For most folks, if the lamb is too rare it can take on an unpleasant gummy texture.
The two essential tools for this recipe are:
- Hardcore Carnivore Camo lamb & game seasoning.
- A trusty instant-read thermometer (I use and recommend Thermapens).
You will also need to know how to set up a grill for two zone cooking.
Grilled lamb rack with charred lime & mint salsa recipe
- 2 lamb racks, 6-8 bones
- 3-4 tablespoons Hardcore Carnivore Camo seasoning
- 2 large limes
- 2 French shallots, peeled & roughly chopped
- 1 serrano chili, deseeded
- 4 oz mint leaves
- salt to taste
- Start by making the salsa:
- Cut the limes in half, and place cut side down in a dry skillet over a medium-low flame. Do not move the limes once they are in the pan. You are going to char the lime to develop flavor and sweetness, and loosen the juice. The lime will initially stick to the pan, but release when the surface is charred, about 10-15 minutes. Once charred, remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly.
- In a blender, combine the shallots, serrano and mint. Add the juice of the charred limes. For extra lime flavor, use a microplane to zest the skin into the blender, too.
- Blend until smooth, add salt to taste. If the paste it too thick you can add a small amount of water to loosen.
- Heat a grill for two zone cooking. I prefer using charcoal to grill. Coals take around 20 minutes to light in a chimney, and your grill will take at least 10 minutes to heat.
- Season the lamb racks on all sides with the Hardcore Carnivore Camo rub, then place directly over the coals or heat source. Sear 2-3 minutes per side to develop color and crust, then move to the indirect or cool side to finish cooking.
- Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the rack. When it hits 135-140 degrees, remove from the heat and loosely tent with foil to rest for 10 minutes.
- To serve, slice the racks into individual chops, and serve with the salsa.
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