Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Tandoori Lamb Ribs with Herb Chutney

By Steven Raichlen

  • Advance Prep: 8 to 24 hours for marinating the ribs

  • Yield: 4 servings
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  • 4 racks of lamb spare ribs (sometimes called Denver ribs—about 4 pounds)

For the tandoori marinade:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and rough-chopped
  • 1 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and rough-chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Indian orange food coloring (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup malt vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 lemons, 1 juiced for the marinade and 1 cut into wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons mustard oil or canola oil

  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Step 1: Remove the membranes from the back of the ribs. Arrange the lamb ribs in a roasting pan.

Step 2: Roast the spices: In a dry skillet over medium heat roast the cumin seeds until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Roast the garam masala the same way. Grind the cumin seeds to a powder in a spice mill.

Step 3: Make the tandoori marinade: Place the cumin, garam masala, garlic, ginger, salt, cardamom, mace, cayenne, orange food coloring, if using, and nutmeg in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. Add the vinegar and process to a smooth paste. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and mustard or canola oil and process just to blend.

Step 4: Using a spatula, spread the tandoori marinade over the ribs on both sides. Place the ribs in large resealable plastic bags, 2 racks to a bag. Spoon in any excess marinade. Marinate the ribs in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours, turning several times so they marinate evenly.

Step 5: The next day, set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high. Arrange the racks bone side down on the grate over the drip pan away from direct heat. Indirect grill the ribs until browned and cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.

Step 6: Just before serving, brush the ribs on both sides with melted butter. Move directly over the fire and grill until sizzling and browned on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Step 7: Transfer to a platter and serve at once with lemon wedges for squeezing and the herb chutney on the side.