Ring in the New Year with a Grilled Rack of Lamb
New Year’s Day is a wonderful time to get family or friends together. If you are looking for a meal to impress your guests for your New Year’s event, I’ve got just thing: The Australian rack of lamb from D’Artagnan. My wife and I began hosting New Year’s Day parties a few years ago. As you would expect, we serve a dazzling array of food, and each year, try to mix up the menu. This year, I decided to do a trial run with the rack of lamb and see if it would be a dish that would amaze our guests.
The Australian rack of lamb has a fabulous resume. It’s grass-fed and is humanely raised in a natural and free-range environment. The lambs feed on nutritious grasses like rye and clover. The lamb is clean-tasting, mild, and not gamey at all. No antibiotics or hormones are used on the lamb, and it is Halal- certified.
Grilled Rack of Lamb
Here is how I prepared the rack of lamb: I began by making a spice rub for the lamb. I selected spices that have an affinity for this meat. I toasted fennel seed, cumin seed, coriander, and black peppercorns in a medium hot dry skillet. I let them cool, then pulsed the spices in a spice mill to create a coarse texture. If you do not have a spice grinder, use a mortar and pestle. To finish the rub, I added kosher salt.
I set-up my Big Green Egg EXL (BGE) for indirect grilling and heated it to 400 degrees. I added two chunks of cherry wood to create wood smoke.
Next, I scored the lamb with a crosshatch pattern. The scoring not only looks cool, but it helps the rub to penetrate the lamb and release the fat as it melts. I painted the entire rack of lamb with Dijon mustard to add flavor and help the rub stick to the lamb. I generously seasoned the lamb with the spice rub and then placed it in the center of the BGE and inserted a digital meat thermometer to track the temperature.
The high heat of smoke-roasting and the toasted spice rub created a tasty-looking crust on the rack of lamb. Once the crust developed on the lamb, I basted the lamb with my fig and orange barbecue sauce. The sauce is a combination of fig preserves, cinnamon, honey, and the zest and juice of one orange. The mixture was heated in saucepan to incorporate all the ingredients. I cooked the lamb to an internal temperature of 135 degrees for medium-rare.
Taking the lamb off the grill, I then rested the lamb for ten minutes (do not skip this step or your lamb will be dry and the cutting board will be juicy). I sliced the rack of lamb into individual chops. The lamb chops looked juicy, and the blend of spices created a great crust on the lamb. The lamb was luscious, tender, like a filet mignon, and delicious. I liked the contrast of texture between the crust created by the spice rub and the succulent lamb. The spice rub was flavorful, but not overpowering. The sauce added a sweetness without being too sweet due to the acid of the orange and the spice of the cinnamon.
Finally, I served the lamb chops with an arugula salad with shaved Parmesan cheese, pistachios, julienned honey crisp apple, and a champagne vinaigrette.
The rack of lamb was easy to prepare, it cooked quickly, and revealed itself to be spectacularly qualified for our menu for an epic New Year’s Day party.
Recipes for Rack of Lamb
- Rack of Lamb in Mustard Crust
- Rack of Lamb with Toasted Spice Rub and Mint Chimichurri
- Finger Burner Lamb Chops
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