Australian Lamb on a Shovel


Australian Lamb on a Shovel

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Method: Direct grilling
  • Equipment: a clean metal shovel; logs, wood chips, or wood chunks (for a more pronounced smoke flavor, soak the wood chips or chunks in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drain them)


  • 1-1/2 pounds thick-cut rib or loin lamb chops (1 to 1-1/2 inches thick)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus olive oil for serving (optional)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and cracked black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 to 2 finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional), for serving

Recipe Steps

Traditional Method:

Step 1: Build a wood campfire with a good base of glowing embers. Feed fresh logs to the fire from time to time to generate plenty of wood smoke.

Step 2: Lightly brush the lamb chops on both sides with olive oil. Season very generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Heat the shovel blade in the fire. This serves two purposes. It helps clean and sterilize the cooking surface and preheats the metal so it will sear the meat.

Step 4: Arrange the lamb chops on the shovel blade, leaving an inch between each. Don’t overcrowd the shovel, it’s OK to work in several batches. Remember, in Australia grilling isn’t just about getting a meal to the table, it’s a whole evening’s entertainment. Thrust the shovel over the fire or lay it on the embers. Cook the chops until done to taste: 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning with tongs.

On a conventional grill:

Step 1: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. If using logs, wood chunks, or chips toss them on the coals (of a charcoal grill) or place in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch on your gas grill. For a more pronounced smoke flavor, soak the chips in water for 30 minutes, then drain well. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Step 2: Arrange the chops on the grate and grill until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side, turning with tongs.

Step 3: Transfer the chops to a platter or plates. Drizzle with a little more olive oil (if desired) and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing (again, if desired). Don’t forget to burn the fat and juices off the shovel when you’re finished.

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