Episode 303: Best Ribs Ever

Lamb Ribs with Greek Yogurt Sauce and Fennel and Orange Salad

Lamb Ribs

Other Recipes from Episode 303: Best Ribs Ever

Serves 6

You’ll also need: A rib rack (optional)


Lamb Ribs with Greek Yogurt Sauce and Fennel and Orange Salad


For the salad:

  • 3 large bulbs fennel with tops
  • 3 navel oranges, washed and dried
  • Extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Freshly and coarsely ground black pepper

For the lamb:

  • Fennel fronds (reserved from the salad above)
  • Fresh sprigs of thyme
  • Fresh sprigs of rosemary
  • 6 racks lamb ribs (about 5 pounds total)
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Freshly and coarsely ground black pepper
  • Granulated garlic powder
  • Granulated onion powder
  • Dried oregano, preferably Greek
  • Extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

For the sauce:

  • 1 clove of peeled garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated feta
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons, loosely packed, chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher), to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For serving:

  • Kalamata olives
  • Chopped fresh dill or fennel fronds (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek

Recipe Steps

1: Slice the feathery tops off the fennel bulbs (make the knife cut just above the white bulb). Reserve the tops. Remove any blemished parts from the outside of the fennel bulbs. Slice the bulbs from top to bottom (through the stem end) into 1/4-inch slices and arrange on a rimmed sheet pan. Slice the oranges into 1/4-inch slices as well and arrange on the same pan. Brush the oranges and fennel with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2: Set up your grill, preferably charcoal, for direct grilling and heat to medium-high. Brush and oil the grill grate.

3: Arrange the fennel and oranges on the grill grate and grill until both are marked on one side, 1 to 2 minutes, then briefly grill the other side. You want the fennel to remain raw on the inside.
Set aside to cool.

4: Arrange the racks of lamb ribs on a rimmed sheet pan. Score the fat/meaty side in a diamond pattern as you would a ham. Season generously on both sides with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, and dried oregano.

5: Reconfigure your grill for indirect grilling and heat to 400 degrees. Place the reserved fennel fronds, the rosemary, and the thyme on the coals to generate fragrant smoke. Arrange the lamb ribs on the grill grate, bone side down, or place vertically in a rib rack. Smoke-roast for about 45 minutes, or until the meat has shrunk away from the bones by about 1/2 inch and the tops are sizzling.

6: In the meantime, make the sauce: Combine the garlic, feta, yogurt, mint leaves, lemon juice, and olive oil in a bowl and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Remember, feta is salty, so don’t add too much.)

7: Arrange the fennel, oranges, and a handful of Kalamata olives in an attractive pattern on a platter or shallow plate. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

8: Transfer the lamb ribs to a platter and top, if desired, with chopped fresh dill. Serve immediately with the fennel and orange salad and the yogurt sauce.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2021 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

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