Grill smoke marries well with the assertive, slightly gamy character of young lamb (as opposed to older mutton). Lamb pairs well with a variety of seasonings—from simple fresh herb pastes and marinades to complex exotic spice mixtures.
Whether from the loin or the rib, chops are usually found on the bone. Loin chops are considered by many to be more flavorful than rib chops because they contain more internal fat (marbling).
The best cuts for kabobs are from the sirloin, shoulder, or leg; more expensive, tender cuts from the rib and loin can become mushy when marinated. For the tastiest results, pass up lamb that has already been cut into cubes; opt instead for a large piece of lamb and cut it yourself.
A leg of lamb is a versatile cut of meat and can be found both bone-in and boneless. A half-leg of bone-in lamb is a manageable cut for cooking on the grill over indirect heat or roasting on a rotisserie spit. For even cooking over direct heat, the leg must be boned and butterflied for even grilling. Ask the butcher to do this for you.
Full racks consist of eight ribs, but you can also find half-racks of four ribs each. A good butcher will "french" the rack for you, which means removing the flap of fat and meat surrounding the eye of the roast, then cleaning the ends of the rib bones for an attractive restaurant-style presentation. You can also do this yourself (scroll to the bottom of this page for tips on frenching).
Frenching Meat Bones
After trimming most of the external fat from the lamb rack, insert a sharp boning knife into the meat and tissue on each side of the bones to mark what should be cut away. Use the boning knife, cut 2 to 3 inches of the meat and tissue from your mark to the ends of the rib bones. In some cases it may be easier to use your fingers instead of the knife. Using the blunt back edge of the knife, scrape off any remaining meat or tissue, leaving the bones clean. You also can use a clean kitchen towel to rub free any remaining meat or tissue.
Preparing Lamb for Grilling
Trim off as much of the external fat from lamb as possible, as it can taste and smell unpleasant when charred. Use bold herbs and spices, such as rosemary, oregano, garlic, cumin, and mustard, which stand up well to the earthy, slightly gamy flavor of lamb. Salting lamb generously before grilling brings out its natural flavors.
Testing Lamb for Doneness
All lamb should rest for 3 to 15 minutes after grilling, depending on size, to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. The internal temperature could rise as much as 5° to 10° as the meat sits, depending on size. Keep this in mind, and remove lamb from the grill when it is 5° to 10° shy of the desired temperature. For the best flavor we recommend cooking lamb to no more than medium (140°) but for additional temperatures please refer to our Meat Guide.