How To Cook Balsamic Herb Lamb Chops
Lambs chops have lost popularity over the years due in part to the simple fact that most people don't really know how to cook with lamb. While cooking lamb is a challenge for inexperienced chefs, the only way to learn is by trying. And a great recipe to try cooking lamb with are these grilled balsamic herb marinated lamb chops.
Lamb has a depth of flavor and level of tenderness that other kinds of food can't hope to match, and lamb chops are one of the best ways to experience this meat for beginners. Grilling lamb chops on the bone like this makes them much more forgiving and easier to manage than trying to cook something like a lamb fillet, making it perfect for those first trying to cook with lamb.
How should you cook lamb chops? What do you need to know about cooking lamb to avoid messing up? What's the best way to eat it when you're done? Let's take a look at a recipe to answer these and other important questions as we cover how to make grilled balsamic herb marinated lamb chops.
List of Materials
Before you can begin cooking, though, you'll need to make sure you have a few ingredients on hand first. Like many great recipes, this list is surprisingly short, making it easy for anyone to complete with high quality ingredients.
- Charcoal grill.
- Chunk charcoal.
- Gallon plastic zip top bags or large bowl with plastic wrap.
- Aluminum foil.
- Digital read thermometer.
- Olive oil.
- Balsamic vinegar.
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced.
- Fresh rosemary.
- Dried oregano.
- Dijon mustard.
- Kosher salt.
- Freshly ground black pepper.
- Lamb rib chops, 12 (about 1 inch thick each).
Once you've gotten your ingredients and materials together, you can finally start cooking.
Step 1: Marinating the Lamb Chops
To enhance the flavors of your meat, the first thing you'll want to do is marinate it. Combine a half cup of olive oil, your minced garlic cloves, a fourth of a cup of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of chopped rosemary, a tablespoon of honey, two teaspoons of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of oregano, and a teaspoon of salt and pepper.
Place your lamb chops into a plastic zip top bag, pour over the marinade, and rub the liquid into the meat until thoroughly coated before placing in the refrigerator for up to two hours (alternatively, use a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap).
Step 2: Lighting the Grill
Near the end of the time you plan to marinade your lamb chops, it's a good idea to light the grill. While this recipe uses a charcoal grill, you can easy switch to a propane grill if you prefer cooking with gas. Fill the grill up with charcoal, place down the grate, and light it.
The extra time preheating the grill will allow the coals to burn down slightly, achieving a flame that's not quite as hot as if it was just lit (closer to "medium" heat). This is important, as lamb can very easily overcook if you aren't careful with it. This is also why careful temperature monitoring is a necessity when it comes to cooking lamb chops.
Step 3: Grilling the Lamb Chops
After taking your lamb chops out of the fridge, allow them to sit out at room temperature for about half an hour to warm up slightly. Letting your meat warm before you cook it helps to ensure even cooking, something most important in tender, delicate meats like lamb.
Once the meat has had a chance to warm up, lay your lamb chops directly onto the grill grate, monitoring the temperature closely as you cook. It should take about five minutes on each side to fully cook the lamb to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees below medium rare) in the thickest part of the meat, turning only once.
As it cooks, you can drizzle over some of the remaining marinade to help ensure the meat stays moist and flavorful, though this is optional.
Step 4: Resting the Lamb Chops
Once the lamb has reached the appropriate temperature, remove it from the heat and tent the chops loosely with aluminum foil as you rest them on a cutting board or other surface.
They should rest like this for at least ten minutes, during which time the internal temperature will climb about 5 more degrees as the residual heat distributes throughout the meat. This also gives the meat fibers a chance to relax and reabsorb some of their juices, ensuring your meat is extremely tender and retains its moistness once you bite into it.
Step 5: Serving the Lamb Chops
After resting your meat, it's time to eat. Lamb is best served with sweet or spicy sides. Apple-based sauces are common compliments for lamb dishes, and mint is both a popular garnish and ingredient in other lamb dishes (not to mention a breath freshener).
You could even make a thin sauce to spoon over your chops by simmering the last of the marinating liquid until it comes to a boil, though this could prove difficult to effectively eat pouring over rib meats as opposed to slices like in other dishes. However you serve it, though, your homemade balsamic herb lamb chops are sure to be delicious.
If you’re a first-timer cooking lamb chops, make sure to check out this easy tutorial to get acquainted with this type of meat!
Though many are wary to try it for fear of mistakes, lamb can make an extremely delicious meal if cooked with the proper care and a bit of skill. With just a little practice, these balsamic herb lamb chops may just become a regular dish in your repertoire.
Did you like this recipe? Any tips on cooking lamb you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments, and remember to share this with a friend who hasn't yet tried the taste sensation of homemade grilled lamb chops.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Lamb Chops?
Lamb chops can refer to a few different cuts of lamb. Lamb rib chops (also called rack of lamb when they come all together) come from the ribs of the lamb. They can be frenched, with the meat removed between the bones, or with the meat still on the bones. Lamb loin chops are small T-bone steaks that are located from the waist area. Lamb shoulder chops are fattier, with the steaks cut from the shoulder area.
How Long Can You Marinate Lamb Chops?
Lamb chops benefit from a good, zesty marinade made from oil and citrus. They can sit on the marinade in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours. You should turn the lamb chops every 4 hours for the most even coating on the lamb.
What Temperature Should You Cook Lamb?
Lamb is best enjoyed medium rare, which is 145 degrees F. You can cook them until they reach a temperature of 140 degrees F, as they will raise the additional 5 degrees while resting. You can also cook them to medium at 160 degrees F. It is not recommended to cook lamb to well done at 170 degrees F as it can become very tough.
How Long Should You Cook Lamb on the Grill?
Most lamb chops are cut to 1-inch thick. These lamb chops should cook over medium heat on the grill for about 5 minutes a side. You will know when your lamb is done cooking by using an instant-read meat thermometer to measure the lamb’s internal temperature.
How Long Should You Rest Lamb Chops?
All meat should be rested after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute. You didn’t go through all the trouble to marinate and perfectly cook the lamb only for the juices to spill on the cutting board! You should rest your lamb for at least 5 minutes, but preferably 10 minutes, before cutting into it.