Grilled Lamb Chops with
Lemon Rosemary Oil

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The Heart of New England - Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont
Grilled Lamb Chops
with Lemon Rosemary Oil
By Charlie Burke

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Thick lamb chops, when properly grilled, are a succulent highlight of any meal for
family or friends. The flavor of locally raised, grass fed lamb makes it well
worth seeking out.

My wife, Joanne, and I noted the great flavor of locally raised French lamb during
our recent trip to the south of France and found that same flavor in beautifully
prepared chops at the recent
Grower’s Dinner held at I’Espirit, the fine restaurant
run by the
Atlantic Culinary Academy in Dover, New Hampshire. Chef de Cuisine
Jay Curcio and his Cordon Bleu students served fabulous lamb from Lasting
Legacy Farm in Barrington, New Hampshire, an eighth generation farm run by the
Berry family.

While thin chops may dry out while being grilled, the challenge with thicker
chops is getting the meat closest to the bone properly done without overcooking
the loin. Lamb is best when still pink in the center of the chop, but often the meat
next to the bone will then be barely cooked. The size of the cut is too small to
permit positioning only the bone end over higher heat, so a different solution is

I initially experimented with standing the chops on their end bones after the loin
had reached the proper temperature, thinking this would bring the undercooked
meat to proper temperature. It did, but, unfortunately, brought the rest of the meat
to nearly well done.

Next, I tried starting them on end over high heat, cooking them for 3 -4 minutes
until the bones were deeply browned and the fat around them was bubbling. They
then were grilled on their sides as usual until the loin portion was medium rare,
removed from the heat and left to rest for several minutes. The results were chops
with meat cooked to an even pink, right up to the bones. After a couple of
attempts, this becomes easy, especially when using an instant read thermometer. I
have not tried this with thick pork chops but have no doubt it would just as well.

Lamb is fine grilled with only salt and pepper as seasoning, but I prefer them
marinated in lemon juice and olive oil with chopped fresh rosemary.

Rib lamb chops, 1 ½ inches thick enough for 2 serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice, volume sufficient to liberally coat meat

Finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1 – 1 ½ tablespoons for 4 chops

Mix all marinade ingredients. Liberally salt and pepper chops and coat them with
marinade. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour.

Build a charcoal fire to one side of your charcoal cooker. If using a gas grill, heat
the rear element on high and the front on medium and cover for 15 – 20 minutes
until thoroughly heated.

Stand chops on the wide boney end over high heat until bone is browned and the
fat near the bone is bubbling. Place chops flat over medium – high heat for
approximately 4 minutes per side, cooking until rare (135 degrees) if medium rare
is desired or until medium rare (140 degrees) if you prefer medium.

With experience, pressing on the meat will tell you when it’s done (rare has the
consistency of the thumb side of your relaxed palm, medium is when your thumb
is flexed and well is when you make a fist). If in doubt, simply make a small slit
into the thickest part of the meat – you will not lose much juice. Remove from the
heat and let the meat set, tented with foil for 4 -5 minutes. This permits the
temperature to rise to the desired level while juices spread evenly.

Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes and your choice of vegetables, such as
spinach or eggplant. An assertive red such as a Cotes du Rhone or Australian
Shiraz goes well with grilled lamb. Try this technique and you will be rewarded
with moist, evenly cooked lamb.

See also:
Leg of Lamb, Two Ways
Lamb Shanks

About the author:  An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the
vice president of the New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association and helps run
the Sanbornton Farmers' Market. Along with his wife, Joanne, he grows certified
organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
Grilled Lamb Chops
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