Tips for Grilling Rack of Lamb
So I tried grilling rack of lamb last night (Tandoori marinade) and it bombed. I've made it before (but I wasn't in charge of the actual grilling that time) and it turned out great. What did I do wrong with the grill?
I direct-grilled the racks on a gas grill, covered the rib part in tin foil, and closed the grill lid. I went inside for five minutes or so and when I came out I had an inferno on my hands. I moved the racks up a rack and the fire still wouldn't subside.
The end result was a very charred outside. The inside of the meat was done as I wanted it - medium rare - but the charryness really spoiled everything.
I may have had the grill temp too high - It was on high to start (500 degrees) and then I turned it down to medium when I saw the flames. I also think the fatty part on the bony side of the racks (that was the side I put on the grill first) started to melt and caused the smoke/fire.
Most people aren't fans of lamb fat anyway, so go ahead and fully trim off the fat cap on the bone side. That should greatly reduce flare-ups.
I usually roast my rack of lamb, but don't trim the fat -- there's so much flavor in there. My thoughts would be to use a medium heat but not too low, start with the fatty side up and keep the grill lid open. Turn once, then reduce the heat and close lid briefly to finish through. Good luck!
Fat dripping and causing flareups was your biggest problem. You should trim some of the fat off (not all) and watch it carefully. There isn't much reason to close the lid while its on direct heat as most the the cooking over direct heat comes from radiation. That way you can keep a better eye on it. Flare ups are easy to deal with if you catch them early- you did the right thing, just too late.
How big was the rack of lamb? Sometimes moving the lamb off direct heat and finishing in an oven or indirect heat on the grill once you've browned it is the best way to go. The bigger the rack or the hotter your fire, the more you need 2-step cooking.
We love to grill racks of lamb and have run into your problem. We now sear the lamb for about 2 minutes per side on high heat, then turn it down for the rest of the cooking, checking it often to be sure there are not flare ups. This way, we get a nice char on the outside without a blazing inferno. I also trim most of the fat off before cooking. I usually rub it with a little garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil, but the oil burns off quickly...
Thank you, everyone, for the input. It was very helpful. I also learned something additional from a couple of your posts- you don't have to shut the grill lid if you are using direct heat. Never knew that!
I think I am going to try the indirect heat concept the next time I do rack of lamb. Cowboyardee - the racks weren't very large. The quantity of chops when cut was just enough for four people for dinner.