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May 31, 2010 02:42 PM

how long to roast rack of lamb (no thermometer)?

i plan to cook a rack of lamb tonight however i seem to have misplaced my meat thermometer. the plan was to sear all sides and then roast in the oven at 450. i've never roasted lamb so have no idea how long to put it in for to get medium-rare after a 5-10 minute rest period. any ideas?


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    Depending on the weight of the rack, 12-15 minutes. Try poking with your finger. If it's still soft, it's rare. The firmer the meat becomes, the more cooked the meat becomes. If the meat becomes firm and does not spring back, you may have gone too far. Remove immediately.

    Feel your thumb heel pad with an open hand and see how soft this is. That's rare. Now close your hand and clench you fist with light pressure. Now press into your heel pad. This is what medium-rare temperature closely resembles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fourunder

      I never had luck with the old soft thumb test. I cook a lot of lamb racks, and after browning, roasting in 400 deg oven for 10-15 minutes seems about right. To test, insert a sharp knife into the thickest part, place knife on your lower lip, and if fairly warm, its done. A lot depends on how long you brown the may be almost ready when you put it in the oven.

      1. Ok, depending on the rack weight and your oven, 12-15 minutes @ 425° or the thumb heel test, which I used to use for steak grilling in the restaurants. You can get amazingly proficient at telling the degree of doneness with that method. Less time is generally better than more.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bushwickgirl

          I've never really had luck (or much accuracy) with the thumb/finger test for anything but boneless cuts of beef (e.g. strips, tenderloin, etc.). For things like chops (lamb or pork) it just seems off .. maybe it's the bone or something.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I don't use it for thinner cuts, like chops, just thicker steaks, tenderloin and racks. I've even poked a few pork tenderloins in my day, for medium well. I used to use the metal skewer test for big roasts, like ribs, but found that it wasn't so accurate.

        2. With the amount of money you spent on the rack of lamb, I would have spent an additional $5 and buy another instant read thermometer from the grocery store instead of depending on cooking times and the poke test to cook the meat to the desired temperature.

          Please let us know how it turned out.

          3 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            Have you considered he/she may have realized the thermometer was missing, or could not be found, only after she returned from the store from purchasing the lamb and other items?

            1. re: fourunder

              Yes, there's certainly that; buying another thermometer is an obvious solution, but the OP just might want a quick fix just to get dinner on the table.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Yes, I do understand both of the above posts. It's just that at the price of a rack of lamb, unless the store is an hour away, I'm going back to get a thermometer to make sure I don't overcook the meat. I can always use another instant read thermometer and they're not that expensive.