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Lamb Ribs

In my world, celebrating spring = eating adorable animals with a side of asparagus. That being said...

I have some truly cute lamb ribs for a small-scale Easter dinner, and am hoping to do them in a fashion similar to a favorite family dish called "Vineyard Leg of Lamb." (Any fans of the Time Life Foods of the World series out there? I have a verbal agreement with my parents that I get these in the will.) Basically, we're talking a simple rub - I think it's just cumin, salt, and pepper with some brandy basting during marination - then roasting, then flaming with brandy. This is my FAVORITE way to eat leg of lamb, and I am hoping to translate it to ribs. So my question is this: can I do this without drying them out/making them tough/ruining them? It's not a full intact rack - they have already been portioned into individual ribs. Should I just rub, marinate, and grill? Some sort of slow-cooking? Roasting? I have had some spectacular lamb ribs at restaurants, and I want these to be better.

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  1. here is a link to a recipe that was just in the times, under lamb breast:
    http://cookedfromscratch.wordpress.co...

    i ran out of times articles for the month, but anyway you roast it super slow to melt out the fat, which isn't that tastey from lamb oddly.

    1. Ah, man, you have already goofed it up: 'It's not a full intact rack - they have already been portioned into individual ribs'.

      All really wonderful rib recipes I have happily enjoyed starts with a full, uncut rack of ribs of whatever mammal. You cook it, and you are in heaven. I am trying really hard to think of any recipe that uses ribs that are already cut into individual ribs BEFORE you cook. Cannot think of a single one, regardless of animal.

      1) ribs are 100% different from leg-o-lamb, and cooking is totally different
      2) suspect that a recipe for pork back-ribs will work similarly, but have never tried it so you are on your own on this one.

      1. When you say "ribs," I envision a rack of spareribs - lots of bone, relatively little meat. Is that what you've got, or do you have rib chops?

        If the former, you want to cook low and slow, because the meat that's there is full of connective tissue. If the latter, dry hot heat is the way to go; the grill would be perfect.

        5 Replies
        1. re: alanbarnes

          I believe we're dealing with rib chops (although that is not how they are labeled) - think rack of lamb, subdivided. There is a lovely medallion of meat on each rib, it's just small. Which is why I'm asking for help...I have no problem dealing with loin chops, I just don't know if the rib will hold up to the same treatment - worried about that connective tissue causing toughness problems, you know?

          1. re: Wahooty

            Rib chops are to loin chops as ribeye steaks are to t-bones. (My daughter is studying for the SAT and I'm sorely disappointed that they removed the analogy questions.) They cook about the same; you just have to make adjustments for thickness and other variables.

            As far as your recipes for leg of lamb, the chops have a lot more surface area. So a rub that might delicately flavor a roast will overwhelm a small chop. But that's easy enough to deal with - just use less rub.

            Heat will be an issue, too. Roast a whole leg at 375 and the outside will be brown and crunchy just about the same time the inside hits medium rare. Try the same thing with a thin chop and you're going to end up with a bunch of gray meat.

            You want the meat to be juicy, so I'd go with the hottest heat source you've got. If you want to be really geeky, sous vide the suckers at 125 for eight hours then hit them with a blowtorch. But it's simpler to just throw 'em on a very, very hot grill for a minute or so per side (depending on thickness).

            Eat 'em with your fingers - lambsicles!

            1. re: alanbarnes

              Seriously??? Removed the analogies??? Those were the FUN part! <sigh> but I guess that's a debate for another venue.

              I'm pursuing the flavors and textures, not the method. Obviously, I won't treat them the same way I would a leg - I detailed it for the sole purpose of my prospective helpers understanding the effect I am trying to achieve - the roasting and flaming gives you this lovely cuminy crust. I am not geeky enough for the sous vide treatment, but I think you're on the right track with the grillin'. Suits my temperament better. ;)

              1. re: Wahooty

                Removing analogies : SAT :: Roasting : Single rib chops

                1. re: Wahooty

                  Wahoot, Look up "Scotto Ditto", (burn the fingers in Italian) for the technique for very, very tasty grilled individual lamb chops. Adjust the seasonings to fit your whishes, Just be advised grill for no more than a few minutes per side as the little "lollipops" cook in a flash, nothing worse than over grilled chops.This is my go to Easter Dinner, always a crowd pleaser, when you present a platter piled high with little "Lambccles" as AlanBarnes mentioned, scattered with fresh Mint and Rosemary branches.

          2. 'Should I just rub, marinate, and grill?'.

            YES ... high heat, dry rub, and quick on/off the grill. Crisp them up nicely by allowing the flame to strike the meat of course. What you have is rib lamb chops there, as opposed to lamb ribs which implies breast of lamb. Are they like the pic here ?? If so, you're fine. The rib chops have plenty of fat and won't dry up too quickly on you. (Click on the image to enlarge).

             
            2 Replies
            1. re: Cheese Boy

              cheese boy: about 5 years ago I read one of your replies on using lamb bones. You attached a link to allrecipes, but the link isn't working now. do you have the recipe, or name of it so I can google it? Thanks!

              1. re: LabasFamilyCook

                LabasFamilyCook hopefully this is the thread you're speaking of --> http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/353996

                If so, then the recipe is for Lord and Taylor's Scotch Broth. The recipe can be found in
                New York Cookbook, by Molly O'Neill, or you can search online as well.

                Here's one of them --> http://www.cookreceipts.com/vegetable...

            2. As others have said it sounds like you really have lamb chops. I often buy a rack and cut it into individual ribs for the barbecue because I prefer the charring. However if you debone the rack to just cook the loin you are left with the rib bones. A great restaurant in Toronto Mistura has this on their menu as an appetizer:
              COSTINE D’AGNELLO
              Balsamic Glazed Lamb Ribs, w Minted Yogurt dressed Radish, Cucumber & Carrot Slaw …22

              1 Reply
              1. re: mexivilla

                If they are whole ribs, braise braise braise. White wine, butter, fresh herbs, garlic, lots of lemon juice. Then broil at the ens for some of the steam to evaporate and crisp up the fat. To die.

              2. Okay, so here's the result (I hate it when people don't report back...) :

                I was a bit misleading in the OP - not only was it not breast meat, but they weren't individual ribs, rather cut into two-rib sections off the rack (faulty memory on my part). So (in the interest of replicating the dish that, as it turns out, my parents made today!) I marinated for a bit in brandy and garlic, then hit them with a rub of cumin, salt, and pepper before grilling just to rare. Also grilled some asparagus, and made risotto with some ramps that I pulled this afternoon.

                All in all - a success. Were I to do over again, the only thing I would change is to cut the brandy with some white wine (in all those years, I never realized that the brandy was a major player, flavor-wise, so omitting it would have been a major faux pas, but there was a shade too much alcohol in the meat) and/or grill a touch longer to burn off the burn, as it were. Could have done that without going more than medium-rare - I would rather under- than over-cook lamb or beef, but this would have benefited from more sear, and was thick enough to handle it.

                That being said...there are precious few leftovers.

                Just finishing my wine and waiting to make room for the cherry pie I made for dessert. Thanks for the help, folks - really, I just needed a little encouragement to trust my instincts. ;)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Wahooty

                  Bravo, thanks for the feedback. The brandy and the cumin are a fantastic combo.