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Lamb "bones" under the broiler - riblets?

When I was a kid, my Mom used to make what we called "Lamb bones." I'm not sure what kind of lamb she used. but as I remember them, they looked like lamb riblets, a lot of bone with a small amount of meat on them, maybe like what you'd get if you took a rack of lamb and cut off most of the meat. As I recall, she would just lay them on a jelly roll pan and douse them liberally with garlic salt and pepper, and then put them under the broiler for a few minutes, turn them over, a few minutes more, and done! They were somewhat greasy, but really flavorful. They looked a bit like "country style ribs" if those were from lamb, but a lot less meat.

I'd love to make these myself, but I don't know where to buy the meat. I'm SURE my Mom did this partially because they were CHEAP, and if she did use the leftover bones from rack of lamb, I can't imagine how they could have been cheap, since that's one of the most expensive cuts you can buy. A butcher I asked basically said he wouldn't ruin a rack of lamb in order to sell me the bones.

Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Any ideas as to what I should ask for? Is it possible that lamb WAS that cheap before and has just increased in price that much?

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  1. When I was a kid, and I'm now a proud owner of a senior's discount metro card, we used to have lamb chops at least twice a month, maybe more often. It was one of the favorite foods of everyone in the family. I think of this every time I buy a rack of lamb because my mother was extremely frugal, especially in the early days. She just wouldn't have bought something like that with any regularity if it was as relatively expensive as it is today. Perhaps your mom did buy a rack (or the equivalent thereof; I don't recall ever having seen an actual rack, just the chops) and cut off the meat to use for another purpose?

    1. Maybe she got lamb breast. I just found one of these recently. Lots of bones. I have also seen lamb ribs discussed before. I believe both these cuts come from the chest of the lamb, therefore not much meat.

      I think the rack of lamb may come from the back.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ML PAVACT

        I remember veal breast as a child, but not lamb. Where did you find it? Was it some kind of specialty butcher?

        And you may be onto something with the rack coming from the back ribs. A quick Google turned up this from Serious Eats: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

        I'd pursue it further, but I just finished dinner and I'm getting hungry again. Would love to find it, whatever it is. Will start asking around.

      2. My lamb guy always includes a rack of riblets when I get my yearly lamb. Old-fashioned way to break down a lamb, but they are absolutely delicious. Other recipients have complained, so now I request this cut.

        1. We frequently order Cumin Lamb Ribs at a local Sichuan restaurant here. We always call ahead as his lamb supplier does not have vast quantities of these. Could it be these ribs? They are however quite meaty. Here's a pic - they're superb - crispy exterior and tender & juicy inside.

          2 Replies
          1. re: chilibeanpaste

            I want some of those right now! Do you think they deliver to Manhattan?

          2. This sounds like lamb breast. It requires a bit of slow cooking at first to tenderize the meat and render the fat, but can be finished under the broiler for a few minutes like you described your mother doing.

            1. Could possibly be lamb ribs that are 'flank' cut.

              1. Thanks to all of you for your replies. I had never heard of lamb breast as a cut of meat, but it sounds to me like that may have been it. Now I'm going to look for a butcher to see if I can get some to try. For some reason, most of the lamb I see for sale around here is pre-packaged or frozen, and one full-service butcher that I use for other meats doesn't carry it (I don't know why, maybe it's slower turnover?) But I'm sure if I look, I can find it elsewhere. So I will try to find it and report back. Oh, and those Sichuan ribs look great, too. I can't tell from the picture, it doesn't look like the same cut to me (maybe meatier?) But I bet they'd be tasty. As far as "flank cut" goes, isn't that where you have a vertical strip of meat with several separate ribs running horizontally through it? Like the Korean style short ribs? What my Mom used was cut more like regular ribs, and rather thin, with just a little meat on each. I think either she or the butcher cut them that way, in order to maximize the exposed surface area for garlic salt and browning.

                Thanks to all of you for your answers!

                1 Reply
                1. re: lireland

                  Yes, lamb breast or riblets. We just loved the lamb taste and sucking on the bones. Very greasy and a mess to clean up after but so worth it. When I was a child, my mom used Adolph's meat tenderizer on all meat and me & my sister use to sprinkle it on soft white bread and eat it just like that or make little dough pills and swallow them whole. We loved that seasoning, I guess.

                2. You could be one my kids growing up! As as child myself, the few times we had lambchops I never let anything go to waste so my poor dog got naked lamb bones to chew on.
                  After children, I couldn't afford lamb cops but found lamb breast or riblets very cheap at pathmark or shoprite and would season and broil them to death (no tenderness for me, I liked the jerky effect) My kids loved them too. Just didn't have them much cause they made a greasy mess in the broiler and not very healthy. Love them on the grill too with less indoor mess.

                  1. At the local Publix I saw this one package of 'Lamb Breast' marked pretty low, as if it came in by mistake... It looked spectacular so it wasn't a funk thing... So for like $4.50 I grabbed it...

                    I seasoned it with salt, pepper. garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and lemon... Baked it for an hour... Juicy Lamb Heaven....


                    1. Very good roasted Greek style with lots of oregano and fresh lemon juice.