This recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops is easy and delicious. And you thought you didn't like lamb!
Are you one of those people who tried lamb once and didn't have a good experience, so now you don't like lamb? Or maybe you've never tried it! Lamb is probably one of the most dubious red meats here in the U.S.
In my younger years I thought I didn't like lamb, until my husband and his big Italian family entered my life. At one of the many boisterous family dinners we attended leg of lamb was being served. When you are in an Italian household food is love and love is food. If you turn down food, it's like saying, "I don't like you." So, of course I tried the lamb...and I liked it!
During our recent trip to Sacramento and the International Food Blogger Conference we were fortunate to go on the excursion where we learned all about lamb from Ryan Mahoney, a fifth generation rancher in Rio Vista, California. (Check out his Instagram account @CaliforniaSheepRancher.) A short bus ride from Sacramento lands you in the heart of our country's bread basket. No wonder Sacramento is known as the Farm-to-Fork Capital of America.
In return for a discounted entry to the International Food Blogger Conference I am responsible for writing 3 posts about the conference. This is one. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoyed attending it!
The butcher at my nearby grocery store has told me for years that American lamb is milder with a better flavor than Australian or New Zealand lamb. (I thought he was just trying to get me to buy my lamb from him rather than Costco!) Ryan educated us on the reason for that better taste. American lamb is raised for the American palate and the wool is secondary. Lamb production in Australia and New Zealand is geared to the wool and the meat is a secondary market.
According to Ryan, the flavor of lamb meat is a result of the age of the lamb and the fat content. The older the animal the more fat they have, leading to a "lamb-ier" taste. Here in the U.S. the lambs are born, grass-fed and go to market within 9 months. Lambs from "down under" go to market later (so more wool can be harvested) leading to a different flavor profile.
The other part of lamb flavor is the preparation. The Italians in my life generally use garlic, rosemary and olive oil...how can you go wrong?!?!
Here is my favorite recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops; try it and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Grilled Lamb Chops
- 2 pounds lamb loin chops, about 1 1/2" thick
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Cut the excess fat off the chops.
- Mix together the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and salt.
- Lay the chops in a single layer in a baking dish.
- Brush the olive oil mixture onto the chops.
- Turn over and brush the remaining mixture onto the lamb.
- Seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.
- Remove from refrigerator about 1 hour before cooking so the chill has a chance to come off the meat.
- Heat your grill to high.
- Lay the chops on the grill and grill for 5 minutes.
- Turn over and grill for 5 more minutes, or until an instant read thermometer indicates the correct doneness for your palate.
- Lamb chops are medium-rare at 145ºF and well done at 160ºF.
So now that you like lamb, here are some other lamb recipes: