On Father’s Day we usually either grill steaks or make a huge Rib Roast. Both are great choices but this year we’ll be mixing it up a bit. Instead of grilled steaks or a nice rib roast I’ll be making a nice Rack of Lamb.
I made my very first rack of lamb for my grandson’s birthday last April. Lamb is one of his favorite meats and he requested it for his birthday dinner. We used to just throw a couple of racks on the grill during one of our weekly barbecues, but for his birthday I wanted to do something a little fancier. So I looked up several different recipes and tweaked them here and there until I came up with this delicious Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb.
I’m not a big fan of lamb, in fact I don’t eat it, which is why I don’t make it very often. But the rest of the family loves it. Years ago cooking lamb intimidated me, but I’ve since learned how to make it in several dishes. But never had I done a rack until the other month. I was happily surprised that it went well. It came out so well that I’ve served it a couple of times since my grandson’s birthday.
This recipe is very simple but it makes the lamb rack tender and juicy; and yes it looks impressive when served! The secret to making the perfect rack of lamb is to be sure the meat is at room temperature before roasting; just like making the perfect roast. Cooking meat at room temperature prevents over and undercooking. Another secret is to use your handy meat thermometer to ensure that you’ve cooked your meat to the proper temperature; well actually you cook meat until it’s about 5° BELOW your desired temperature. And lastly you allow your rack to “rest” for about 5 minutes after you take it out of the oven. (Here’s a tip: you should remove allow all meats, grilled, broiled, or roasted before it gets to the proper temperature and allow it to rest about 5 minutes)
You may be wondering why meats should be removed from the oven or grill before it hits the desired temperature and “rest” before serving. The reason is that your meat continues to cook even after you remove it from the heat source so if you take it out when the thermometer hits the correct temperature your meat ends up overdone. The resting period allows the meat to continue to cook to the desired temperature and seals in the juices. I learned this from the Chef who caters all our special events.
Before I write down my recipe here’s a couple more tips so that your rack of lamb turns out perfectly.
- If you’re roasting more than 1 rack (a rack with 8 ribs feeds about 2-3 people) get racks that are close in size and weight so that they cook evenly.
- Be sure the racks are “frenched” – meaning the bone tips are exposed and clean.
- Be sure you get lamb not mutton! Mutton has a very strong gamey scent and is not tender, it comes from adult sheep.
- If you can smell some gaminess in the meat rub fresh lemon all around the rack, this helps neutralize the scent.
- Invest in a meat thermometer. You can pick one up from Amazon or any store that sells kitchen supplies. You don’t need the fanciest most expensive one although one that’s digital is a plus. They sell for under $20 and is one of the best investments you can make for your kitchen.
I try to use fresh herbs in my recipes and this one is no exception. It’s a great way to use the herbs I grow in my garden. But if you don’t have fresh herbs dried ones will work too.
Having said all this here’s my recipe! Try it out for Father’s Day I’m sure everyone will love it! I’ll give you the recipe for 1 rack but you can easily double or triple it for more racks. Just remember to get racks that are close in weight and size!
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
1 Rack of Lamb – 8 ribs, frenched
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3-4 Cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 Sprigs fresh Rosemary leaves, chopped (or 2 Tbs. dried rosemary)
1 Tbs. fresh Thyme leaves, chopped (or 1 Tbs. dried thyme)
6 Sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped + more for garnish
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and place rack on top.
Mix all the other ingredients together in a small bowl.
Rub oil mixture all over the rack, be sure you get the sides and the bottom.
Place rack fat side up on the sheet and let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 450°.
Insert thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.
Cook lamb in the oven until the thermometer reads 5° BELOW your desired temperature (see chart below)
Remove from oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes or until the thermometer reads your desired temperature.
Slice rack between the bones, garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
Serve with your favorite sides and starch. We like it with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus
Doneness Chart for Rack of Lamb: (Fahrenheit)
Rare – 115° – 120°
Medium Rare – 120° – 125°
Medium – 130° – 135°
Medium Well – 140° – 145°
Well Done – 150° – 155°