Smoked Dry Rubbed Lamb Ribs Will Become Your New Obsession
A simple dry rub and low ‘n slow smoking make lamb ribs tender and succulent.
When grilling red meat, I love a great beef burger or ribeye steak as much as the next guy or gal, but I also like to mix it up now and then with some lamb. A nicely seared lamb chop (a.k.a. lamb lollipop) is, in my opinion, nature’s perfect food on a stick. And who doesn’t feel like a king or queen when a giant leg of lamb hits the table during the holidays? One taste of a Greek inspired lamburger and you may even find yourself pushing beef to the side of the grill!
I discovered my all-time favorite lamb dish at Memphis’ famed Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous: lamb ribs! At Rendezvous, the ribs are grilled over charcoal until browned and tender, and then serve them without any sauce to highlight the balance of the slightly gamey meat and the herb scented dry rub. In a nod to the original, I created the following slow smoked, dry rubbed lamb ribs recipe for you to fire up at home.
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When grilling red meat, I love to mix it up now and then with some lamb. Ribs make a nice change of pace from lamb chops.
Serve with: Pale ale or Syrah.
Servings: 2 servings
About the lamb. You can find lamb ribs at local markets and online at D'Artagnan.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works. For this recipe, you want to use 1/4 teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt per pound of meat.
About the mayonnaise. The mayo is optional but something I have used for years. Like the more popular yellow mustard, mayonnaise binds the dry rub to the meat, but I prefer mayo because it doesn't add the sharp flavor of mustard. Plus, it adds fat, which benefits the ribs.
Prep. For the lamb, remove the membrane from the ribs (read more on removing rib membranes here). Season the rack of ribs with 1/4 teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt per pound of meat. If you can, give the salt 1 to 2 hours to be absorbed. The process of salting in advance is called dry brining. The rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat, but ribs are about 50% meat, so use about 1/4 teaspoon per pound. You can simply eyeball it by sprinkling on the same amount of salt you would sprinkle on the ribs if they were served to you unseasoned.
For the rub, combine the paprika, brown sugar, ground mustard, granulated garlic, dried thyme, lemon pepper, ground rosemary, and ground coriander in a small bowl and blend well.
Fire up. Prepare a smoker for indirect cooking. Alternatively, you can set up a charcoal grill for 2-zone cooking by placing a chimney full of lit charcoal briquets on one side of the grill's charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the smoker or grill vents to bring the temperature to about 225°F and add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 225°F on the indirect side.
Once the smoker or grill is ready, brush both sides of the ribs with mayonnaise and season with the dry rub.
Cook. Place the rack of ribs on the main cooking grate as far away from the heat source as possible. Set the lid on the grill with top vent fully open and positioned directly above the ribs in order to force the smoke over and around the meat. Allow the ribs to smoke until the meat is tender, about 3 hours.
Serve. Remove the ribs from the grill, slice, and serve immediately.
Published On: 9/11/2017
Last Modified: 4/6/2021
Clint Cantwell - Clint Cantwell is AmazingRibs.com's Senior Vice President of Whatever, charged with creating recipes, writing articles, shooting photos, and a little bit of everything else. He was named one of the "10 Faces of Memphis Barbecue" by Memphis Magazine and was the winner of Travel Channel's "American Grilled: Memphis".