Rack of Lamb
Rack of Lamb is one of the most spectacular cuts of quality meat, and it’s shockingly easy to make. This luxurious cut of lamb is worthy of a holiday meal or any special dinner!
Rack of lamb is usually a special meal that many people only make during the holidays, but in our house we eat it once a week.
It’s a splurge, but we love it so much and cherish being able to eat this wildly delicious and nutritiously rich food!
Why Rack of Lamb is So Incredible
The rack is incredibly tender, fatty, and rich. Eating it feels like a primally satisfying experience that is hard to explain in words. It’s like my brain is lighting up and my body is being nourished head to toe.
What’s notable about the rack is it’s one of the more mild cuts of lamb. Many people are bothered by the general “funk” of lamb, but the rack is pretty agreeable and doesn’t have as much of this strong smell and taste. It’s a good gateway for people who want to begin enjoying lamb but are put off by the flavor.
Respect the Meat
Most of the time I make rack of lamb, I only use salt. I think the lamb’s flavor is incredible and I am admittedly a bit of a meat purist. BUT! There are some wonderful complimentary flavors you can add. Just make sure you don’t go overboard by adding too many things.
For today’s recipe, I added fresh rosemary to the roster, which is my favorite herb and incredibly complimentary to the flavor of the lamb.
If you desire to add other various flavors, feel free to incorporate your favorite herbs and spices into the ghee. Thyme, mint, and parsley are other great herbs for lamb, and flavorings like mustard or garlic also go well here.
How to Make Rack of Lamb:
The whole process is quite simple, and involves slathering Frenched racks of lamb with a rosemary ghee and salt, and roasting in the oven. Let’s dig in to the specifics.
Buy Frenched Racks of Lamb
For this recipe, I recommend purchasing racks of lamb that have already been Frenched, which should be pretty standardly available. I’ve actually never seen rack of lamb at the store that has not been Frenched.
Frenched rack of lamb just means that the meat has already been scraped away from the bones, and you can see how it looks below:
This way you don’t have to do anything to prep the meat. So easy!
Get the Lamb Out of the Fridge 90 Minutes Before Cooking
I can’t stress how important it is to plan ahead and remove the meat from the fridge before cooking. I have cooked a ton of meat over the years, and this makes a HUGE difference. There have been times when I didn’t plan ahead and cooked various meats straight cold from the fridge, and it’s always way worse.
Taking the chill off the meat gives you a more even cook and also makes for a juicier end product. If you think about it, you have to cook the exterior more in order to get the inside up to a proper temperature if it’s really cold.
Ghee Is the Best Fat for Slathering and High Temp Cooking
Next, combine ghee and freshly minced rosemary in a small bowl:
I see a lot of people using olive oil for roasting meats, and I don’t find this to be an appropriate use of olive oil. Its smoke point is too low for a temperature like this.
Ghee has a smoke point of about 480F, so no risk of burning and oxidizing here.
Plus, it has a great consistency for slathering on the lamb and holding all the rosemary evenly in place. It’s almost like a paste that’s easy to rub all over the lamb:
Once you’ve rubbed the rosemary ghee all over the meaty portions of the racks, sprinkle salt all over:
The ghee also does a great job of holding all the salt in place for an even application.
Roast the racks for about 22 minutes for a rare target (see recipe box for more discussion on doneness and timing):
It is essential to get a reading with a thermometer (affilliate), and keep in mind that the temperature will rise about 5 more degrees during rest.
Note: you will notice I don’t bother wrapping the bones in foil. I think it’s easier to remove the burned bits from the ends of the bones by quickly brushing them away after cooking.
You Must Rest the Meat!
Tent the lamb with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. I put the racks on a plate and use the same foil I cooked on, so it bastes the lamb with the rosemary drippings and juices:
You’ll also notice I don’t cover it super tightly. I get it pretty far down all the edges but I don’t want a super tight seal. We just want to insulate the heat a bit.
To serve, cut in between the bones to turn the rack into individual lamb lollipops:
I also recommend pouring any leftover juices from the pan onto the lamb.
Beef Wellington is another one of my favorite holiday meal recipes. Enjoy!
Rack of Lamb Tips and FAQ:
Reheating: Reheating red meat is tough. Knowing this, my first preference is to overeat a little and finish any leftovers during the meal if possible, because I know it won’t be as good later. However, if you do have leftovers, there are preferred ways to reheat. I do NOT recommend the microwave under any circumstances, even at half power. It so often turns gnarly and stinky. I recommend wrapping in foil and heating in a 250F oven for about 15 minutes, or until warm enough to eat. You can also warm it in a skillet but you are more likely to lose any redness in the center because of the direct heat.
Storing leftovers: Store tightly wrapped in foil or in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing leftovers after cooking. It freezes okay but the meat will not taste great.
Rack of Lamb
- 2 lbs grass-fed frenched lamb rib racks (I had two racks weighing one lb each)
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- kosher salt
- Remove the lamb from the fridge 90 minutes before cooking and set out at room temperature. This is an important step for ensuring even cooking and maximum juiciness. See blog post for more discussion.
- Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a half sheet pan with foil.
- Mix together the ghee and rosemary, then rub it evenly all over the racks of lamb, except for the bones (no harm if you get the ghee and rosemary on the bone, but it's not needed there).
- Season the lamb all over with salt. I use about two teaspoons of salt total, but please adjust based on the kind of salt you are using. If using table salt which is typically "saltier," you may want to cut this amount in half. Two teaspoons is good for lighter kosher salts or sea salts.
- Place the racks on the foil-lined pan with the fat cap facing up, and the curves of the bones going down (see blog post for picture if necessary).
- Roast for approximately 22 minutes for rare*, or about 25 minutes for medium rare. I usually get a reading of about 120F at the 22 minute mark, which is perfect because the temperature will go up about another 5 degrees during resting.
- Tent the lamb with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. I use the same foil that I roasted on, which I like for re-use and also to baste the lamb in the rosemary drippings as it rests.
- To serve, cut between the bones to separate into individual lamb lollipops. Serve with the drippings from cooking and resting. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.