Smoked rack of lamb slowly cooked over embers and walnut wood. This easy BBQ recipe is made with simple paprika and dried garlic, and balances the lamb’s wild flavor with smoke and spices.
Smoked Rack of Lamb is a quick and easy way to enjoy one of the best cuts of lamb on the grill. Requiring minimal prep and only an hour in the smoker, this dinner classic can fill anyone up when time is of the essence.
There’s no better way to enjoy the rack of lamb than fresh from the smoker or grill. The chewy texture of lamb breaks down when cooked at low temperatures, while our dry rub spice blend adds flavors that provide strong flavors to match.
Serve up the perfect rib dish with our smoked rack of lamb recipe. From preparing the meat to smoking it over a wood fire, smoke a rack of lamb from scratch.
What is rack of lamb?
Rack of lamb is a cut of meat that includes the bulk of the animal’s ribs. Most butchers sell them as single sided or 8-rib chops, or as a 16-rib double rack that sits on either side of the rib section.
When rack of lamb IS slowly smoked, the bones deliver collagen and marrow to the meat, tenderizing and flavoring it. It might be an expensive cut of meat, but the results are worth the cost.
The protein-rich meat looks amazing when served on the griddle and can serve as the centerpiece of your griddle before being cut into individual chops for your guests.
These differ slightly from our smoked rack of lamb recipe in the way the lamb IS prepared and served . The bones on the shelf were not cut but were French cut for display. Also, we will smoke them and present them with the rib intact rather than cutting them into single rib or 4 rib cuts.
How do I buy rack of lamb?
Rack of lamb should be available at most meat counters, but for the best quality meat, head to your local butcher.
Most butchers standardly cut French lamb ribs, which IS a meat preparation technique where butchers remove excess tendon or meat near the bone. However, some butchers may overdo it, even bit them, leaving some tenderloin meat around the rib.
The lamb’s age and breed can result in a variety of colors, but when choosing meat, buy pinkish brown with white fat and avoid anything gray. It should also pass if it is specifically bloody or contains greasy, yellow fat.
Our dry seasoning uses a blend of kosher salt to dry out the brine-pickled meat, along with smoked paprika powder, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Since lamb has such an intense and distinct flavor, we don’t want to overdo it with sugar or spices. Instead, we want to add a delicate layer of flavor to complement the wild flavor of the lamb as well as the smoke of the hickory.
Our easy lamb dry dressing recipe contains:
- Smoked peppers
- Ground white pepper
- Black pepper
- Ground chipotle chili
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Ground cumin
See recipe below for full amounts.
The best wood for smoking lamb ribs
Lamb has a strong, slightly peppery flavor, so the best wood chips like hickory or mesquite are best. Hickory has a nuttier flavor while mesquite has a smokier flavor. Applewood or cherry wood go well with the lamb flavor if you want a fruitier flavor.
Pecan is another solid option, but it’s more subtle. You can always try a combination of these wood chip flavors and see what works best.
Times and temperatures
Lamb should be smoked at 225°F(107°C) for 30 minutes per pound of meat to achieve an internal temperature of 145°F(63°C) for medium doneness. Expect a cooking time of around 1 hour for our smoked rack of lamb.
Even though our rack of lamb weighs 2 pounds, the bones in the ribs slow the cooking speed a bit. Instead, we bring the meat to 120°F and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. This standing time allows the temperature of the meat to rise further and the juices to be absorbed again. The final result? A perfectly cooked and tender rack of lamb.
- Bring your rack of lamb to room temperature while removing from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking. This will help it cook evenly.
- When cooking, always pay attention to the internal temperature of the meat, not the cooking time. Use a digital meat thermometer for the most accurate results by inserting the sample into the thickest part of the meat on the grid between two of the ribs.