Grilled Lamb with a Post Marinade
We all know my love for lamb goes beyond even my love for pumpkin beers and thus I am sad to say I haven’t had it much recently because it is so expensive. But the other night, at a friend’s birthday party, I met a chef named Larry Shifrin. He told me how he cooks lamb and that it involves hitting it after it cooks with an herbs and garlic marinade. I had to do a double take when he said it and check his drink. He wasn’t slurring. He wasn’t listing. He was enjoying an adult beverage, but he was by no means drunk. “Marinating after the grilling,” I thought to myself. “That’s a new one for me.” I looked at him and said, “Larry, tell me more about this process.” And he did and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would be trying this method. Exactly one week later, I made this recipe which is his with only a few minor tweaks.
Grilled Lamb PRE Marinade:
1/2 cup Village Press Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp minced rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp fresh chives
1/4 cup red wine vinegar (not pictured)
2 racks of lamb
1 pinch salt and pinch of black pepper
2 lamb racks
Wait. Pre Marinade? I thought this dish was all about the post marinade? It is. But just because we’re doing a post marinade in this recipe doesn’t mean we can’t do a pre marinade too. I want to infuse the lamb with some flavor before I ever get to the herbs and garlic of the post marinade.
First I want to talk about the olive oil:
I was contacted by the folks at Village Press asking me if I wanted to sample it and if I liked it if I would use it on the site. So full disclosure, they gave me the stuff, and fuller disclosurer, I liked it. I’m no olive oil snob but I know when it goes bad and why. Three things really hurt olive oil – light, heat and air. This is a plastic bladder of olive oil inside a box. Sort of like box wine, but in this instance it’s a really good idea to box the liquid. The cardboard will insulate the olive oil from heat like setting it near a burner. The box keeps light out, and the bag keeps air from getting inside the container since it collapses in on itself as the bag empties. To me this is brilliant. You can buy it here.
Back to the grilled lamb recipe.
Obviously you could use whatever olive oil you choose if you don’t have any Village Press on hand. Combine the salt, pepper, oil, garlic, red wine vinegar and onion in a bowl and then go to work on the fresh herbs and garlic:
And put all the pre marinade ingredients in a bowl:
The quickest way to mix the pre marinade is not with a whisk, but with a lid. Slap the lid on and give it a good shake:
Toss the lamb into a plastic bag and pour in the marinade and refrigerate:
Obviously I only did this for a five bone rack, but there’s enough to coat two whole racks. Marinate for as little as two hours to over night.
The following day, prepare the grill (in this case a Char-Griller Akorn) for a low fire and smoke the lamb indirect with charcoal (or burners lit) on one side and no heat on the other with the lamb on that side:
If you are wondering what the hole is. My grill has a center piece that comes out of the grill grate so I can add more fuel or smoke wood. In this case I used a blend of soaked chips from my local grocery store (hickory, apple, cherry, and sassafras).
And when I say low heat, I mean low. 200 is the max you want to go here:
All you want to do is impart some smoke flavor but not cook them all that much. We will be searing at the end where a lot of cooking will take place, so go low and slow.
Now go prepare the post marinade for the grilled lamb as it will smoke for close to an hour.
Grilled Lamb Post Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup parsley
1 tbsp thyme
2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of salt and pinch black pepper
I was a bit pressed for time, so instead of chopping all the ingredients, I used the food processor. I simply apportioned out the ingredients on a cutting board:
And I dumped them all in a food processor:
I smoked the lamb for a total of 55 minutes. When the meat began to firm up, I went for the sear. I did this totally by feel. If you don’t feel that confident to do that, use a probe or instant read thermometer and sear them when they hit 120 degrees internal temperature for rare to medium rare. For medium rare to medium, wait till they hit about 135-140.
I had two choices for searing. Putting them over the side of the grill that is hot, but I didn’t get the grill all that hot so it would take a little while for it to heat up. Instead, right next to my charcoal grill is my Char-Broil TRU Infrared:
It’s PERFECT. The TRU Infrared puts out some serious heat, allowing me to get the grill to 700 degrees in a couple minutes and it doesn’t dry meat out like a charcoal or conventional gas grill. So I tossed the grilled lamb on the Char-Broil to sear:
Once the grilled lamb is nicely charred, bring it inside and place on a sheet of aluminum foil:
Then cover with the post marinade paste:
Then seal it in the foil and let rest:
Resting is vitally important. When meat comes off the grill, the juices are in the excited state because of the heat. Cutting into the lamb right away will result in the juices rushing out onto the cutting board. But allowing them to rest means they can settle down and redistribute throughout the meat and ensure a juicy bite from start to finish. And for this recipe, it cooks the post marinade just enough to awaken the flavors without overcooking them.
After 8 minutes, open the foil:
Notice how the bright green post marinade has darkened as it cooked and soaked up some of the sumptuous grease on the outside of the lamb?
The question becomes, did I over or under cook the lamb since I went by feel alone? Well, since I always include a teaser shot at the top, and if you’ve already been to the site you know, that these are darn near perfect for me:
Herbs can have their flavor cooked right out of them, same as garlic, which is why many chefs toss the herbs in right before plating a dish. Essentially, that’s what I did here. This way the herbs and garlic cook for only a little bit, fully opening up the flavors and putting them on the plate (and subsequently in your mouth) at just the right time. I can’t quite explain how fresh the herbs and garlic were when I tore through these meat lollies in about 30 seconds. It’s like a misty spring morning in your mouth. All the flavors are at their fullest like a I harvested the herbs myself and ate them within minutes of removing them from the stem. It was absolutely refreshing.
And if you’re wondering whether or not I had a well rounded meal. I’d say so. This Joel Gott Cab rounded out the meal nicely:
If you have any questions about the grilled lamb with a post marinade recipe feel free to comment below or email me.
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- ½ cup Village Press Olive Oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
- 1 tbsp minced rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh chives
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar (not pictured)
- 2 racks of lamb
- 1 pinch salt and pinch of black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup parsley
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch of salt and pinch black pepper
- Put all the ingredients, except the lamb, together in a bowl and mix together well
- Place the lamb in a resealable plastic bag and pour the pre marinade over it
- Refrigerate from 2 to 12 hours
- Remove the meat from the plastic bag, and place it on a plate to come up to room temperature
- Prepare the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
- Target temperature inside the grill is 200 degrees
- Place the lamb on the side of the grill with no heat
- Smoke until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees which should be about an hour depending on the heat of the grill and size of the rack lamb
- Head back into the kitchen and prepare the post marinade
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend
- When the lamb reaches 120 degrees fire up the side of the grill with the coals or spark up a gas grill and sear the meat top and bottom and on the ends
- Once it is seared, take it off the grill and place it on a sheet of aluminum foil
- Then cover the lamb with the post marinade and fold it up inside the foil
- After 8-10 minutes, open the foil, slice and serve