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 Grilled Lamb with a Post Marinade 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.
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.
How to Make Grilled Lamb with a Post Marinade
The following day, prepare the grill 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 the side with no heat 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. 200F 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 45-60 minutes:
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.
Now it’s time to sear. To save a little time I cranked up a gas grill on my deck and seared the lamb there rather than adding coals and waiting for the charcoal grill to get above 500F:
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 which is really, really GREEN:
Now 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. Also, while the meat rests and drops in temps, the juices and the heat of the meat will steam the post marinade.
After 8 minutes, open the foil and not so green anymore:
Notice how the bright green post marinade has darkened as it cooked and soaked up some of the sumptuous liquid fat (gold) 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:
Grilled Lamb with a Post Marinade Recap
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.
Grilled Lamb with a Post Marinade
- ½ cup Village Press Olive Oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp red onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp chives
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar not pictured
- 2 racks lamb ribs
- 1 pinch salt and black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup parsley
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic
- ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch salt and 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
Lamb Preparation and Post Marinade
- 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