It’s no secret I love my lamb dishes and cooking lamb cutlets is no different.
I just love that crispy rendered outer layer from the super tasty fat, mixing with the meaty flavors and complimenting herbs and spices. The smell of lamb in the air really makes me think of BBQ time in Australia, sunny summer days, and just relaxing with family and friends.
It’s making me salivate just thinking about these grilled lamb cutlets
It’s all in the cut-let
When it comes to lamb chops, the main three available are forequarter or BBQ chops as they are known here in Australia, then loin chops or mini T Bones and cutlets, or the ribeye as they can be known. They are all delicious in my book but today we are using the lamb ribeye or cutlet.
The cutlet is just the perfect BBQ food. Not only is it a simple food to cook, but you also have so many options to add spices and heat. They even come with their own built-in handle!
That’s why lamb cutlets have become a staple at my BBQs for years, whether they are for starters so my guests can pick them up and eat while still holding a drink or if I add a few extra elements and make them a main, like this recipe.
Especially once you accompany them with my sticky pomegranate sauce, this just takes these chops to a whole new level. Pomegranate works so well with lamb and after you try this recipe, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Items that will help you cook these are:
- A 22”
- A Kettle Kone / Vortex
- Various spices
- Instant-read thermometer (I’m using a ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE)
How to trim your cutlets
Lamb can tend to be a very fatty cut of meat. This includes the cutlets that we are using today. If you didn’t know the cutlets are just a rack of lamb that has been separated.
You can buy the whole rack with the fat cap still attached, or sometimes you’ll see it labelled as”drenched”. The term frenching refers to making the cut of meat more presentable by removing either fat or some meat as well. The meat may also be trimmed so it cooks evenly.
I actually do not mind leaving some of the fat cap on cutlets, as it will render down a little and it does tend to add a lot of flavor.
Some people prefer it without the fat, I feel it is one of those cuts that is purely decided on personal preference on how you prep it.
So today, we will be leaving the cutlets as they are, that being with some of the fat cap on them.
Seasoning your lamb cutlets
Earthy herb flavors work really well with lamb. You can also pair it with garlic and wine, you can even add some spice to lean towards a middle eastern flavor profile like we will with the sauce today by adding pomegranate.
I have a tried and tested seasoning for lamb, be it smaller cutlets and chops or bigger cuts like shoulder, rack and leg.
The only difference is that instead of using granules and flakes with some seasonings, I use powders for these smaller cuts.
Mine consists of sea salt flakes or kosher salt, lemon pepper, dried rosemary and oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. These smaller cuts of lamb lend a lot better to finer spices used on them.
Making the pomegranate sauce
This sticky pomegranate sauce will take your lamb cutlets to the next level while complementing the flavors you are already adding.
I have been using pomegranate to flavor my lamb dishes for quite a few years now, it really does work so well with the gamey flavor of lamb.
The sauce is really just there to complement the lamb and consists of flavors that do this really well, like pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, red wine, brown sugar, garlic, cloves, bay leaves, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
These all get heated up with some unsalted butter, then adding a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up some more before discarding the cloves and bay leaf and allowing the sauce to cool.
Once mixed altogether and allowed to reduce and thicken up, it will be a favorite condiment on many dishes.
This sauce is a very well rounded one and I have used it on duck, chicken, pork and a few fish dishes.
I do tend to add a little heat into it when using pork or chicken, a teaspoon of cayenne pepper gives it a nice little kick to waken up the senses.
Do yourself a favor and add this to your next rack of pork ribs and see if anyone can pick the ingredients. I’m sure the ribs will be a huge hit.
Setting up the BBQ for hot and fast indirect cooking
I’m using a 22 inch
I’ll start off by lighting 3/4 of a chimney starter of briquettes and once this is fully alight, I’ll dump the hot coals into the Kettle Kone and put the grill in place and the lid back on, making sure all of the vents are wide open.
The Kettle Kone (Vortex) is made to ramp up the heat, forcing the heat towards the top of the lid and then it rolls down the sides of the lid and bowl making the outermost part of the cooking grate extremely hot. Yet we don’t get any direct radiant heat from the flames, so the chances of burnt meat disappear and we end up with perfectly cooked meat every time.
I’m aiming for temps between 450°F and 480°F.
I’ll allow the grill to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the ribs. The reason for this is a hot grill will sear our food, thus preventing it from sticking to the grill. It will also start the caramelizing of the underside of our meat.
So the grill has warmed up, time to add the ribs on the outermost part of the cooking grate and place the lid back on. These will take 45 minutes to cook, so I’ll set a time for every 15 minutes and I’ll turn the lid a third of the way every 15 minutes. The reason is, the lid vent creates a hotspot and by turning the lid we are ensuring all the food gets cooked evenly.
Try not to lift the lid while turning, we want to keep the high heat in there.
Once the 45 minutes is up, it’s time to take the ribs of the heat and plate them up.
I’ll normally serve 3 to 4 cutlets per adult, drizzle some of the pomegranate sauce over them, add small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with some lemon thyme leaves.
Lamb cutlets pair well with a range of sides, roasted or steamed vegetables would have to be a favorite of mine. Although I do tend to just grab them as they are and eat them like a meat lollipop.
Lamb Cutlets with Pomegranate Sauce
- 12 lamb cutlets
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon thyme leaves to garnish
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp lemon pepper
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup red wine
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tsp salt flakes
- 50 grams unsalted butter
- 3 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ⅓ cup hot water
- Trim any excess fat off the cutlets if desired.
- Make the seasoning up by mixing salt, lemon pepper, dried rosemary, dried oregano, garlic and onion powder together.
- Lightly brush the cutlets with olive oil and season on each side with lamb seasoning.
- Light up ¾ of a chimney starter with briquettes, once ashed over, put into a kettle kone, then place the grill back and put the lid on, open all vents and allow the Weber to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Put the cutlets on the cooking grill and cook for 45 minutes, turn the lid a third of the way every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
- To make the sauce add the pomegranate molasses, maple syrup, red wine, brown sugar, garlic, black pepper, salt, butter, cloves and the bay leaf to a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cornstarch to the hot water to make a slurry, slowly add to the sauce while whisking continuously until thickened.
- Take off the heat and discard the cloves and bay leaf.
- Once the cutlets are ready, take them off the heat and drizzle over some of the pomegranate sauce, then add a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and garnish with some lemon thyme leaves.
- With roasted vegetables.
- With mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.
- On their own.