Pork and beef ribs are both well-established barbecue staples. For some reason, lamb ribs don’t get anywhere near the attention.
I’ve been experimenting with lamb ribs and trying to perfect the hot and fast version. I think I’ve finally found the perfect balance of flavor and texture and with a cook time of less than an hour, you can be tucking into these delicious savory lamb ribs in no time.
For this recipe, I cooked the lamb ribs on the
Click to jump straight to each topic
Why cook lamb ribs hot and fast
Because time is limited, I’m hungry, sometimes I want a quick feed but want it to be tasty.
Lamb ribs weren’t always available in my town, so I asked my local butcher to put some aside for me.
He said he usually just bones them out and uses the meat to produce sausages. So now I have a good local supply of lamb ribs locally as he sells a lot of them and thanked me for the suggestion. So it is always a good idea to talk and chat to your butcher as this is just another case of me telling them exactly what I wanted and they were only too happy to accommodate me.
I love low and slow cooking of any type of ribs but time can sometimes be an issue. So I went on a mission to perfect hot and fast ribs, not replicate low and slow but get the best out of a different set up of cook. I think these are pretty near perfect for what I was aiming for.
The two biggest differences from low and slow to hot and fast is obviously the heat and I’ll be cutting the ribs into individual ribs. The smaller pieces take less time to cook and therefore we are able to push them a little harder than a whole rack still intact.
Items that will help you cook these are:
- A hooded BBQ that can produce high indirect heat (I’m using a 22” Weber Kettle)
- Lump charcoal
- Various spices
- Vortex (I’m using a Kettle Kone)
- Rub shaker
- Boning or trimming knife
Watch the video below to see a full step by step guide to this recipe.
Prepping the lamb ribs
Like any other type of ribs, first, you need to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs along the bones.
Since we are cutting these into individual rib pieces, it isn’t 100% necessary but the membrane is chewy and stops flavor penetrating into the meat. Plus when I eat ribs I attack them like a rabid dog on its last meal and the last thing I want is something chewy, so off it comes.
Next up you need to trim any excess fat. When I say excess I mean large thick pieces. I’m happy to have a thin layer of an 1/8th of an inch but any more than that just won’t render down in a hot and fast cook.
Now just turn the ribs over again exposing the bones and using a sharp knife, slice between each bone to separate the ribs. I cut for the bone side to make things easier as I can see the bones, just like when I cook a whole rack and wish to slice it up, I’ll always flip the rack to expose the bones.
The ribs are ready for some seasoning.
What rub to use on lamb?
As I stated above, lamb is very gamey and therefore it lends best to savory herbs and spices.
Our own lemon pepper lamb rub works a treat.
Lemon, rosemary and other earthy herbs are perfect. So my go to seasoning for my lamb is a combination of kosher salt, lemon pepper, dried rosemary, dried oregano, garlic powder and onion powder.
Because these elements all have a different size and shape, I like to make sure it is thoroughly mixed up every time before I use it, as the smaller particles from the garlic powder and onion powder will tend to make their way to the bottom of any container we store the rub in.
Hence why I use a rub shaker and before each use, I can give it a quick shake to ensure each shake of the rub on my meat is seasoning the same from the first to the last piece.
All too often I see people applying their seasonings from a very close height, which creates clumps of seasoning and an uneven flavor at the end of your cook. By raising where you apply the seasoning to around 12 inches, the rub coming out of a shaker has time to separate and spread evenly before it hits your meat. This will ensure that every bite from start to finish will taste the same.
So we start off giving the ribs a light covering of olive oil, I usually just drizzle some over them while they are on a baking tray and then using a basting brush I make sure they all get a nice even light coating to help the seasoning stick.
Then I give my rub shaker a shake up to mix the ingredients and apply a light coating to the ribs from around 12 inches high, then I turn them over and repeat, making sure every rib has an even light coating of the rub.
Then let the ribs sit aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the salts to activate with the outer part of the ribs.
Setting up the BBQ for hot and fast indirect cooking
I’m using a 22 inch
I’ll start off by lighting a chimney starter ¾ full of lump charcoal 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 like anything straight off the grill, they will be hot, so grab a napkin to hold your ribs to start eating straight away. You and I both know no matter how many times I stress not to eat these right away, you will anyway, so we may as well stop you burning your fingers.
Most lamb cuts do not like to be cooked past medium internal temp of 130°F to 135°F but these ribs can be pushed a bit further than that to the 140°F to 150°F range.
Trust me, the smell coming off these is incredible but I strongly recommend you do let them cool for 5 minutes.
In your mouth is my first suggestion but serve these with grilled asparagus and or roasted potatoes. Even a fresh salad. These ribs are a very versatile meat and pair well with most other foods.
You could also make some of my pomegranate sauce to drizzle over.
Lemon & Rosemary Grilled Lamb Ribs
- 2 racks of lamb ribs
Lemon Pepper Seasoning:
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp lemon pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Lemon Pepper Lamb Ribs
- Remove the membrane for the back of the lamb ribs.
- Trim off any excess fat from the top of the meat side as this will not render down.
- Split the rack into individual ribs.
- Lightly coat in oil.
- Season with rub and make sure all ribs get an even light coating.
- Heat the BBQ grill up for indirect heat and wait until the grill is hot before putting the ribs in.
- Place the ribs in the BBQ away from the direct heat and place the lid back on.
- Cook for 45 minutes, turning the lid every 15 minutes to ensure and even cook.
- Once cooked, remove from heat and allow cooling for 5 minutes.
- With roasted and grilled vegetables or a fresh salad.
- Although as a snack, I just eat them on their own.