Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cut of the Week: Rack of Lamb

There is not much that rivals the look of a rack of lamb plated, just waiting to be cut up and served barely drizzled with a succulent sauce. This impressive looking cut can also be very intimidating to those unfamiliar with how to prepare this wonderful cut of lamb. I once had the wife of a chef purchase 5 racks for a dinner party and she had never cooked lamb - ever! In fact she had never cooked for her husband before this evening. She was incredibly brave and the birthday party for her husband was a huge success due mainly to a few simple pointers that kept the meat tender and juicy.

The rack of lamb comes from the rib section and is usually cut into sections containing 8 ribs. This cut of meat is so tender that it takes well to grilling or roasting.

The term "Frenching" refers to the technique of trimming the fat from all eight bones up to the first section of meat. This gives the cut its distinctive look.

The rack always comes with a thick layer of fat cover which helps to keep the meat tender and juicy during roasting. The problem with this fat when grilling is that it tends to ignite and char the rack, so trim off any thick layers of fat but don't trim too closely, always leave a small layer that will render throughout the meat during grilling.

Only cook the meat to an internal temperature of 120F and then tent the meat with foil for 15 minutes to allow the protein in the meat to uncurl and relax. This is a big secret to cooking all meats.

When using a marinade don't apply it at the beginning of the cooking period or it will burn and char. Keep the lid on for the first bit of cooking and then grill directly above the coals with the lid removed to get a nice brown crust on the rack. Brush on the marinade before this final phase.

Don't miss this week's recipe - Grilled Rack of Lamb

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