Rack Of Lamb
By R. Scott Pearson, CEO
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Rack of Lamb is a beautiful treat for festive occasions, such as Christmas or other holidays. It is amazingly simple and quick to prepare considering the delicious outcome.
A full rack will have 12 or 13 bones, and is usually enough for two people if they aren’t too hungry. Lambs go to market at different sizes, depending on where they are raised, so that can vary. In this recipe, we cook two racks. Leftovers are wonderful, cold or reheated.
Step one is to salt the meat, which is best done the night before. Just apply kosher salt in the same amount that you would at the table. If in doubt, apply lightly, remember that the meat isn’t very thick. You can also apply a little bit of garlic and black pepper. You won’t need much if you are using bread crumbs with herbs and spices.
Step two is to preheat the Traeger. Depending on the model, you will need to set the grill to 425ºF or the High setting and give it about 30 minutes to get up to temperature. If the grill doesn’t quite reach 425ºF, the results will still be good, but if your pellets are damp and the grill won’t get over 400ºF the crust won’t brown up as nicely.
Step three is to apply a bread crumb crust. Bread crumbs make a delicious coating, but they need a good binder. Dijon mustard is an ideal binder for bread crumbs. Even if you don’t like mustard, you will probably love a mustard-bread crumb crust. The flavor of mustard mostly disappears in the heat of the Traeger grill or oven. Use plenty of Dijon to make sure the breadcrumbs stick well and completely cover the meat. If there is a membrane over the meat, remove it before applying the mustard.
Step four is to pop the meat on the grill and wait until it reaches perfect doneness. It only takes about 15 minutes to get the meat up to medium rare temperature when cooking at 425ºF. The racks can be tented with the bones interlaced and placed directly on the grates. I like tender rib meat done medium rare, which is about 125ºF internal temperature. If you like medium, 135 to 140ºF is about right.
Quick cooking at high temperature keeps the meat moist, and the bread crumb crust seals the juices into the meat. Resting ten to twenty minutes also helps keep the meat moist when it’s cut and served. Bread crumbs pick up smoke flavor faster than meat, which is a good thing because this recipe doesn’t put much smoke into the meat.