Perfectly cooked, juicy and tender, this Smoked Rack of Lamb is delicious and full of flavor. You will not want to cook a whole rack of lamb chops any other way. A rack of lamb is a great meal to cook for guests. It's fancy yet still simple, and it tastes delicious!
Lamb is one of my favorite meats. I know it can be polarizing to some. There are people that don't like the hint of gaminess that you get with lamb. It is not the cheapest cut of meat either. But when you cook it medium rare and have the perfect balance of seasoning, it is hard to find a more mouth-watering dish. Prep time is fast, cook time is short and this recipe ensures you will have a beautiful meal in no time at all.
What is a rack of lamb?
A rack a lamb is a section of the ribs. They can be cut a prepared separately. When you have seven or eight of them together, it is called a rack of lamb. The meat that is attached is the eye muscle. It is a very tender piece of meat.
The preparation starts with a "french" to the bones. This uses a knife to clean off any meat and fat from the top of the bones and expose them. It gives the rack a very clean and distinct look. It also makes the bone a convenient handle when serving them.
After the rack is frenched, you will want to trim any excess fat that might not have the chance to cook or render nicely. Typically I will remove any excess fat beyond a thickness of one-quarter inch. Also, remove any silver skin membrane from the meat and back of the bones. This will allow the meat to cook more evenly and be easier to eat.
Ingredients for Smoked Rack of Lamb
Fresh Herbs (Rosemary) - I'm a big fan of using fresh herbs. We have an herb garden that we try to use as often as possible. Rosemary is one of our favorites. Did you know that it's been used for medicinal purposes to treat colds and flu since ancient times? We have used it in dishes with meat and poultry to cocktails and sangrias. If you don't have rosemary, you could easily use other herbs like basil or sage.
Garlic - Garlic is fantastic. It's nutritious and good for your heart, but it can also be used as a great spice in so many recipes. We use it in a lot of the dishes. Whenever I am using cloves of garlic, I will smash it with the side of the knife on the cutting board. This makes it so easy to take the skin off. It saves my hands from smelling like garlic for the rest of the day.
Olive oil - Olive oil is a healthy fat that contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It's been shown to improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. It also helps to coat the lamb to allow the rosemary to better adhere to the meat. For added flavor, I did bruise a bit of the rosemary with the back of my chef's knife and soak it in the olive oil to get more of the rosemary flavor.
Salt and Pepper - Salt and black pepper are an essential part of any recipe. They bring out the flavor in all your food, so never forget to put them on!
Making sure to properly season your food is important. But don't overseason, you can never take the salt out of the dish. I like to use larger flakes of salt or kosher salt. I find that it is easier to use when salting meat like lamb, beef, or pork. You are able to easily rub it into the meat and have less chance of over-salting it.
Lamb - As I already mentioned, lamb is a favorite of mine. A rack of lamb is a treat in my house. It is one of the most expensive cuts of meat that we buy and with a family of eight, we can go through a lot of it. The kids love it when I present the chops as lamb lollipops. There is a level of elegance that comes along with the rack of lamb.
In a restaurant, this would be served as an entire rack to one person. When cooking it at home, you can serve smaller portions, you don't need to serve it in the quantity you might with say chicken or pork. You will need at least two to three chops for each person if you are serving this as the main course.
Smoked Rack of Lamb Recipe
Step One: Prepare the rack of lamb. Remove lamb from packaging, rinse it with cold water, and pat dry with a paper towel. If the rack wasn't frenched from the butcher, start there. Remove any silver skin along with any chunks of excess fat.
Step Two: Finely mince a clove of garlic. Remove some rosemary leaves from the stem and finely dice them as well. Rub olive oil over the lamb and then rub the garlic and herbs all over the rack of lamb. Season all sides of the lamb with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Step Three: Place lamb directly on the smoker grate, bone side down, in your preheated smoker at 225°F. Smoke at 225F for approximately 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the lamb reaches your desired level of doneness. I like to finish the lamb in a preheated cast iron pan for a reverse sear.
The best way to Smoke a Rack of Lamb
I think we have perfected smoking a rack of lamb over cherry wood pellets for a rich and smoky flavor that will make your mouth water. The result is a tender cut of meat with just the right amount of seasoning so it doesn’t overpower any side dishes or desserts you serve alongside it.
If you don't have a pellet grill, you can easily use some cherry wood chips and place them on the coals of your charcoal grill. You could also use hickory or apple wood pellets, but I find the cherry provides the best balance of flavor to this dish.
One of my favorite parts of using pellet grills is that for something like this, which is a relatively short smoke, there is not much setup or clean-up involved.
When you preheat your smoker, you will also fire up your stove or gas grill to the highest heat. Heat up a large cast-iron skillet for at least 30 minutes. We are going to use this to reverse sear the lamb rack. Read below to learn how to reverse sear the smoked rack of lamb.
How long will it take to smoke a rack of lamb?
This depends on what temperature you smoke the lamb at. The lower the temperature, the longer you will be able to have it absorb the smoke, but you want to be careful to not dry the lamb out. I want to keep the lamb on the smoker for about 30 minutes. I can do that with a 200F or 225F temperature depending on how thick the rack is. You will want to use a meat thermometer that you can leave in for the entire smoke to closely monitor the internal temperature of the lamb.
What temperature should rack of lamb be cooked to?
This will depend on the level of doneness that you like. For a rare finish, cook the lamb to 115F-120F. Medium-rare will be around 125F. Medium is 130F-135F. I like my lamb medium-rare.
How to reverse sear rack of lamb
Preheat your cast iron pan in a hot grill or oven. I will crank my oven to 500F and let the cast iron pan preheat in it for 30 minutes. You can also use a gas grill and put all the burners on high do the same thing. This can usually be done, while the lamb is smoking.
The key to remember is that the lamb will continue to cook in the cast iron pan when you reverse sear it. So you need to account for that as you monitor the internal temp of the lamb as it smokes. I pull the lamb out of the smoker when it is 10 degrees away from being done.
Place the cast iron pan on the smoker or the grill and place the smoked lamb in it. You do not need to spray the pan. Use your tongs to roll the lamb along the meat side, pushing the bones down to ensure an even sear all along the outside of the lamb. Sear each side for about 30 seconds. Once you are done searing, it should be at your desired final temperature. Let the rack of lamb rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before serving.
How to serve the rack of lamb
Cutting the lamb is very easy. Place the lamb on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife cut down between each of the bones. This will give you nice individual chops that you can serve just like that as an appetizer, or plate them nicely as the star of the dish. A full rack of lamb will usually give you about eight chops. That will serve at least two people, you could stretch it to three or four depending on what else you are serving with them.
A rack of lamb can also be served with seared or smoked scallops or lobster as an elegant version of surf and turf.
The nice thing about the rack of lamb is it will also give you a degree or two of doneness. If you like rare and your date prefers medium-rare, give her the chops closer to the ends where the meat will be done slightly more, you can then take the middle rarer pieces for yourself.
Other dishes to serve with Traeger Smoked Rack of Lamb
I like to serve them on top of something that will soak up the yummy juices from the lamb. Mashed potatoes, risotto, or even quinoa work well for this. You could even serve it over mashed cauliflower if you are trying to stay low carb. I also like to serve lamb with grilled delicata squash, smoked baked potatoes, or smoked mac and cheese.
Other Elegant Dinners
In my mind, an elegant dinner is one that you don't have every day, it appears fancy, has a ton of flavor, and can be served to mark a special occasion whether it is a birthday celebration, an anniversary or just a romantic dinner.
Here are my favorites to include with Smoked Rack of Lamb:
And for dessert:
Want to cook an entire leg of lamb? Check out our Smoked Leg of Lamb!
How about a shank? Try this Smoked Lamb Shank recipe!
- 1.25 lb rack of lamb
- 2 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Remove lamb from packaging. Rinse and pat dry. French the bones and remove any silver skin.
- Finely mince garlic clove and fresh rosemary leaves.
- Rub rack of lamb with oil and rub thoroughly with minced garlic and rosemary.
- Season all sides of the lamb with salt and pepper.
- Place rack of lamb bone side down directly on the grate in preheated smoker. Smoke lamb for approximately 30 minutes at 200°F - 225°F.
- Using a meat thermometer, closely monitor the internal temperature of the lamb and cook until the desired doneness. For medium-rare cook until internal temperature reaches 125°F. Remove from smoker and let rest for 5 minutes.
Reverse Searing Rack of Lamb
- If you wish to reverse sear the lamb after smoking it. Preheat cast iron pan in the oven at 500°F for at least 20 minutes. Remove lamb from the smoker at 115°F internal temperature.
- Set hot cast iron pan on grill and place the smoked lamb into it, searing all sides of the lamb for about 30 seconds each. Once all sides are seared and internal temperature reaches desired doneness, remove the lamb from pan and let rest for 5 minutes.