Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fancy Pants: Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

One of my friends used to work for the Buckhead branch of a snazzy little restaurant called Brio and the first thing she ever gave me to try was Gorgonzola lamb chops.  In that first instant of the tasting I both learned the marvels of Gorgonzola cheese and the brilliance of a good lamb chop. Since then, every time I go to Brio or a similarly fancy restaurant and I am in the mood to drop a little coin, I go for the lamb chops. Accordingly, when I saw the french rack of lamb in meat heaven (Sam's) I had to get it.  We planned to have the neighbors over and I had read a decent recipe for herb crusted rack of lamb in the BGE cookbook. All systems go...

After cutting the package open and complaining about the gamey smell of the lamb, MBH prepped the herb crust: 1/2 cup parsley, 1 tbsp minced shallots, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp minced garlic in the food processor for about 15 secs. She then added salt and pepper to taste.

I preheated the egg for direct cooking to 450º.  I placed the rack fat side down on the grate for about 4 minutes and then removed them.  The rack was coated on all sides with Dijon mustard and the herbs were applied generously.  In the meantime, I took the grate off the BGE and placed the plate setter in legs down and got it to around 400º.  I stood the lamb on end, leaning bone up, into each other as seen in the first image below.  I inserted the Maverick thermometer meat probe I had just gotten into the rack and rested the grill probe on the stone.  I let it cook for about 20 minutes until it read 125º for medium rare.  I added some Gorgonzola to the outside of the rack to recreate what I had remembered (and since dreamed about) and let them go for 2 more minutes.  I came back in to cut them and learned that MBH and our guests preferred medium (or a little more pink than the purple color I had accomplished) so I threw them back on for another 10 minutes or so until the internal temp was 140º. Then I cut and served them.

I think the lamb was a little underdone when I first pulled them off but I think this was due to the placement of my probe.  I placed the probe near the top of the standing meat where it should have been more in the meaty part of the rack around the base.  The second time I pulled them off they looked more medium rare to me than medium.  The lamb had great texture and the Gorgonzola really added to the flavor.  If I get to do this again I think I would cook the lamb to about 125º, cut the chops and then add more herb crust and Gorgonzola to the cut edges of the meat and throw them back on the grill for a couple minutes.  However, because MBH is still concerned with the gamey smell and taste I don't know that I will ever get the opportunity to cook this again.