This post is going up the week before Easter this year, and it’s just in time, hopefully, to help with some amazing feasts. Lamb is one of the quintessential spring foods, rife with the imagery of fertility and new life, and it’s also just good. If you still haven’t nailed down your Easter dinner plans—or if you just need something to cook that is delicious and relatively quick, and you’re not reading this on the weekend it was published—this is the recipe you should pick. We’ll walk you through the thermal steps you need to cook perfect, rosy, medium-rare lamb chops that taste of spring and warm sun. Let’s get to it!
A temp-wise method for roasting lamb chops
No matter how you season your lamb (which we’ll cover down below), it just won’t be any good if you cook it wrong. But don’t worry, we have the process down.
Lamb chops are not big. Each chop comes in at only a few bites, and that small mass of meat can be difficult to cook properly. That’s why we often cook lamb rib loins as a whole rack—there’s more thermal mass and more protection against overcooking. But if we stack all our chops end to end like we do in a whole rack, there’s less roasty-seasoned flavor on each chop. Can we get a better surface-to-meat ratio while still preserving the thermal advantages of a whole rack?
The answer to this conundrum is double-cut chops. Cutting a chop that is two bones thick adds thermal mass and slows cooking, making it easy to hit a nice medium-rare, but gives each chop a whole side surface of seasoning.
But a thicker chop is not the only temp-wise part of this method. To cook these chops to a delicious, seared medium rare, we do a two-stage cook. This is, in many ways, like a reverse sear, but it’s all done in the oven.
First, we roast the lamb chops on the center rack of the oven at 400°F (204°C) until their internal temperature reaches 110°F (43°C), then remove them from the oven to cool. Such a small piece of meat in such a hot oven will experience quite a bit of carryover cooking. In fact, our batch rose an impressive 12°F (7°C) during this stage. While we wait for the meat temp peak and start to fall again, we turn the oven to broil on high heat and move our oven rack up to the top or second highest position. When the meat temp cools back down to 110°F (43°C), we put the chops back in the oven to broil and brown. We pull them from heat again when they reach 120°F (49°C), counting on carryover cooking once again. This time they should rest up to about 132°F (56°C): perfectly medium rare.
That may sound complex, but the results are worth it. And really, with ChefAlarm®, it’s not even that complex. Set the high-temp alarm for 110°F (43°C) and insert the optional needle probe into one of the chops. When the alarm sounds, take the meat out of the oven, then set the low temp alarm for 110°F (43°C). The meat will get warmer (carryover) and then start to cool.
Lambchops are best when cooked to medium rare, with a final temp of 130–135°F (54–57°C)
Having the low temp alarm set will let you know when it’s cooled enough to put back in the oven! Then you just reset your high-temp alarm and broil the chops, turning them as one side browns. Of course, you will want to verify the temp with your Thermapen® ONE, but that shouldn’t yield any big surprises.
Let the chops rest to finish their carryover cooking, then split them down the middle and serve them. It’s pretty easy and it’s very tasty.
Seasoning lamb chops
Lamb is delicious with just salt and pepper, but it’s even better with other flavors, too. It has a strong flavor, so it can stand up to some heavy seasoning and not get lost. In this case, we’re making a paste of capers, garlic, and dijon mustard. You can blend that together in a small food processor like we did, or you can use a mortar and pestle (this is one place where this may actually be more efficient). The garlic mellows in the high heat of the oven, and the capers and mustard bring bright acid and salinity. That would be good enough, but this recipe takes things one step further.
Lamb loves herbs, so making a minty, lemony chimichurri-style sauce is a great way to wake it up. You can use whatever herbs you like for it, but mint, parsley, and chives are a great combo.
Whether you’re looking for something for an Easter feast or just a delicious dinner on any other night, this recipe is a solid go-to. The chops spend a nice amount of time in the enzyme action zone so they are meltingly tender, and the two-stage cook with a cooldown in the middle is a fantastic way to get both the browning and doneness we want. Get your ChefAlarm and your Thermapen ONE out and try this recipe; you’ll be delighted that you did. Happy feasting!Print
Double-cut roasted Lamb Chops Recipe
Adapted from Food & Wine
For the sauce
- 1/4 C fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 C fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp chopped capers
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
For the lamb
- 2 racks of lamb
- 3 Tbsp capers
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Make the sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C)
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir together, tasting for salt.
- Set aside to allow the flavors to mellow and blend while you make the lamb chops.
Prepare and cook the lamb
- Trim the fat cap off of the lamb unless you love fat and like very lamby-tasting lamb.
- Cut the racks of lamb into two-bone chops. You should get four chops plus one little half-bone piece from each rack.
- Make the seasoning paste by combining the capers, garlic, mustard, and olive oil in a mortar and pestle or small food processor bowl and processing until a semi-smooth paste forms.
- Coat each chop in some of the paste and place bone-side down on a parchment-lined baking pan.
- Insert your ChefAlarm’s probe (or, better, the optional needle probe) into one of the chops (a smaller one, so as to not overcook the little ones). Set the high-temp alarm for 110°F (43°C) and cook the lamb. It should take about 12–15 minutes to get up to temp.
- When the high-temp alarm sounds, remove the chops from the oven and flip them so they are bone-side up. Set them on the counter to carry over and cool.
- Move your oven rack to the top or second-from-top spot. Preheat your oven to broil on high.
- Set your ChefAlarm’s low-temp alarm for 110°F (43°C). When the low-temp alarm sounds, re-set your high-temp alarm to 120°F (49°C).
- Put the lamb back in the oven and watch it closely. As the tops brown and sear, flip them over or to one side.
- When the high-temp alarm sounds, verify the temperature with your Thermapen ONE.
- Remove the chops to the counter and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Cut each chop in half between their bones.
- Serve with the herb sauce to accompany!
Shop now for products used in this post:
Kenneth Gifford says
What is the recipe for the side which Looks like pearl Couscous?
It is pearl couscous!
Saute together 1 shallot, sliced, about 1/4 C raisins, and 1/2 C dried apricots, quartered. Optionally, also use a whole cinnamon stick. When turning golden brown, add 2 C pearl couscous, and the amount of water suggested on the packaging. Give it about 1/2–1 tsp salt, and simmer according to package directions. Fluff, serve. It’s really VERY tasty.
Got this in my email today and INSTANTLY started salivating, holy moly. My family loves lamb chops, but wrestling the whole crown rack is just a pain. Gonna tuck this away for next year, for sure. (I’d say this year, but today is Good Friday, so it’s a bit late to do the shopping, alas….)
Just be sure not to lose it before next year! In fact, you should probably practice it once or twice this summer, right?!?
Ken Amelin says
Final temp for medium rare should be 125-130. I believe you will find 130 -135 more on the medium to medium well. Watch the temp !!! Don’t let it get away from you. I always use my
Thermapen, very accurate, quick and can’t live without it.
Mark McPherson says
If I read this right, it seems like you first BAKE the chops, then BROIL them (i.e. placed beneath the flame), correct?
Correct, it’s a two-stage: bake then broil.
Russell Gardner says
Any suggestions for grilling double cut lamb chops?
Use, essentially, the same procedure. Set up your grill for two-stage cooking, bring them up to the first temp, cool them, then sear them over the direct-heat side. They’ll be delicious!