Greeks love lamb…usually. It is certainly an acquired taste, which some people find too strong or game-y. If you are someone who likes lamb however, then you are probably going to love this recipe. Here, our parents take a special cut of meat, treat it with simplicity and ease, and create a dish which is quick enough for a weeknight dinner, yet fancy enough for company or a special occasion.
Although this lamb is so delicious that it can stand on it’s own, you will likely need to offer your family or friends something along with the meat. Consider serving your lamb with a salad, such as a pasta salad or the traditional Greek maroulosalata. Add some french fries to your table, a bit of tzatziki, and a nice hunk of fresh bread, and raise a glass to good health, good times and good food. Eva!
The longest part of this meal will be marinating the rack of lamb, in a marinade which you can probably make right now, with ingredients you already have in your pantry and fridge. There is nothing fancy here. Your rack of lamb should marinate for at least 2 – 4 hours, but longer is fine. This means that you can prepare your lamb and marinade in the morning before leaving for work, and have supper on the table in about 30 minutes (if you are using a gas grill of course).
Speaking of your grill…you can cook the rack of lamb on a gas grill (quick and easy) or a charcoal one (less quick, but in our opinion, more delicious). Either way, your meal will be great; but, your total cooking time will vary, as you will have to factor in the time it takes for your charcoal to heat up before you can start cooking.
Don’t be so tempted by your lamb that you dig into it right after taking it off the grill. The resting period is very important to ensure that all the juices remain in the meat, and so that the lamb’s internal temperature can raise a few extra degrees. Munch on some olives while you wait…it will be worth it.
The recipe below makes enough marinade for one rack of lamb (8 chops). As you can see in the photos, we made 2 racks of lamb, so we simply doubled the quantities in the marinade.
Greek rack of lamb
- 1 rack of lamb (total of 8 chops)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (4 ml) lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) oregano
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon (4 ml) chopped garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) dry thyme leaves
- Salt to taste For the Olive oil and lemon sauce (ladolemono)
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) Greek olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (4 ml) dried Greek oregano
- juice of one lemon (minimum of 3 tablespoons or 45 ml)
- Before starting, remove the excess fat from the lamb
- Combine all ingredients (except the lamb and the salt) in a large pan or large sealable bag. Mix well. Add the rack of lamb to the marinade mixture and make sure that it is coated well. Keep in refrigerator for 2 – 4 hours, minimally.
- Approximately 30 minutes prior to grilling the lamb, bring it to room temperature, still in the marinade.
- Turn on, or light, your grill to a medium high heat. Place your rack of lamb onto direct heat for about 3 minutes per side. At this point you can sprinkle salt to taste on either side as you are cooking the lamb. Watch for flare-ups which can occur.
- Transfer the lamb to indirect heat, close the lid of your grill and cook for about 15 minutes for a medium rare (bright pink colour) temperature of 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, if you are like our parents and prefer it medium-well (barely any pink), cook it for a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the rack of lamb is cooking, prepare your ladolemono (olive oil and lemon sauce) by mixing together the olive oil, fresh lemon juice and oregano. Set aside.
- Remove the lamb from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 – 10 minutes prior to slicing it into chops.
- Once sliced, you can pour some olive oil and lemon sauce (ladolemono) over the top of the lamb. Enjoy!