Monday, September 14, 2009

When To Season Meat- Lamb

For the Labor day weekend, I decided to have a family cook-out at our new house.  Knowing that I was having both of our (My wife and I) families, I knew I would have to have a healthy dose of meat.  My wife's family is known for expressing love through copious amounts of animal carcass and creamy french cheese.  My family often just prepares food for 25 people when there are only 10 coming over.  So, to make both families proud, I put together the following dishes:

1) Hand-cut coleslaw with homemade dressing; 2) Potato salad with fingerling white, red, Japanese Purple Sweet, and fingerling sweet potatoes, celery, and egg; 3) Arugula salad with shaved Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly boiled red beets (blot them totally dry so they don't bleed into the salad), with a dressing of red apple balsamic vinegar and black truffle oil; 4) 2 racks of pork ribs- one baby back and one spare, dry rubbed the night before, slow roasted in the oven, basted once with homemade BBQ sauce, then finished on the charcoal grill, see here, for a nice crispy, smokey finish (recipe and method forthcoming); 5) Two racks of New Zealand lamb; 6) homemade chocolate chip and pecan cookies or peanut butter Heath Bar cookies (100% my wife); 6) Of course you need a few hot dogs an bratwursts for the fillers; 7) 14 ears of corn that never really made it to the table because everyone was so full.  There was also contributions from family including macaroni salad, pies, ect.  

But this post is about the Lamb.  It was clear that the racks, seasoned 8 hours before cooking, were by far better than others I have cooked that were seasoned earlier.  I did not even bother with the 4 hour or 1 hour season because of the fat content on the top-side of the racks.  There was a nice thick, dense layer of fat that, when I began to cook them on the VERY hot grill, melted into the rest of the meat and made the taste incredible.  I did not get any pictures of the meal, but I can assure you that Lamb is best seasoned at LEAST 6 hours before cooking.  Season very liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  My sister-in-law asked me if I used anything else because the taste seemed different, but that was all- just salt and pepper.  

One tip, however, for seasoning racks of Lamb.  When seasoning the top layer of fat, just when you think you have seasoned it enough, season it again.  It takes a lot of salt to season that dense of a layer of fat.  Also, when you cook the rack, the fat will render and run into the coals.   That is flavor leaving the final product, so you have to make sure that enough remains.  You might also want to season in stages.  Season once, then come back to it a few hours later and throw another fresh layer of S&P on the meat.  

So, go get some Lamb and don't forget to wrap the frenched bones in tin foil BEFORE you put the meat on the grill.  Otherwise you will loose some bones to the heat like I did (I forgot and tried to wrap them after a few minutes on the grill- ouch).  Also, don't forget to let the meat sit for about 5-10 minutes before cutting.  130-135 degrees on the thickest part of the meat for a nice medium-rare to medium, so take the meat off the grill at 125 or 128 and let the carry-over cooking do the rest.  

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kris, I forgot to get the recipe for the BBQ sauce you used on the ribs. Not because you are my son, but that was the BEST BBQ sauce ever! Please share with us, your ingredients. Thanks, Mom