Grill Perfect Lamb Chops | Reader's Digest

Grill Perfect Lamb Chops

Learn the secrets to cooking the most flavorful and tender lamb chops on the grill.

Lamb chops are a great choice for grilling. They’re quick, foolproof to cook, and loaded with flavor. In this article, you’ll learn which chop cuts are best for grilling, how to prep chops, how to grill chops based on their thickness, how to pan-broil chops, and various seasoning recipes.

Choice Chops
Tender lamb chops cut from the loin are the ultimate choice. They are followed closely in tenderness by rib chops.

Shoulder chops, with a round or blade bone, are also delicious and are generally less expensive than loin or rib chops. However, they are also less tender and may need to be marinated, as in our recipe.

Chop Prep
Trim the outer fat on a chop to about 1/8 inch. The thin layer of fat will moisten the meat as it cooks and can be trimmed off afterward. Rub chops lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Thick or Thin
For medium-rare 1-inch-thick chops that are nicely browned, place the meat 5 to 6 inches above hot coals covered with gray ash and grill 4 to 5 minutes per side or until the center is pink when slit with a knife. For well-done chops, position the meat 8 inches above a medium fire and grill 6 to 7 minutes on one side and 4 to 5 minutes on the other.

Although 1-inch chops are standard, some markets offer 1/2-inch chops. Estimate their cooking time at about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Double rib or loin chops for grilling can be custom cut to 2 inches thick. Grill them over coals that are well burned down, turning as needed to brown them nicely: 10 to 12 minutes for rare, 12 to 15 minutes for medium, or 15 to 18 minutes for well done.

Frequently turning of chops on the grill prolongs cooking. It’s not a good idea for thinner cuts unless they are basted. But do turn thick chops often.

Pan-Broiling Chops
Pan-broiling is done in a heavy skillet on top of the stove. It takes about half the time as oven broiling and differs from frying in that it is done over dry heat, with little or no added fat. Pan-broiling is best for meat that is less than 1 inch thick.

Heat the skillet and brush the chops with a little oil. Pan-broil 1-inch chops over high heat, cooking halfway through before turning: 8 to 9 minutes for rare, 10 to 12 for medium.

The best pan for pan-broiling is a heavy iron skillet with grids. The grids allow meat to cook at high heat without sticking and elevate it above fatty pan drippings.

Seasoning Variations
For grilled chops: Brush chops with bottled barbecue sauce, herb vinaigrette, or Italian dressing. Or throw sprigs or rosemary, thyme, or sage on the coals. Or toss some soaked oak or hickory wood chips on the coals.

For pan-broiled chops: Rub chops with one of the following combinations and set aside 15 to 30 minutes before broiling: garlic, olive oil, and black pepper; garlic and fresh ginger; garlic and soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.

Easy Marinating
The simplest way to marinate meat for any recipe is to put both the meat and the marinade in a heavy self-sealing plastic bag. It makes it easy to move meat around and coat it with marinade, it takes up little space in the refrigerator, and it requires no cleanup.