Smoked Lamb Chops Recipe – Vindulge

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These Smoked Lamb Chops are smoked then grilled hot and fast and cut into individual lollipop portions for an elegant appetizer or serve two per person for an entrée.

Don’t be intimidated by lamb. These are easy and absolutely delicious and one of the most flavorful cuts. When smoked, it really balances out the traditional gamy flavor. Or try our grilled lamb chop recipe – it’s super easy.

Smoked Lamb Chops cooking on a grill

Lamb is one of my favorite things to make for a dinner party or date night in. It’s also one of the most requested items we get for catering events. It’s easy to see why. These smoked lamb chops (also referred to as lamb lollipops) are filled with amazing flavor.

And if you’re scared of the slightly gamy nature of lamb I can assure you some of that is tamed by the sweet smoke and herb crust. The added texture and flavor from grilled lamb is also a great finishing touch, basically making this a reverse sear style of cooking.

Plus these flavors are pure fall to me with all those fresh herbs! Yum.

What Is a Lamb Chop?

The chop simply references a steak from lamb. It can come from many areas of a lamb including an rib roast, shoulder, or other more traditional area where steaks come from. This recipe is using an entire lamb rib roast and cutting them into “chops” when we are done.

“Frenched” lamb references the trimming of your rib bone predominantly for presentation sake. A lamb “lollipop” is specific to a rack of lamb, or lamb chop, that is served with just one bone versus the whole rib. It’s great as a finger food because you can hold it by the bone (hence lollipop), or served on a dish.

Smoked Lamb Chops or Lollipops
Rare lamb lollipops cooked to 120 degrees Fahrenheit make for a great appetizer.

To prep your lamb chops simply trim any excess fat and silver skin. Trimming any excess fat allows the smoke to infuse into the meat versus the fat. Lamb chops cook fairly fast on the smoker (even set to a low temperature), so that fat won’t all render out if you leave it all there. So trim away.

*Pro Tip: Buy them already frenched if you can! It’s no easy task 😉 to get all those bones trimmed and clean.

Lamb Seasoning: Herb Paste

Fresh herbs and lamb go together like peanut butter and jelly, so we’re making a paste out of our favorite herbs with a touch of sweet. In a food processor add a combination of sage, rosemary, and thyme (feel free to add some parsley if you’re feeling the Simon and Garfunkel vibe), with some garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, honey, and olive oil. Pulse until combined and it’s ready for the lamb.

Ingredients for herb paste for grilled lamb

Apply the paste liberally to your lamb chops. Next, you’re ready to smoke the lamb.

How To Smoke a Rack of Lamb

We serve the dish in individual chops (or lollipop). For ease of cooking, we’re smoking as a whole rack to focus on a tender interior, and smoking the lollipops (the rib rack as individual cuts) separately dramatically increases the likelihood of over cooking. So keep the rib rack together to ensure a consistent cook.

Cooking Lamb on the Smoker
  1. Set your smoker to 225 degrees using fruit wood (we use PNW apple). You can do this on whatever smoker you have (whether an offset, pellet grill, or kettle grill). For these we’re doing it on our Big Green Egg for simplicity of going from a low smoke to a high heat for the finish.
  2. Next, you’ll want to place the coated lamb on the smoker and cook for around 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the center of the rib rack is 120 degrees (F) internal temperature (IT).
  3. Then pull the lamb, and increase the heat. Get it hot and set it up for direct cooking targeting 450 degrees F over direct heat.
  4. Grill the lamb for two minutes per side for a sear. The lamb is already at your desired temperature, so the quick sear gives the nice crust to form.
  5. Rest and slice the lamb chops. Resting for 10 minutes allows carry over cooking to occur and for the juices to redistribute in the meat as the temperature stabilizes.

*Note: if you are cooking to medium, smoke the meat until the IT reaches 135 degrees, then transfer to the final step, and sear.

Lamb Chops cooking on the grill 2

Smoked Lamb Chop FAQs

What’s the best temperature for grilled or smoked lamb?

USDA suggests 145 for medium-well doneness as they define the safe cooking zone. In reality, the ranges for lamb are like beef. 115 – 120 for rare, 120 – 125 for medium-rare, 130- 135 for medium, and so on. When you are buying quality meat from a trusted source, you should feel confidant in cooking rare or medium rare.

How many people will one rack of lamb serve?

A rack of lamb will have 8 bones. For an entrée consider 2 lamb chops per person (1 per person as an appetizer portion).

Can I cook this recipe if I don’t have a smoker?

Yes! But it won’t have that sweet smoke deliciousness. You can roast it in your oven, or cook it in your grill over medium heat. Finish on a hot cast iron pan for that crusty sear. Use the oven for the low portion, and the cast iron pan for the finish.

Where do I take the temperature in a rack of lamb?

Using an instant read thermometer like the Thermoworks Thermapen One, take the temperature in the center of the rack, inserting probe only halfway into the meat. You want to be sure you are temping the meat in the center.
Taking the temperature of lamb chops with a digital thermometer

Pairing Wine with Lamb

Lamb is fantastic with a variety of wines. Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite pairings. But since I live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, I always have a few bottles of Pinot Noir around, and Pinot Noir is another excellent match for lamb (especially the bolder and darker styles) from both Oregon and the Burgundy region of France. The fruity and savory components of a good Pinot pairs perfectly with the herb combo and earthy and slightly gamey flavors of the meat.

More Smoked Lamb Recipe Ideas


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This recipe was originally published September of 2018 and updated in October of 2020 with new guided recipe, nutritional information, and smoking steps.

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Smoked Lamb Chops cooking on a grill
4.36 from 17 votes

Smoked Lamb Chops Recipe

Smoked Lamb Chops cooked low on the smoker for flavor and then finished grilled hot and fast. Cut into an individual lollipop for an elegant appetizer or serve two for an entrée.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Grilling Time: 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 rack of lamb, (or 8 bones)

Herb Paste

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, approximately 3 sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon course ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions 

Herb Paste and Seasoning Lamb

  • Trim off excess fat and silver skin from the rack of lamb. 
  • Combine the herb paste ingredients together in a food processor and pulse. Apply paste liberally to the lamb. You can do this up to 24 hours prior. If you season early, wrap the lamb in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to smoke.

Smoked Lamb Chops

  • Prepare your smoker to 225 degrees using a fruit wood like apple or cherry.
  • Place rack of lamb on the smoker for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the internal temperature of the rack of lamb reads 120 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Then remove and prep your grill/smoker for direct heat.
  • Sear the lamb 2 minutes per side for your crust. Look for an internal temperature of 125 for medium-rare, and 145 for medium-well.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice into individual lollipops and serve.

Video

Notes

Serve individually as a finger food or appetizer.
If serving as a main dish we love it over veggies or a root vegetable puree.

Nutrition

Calories: 613kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 362mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Grilling Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 613
Keyword: Grilled Lamb Chop Ribs, lollipop lamb chops, Smoked Lamb Chops, Smoked Lamb Lollipops
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Vindulge

About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I once went to a tailgate where Lamb Lollipops were served and I was obsessed. I think they’re the perfect tailgating food because they come with their own built in handle! Your version looks amazing Mary – Thanks for breaking things down for us!