Smoked salmon is my favorite way to eat this fish (although grilled on a cedar plank is a close second). The texture of the salmon and smokey goodness infused provide a different element that baking in the oven just can’t match. In this recipe post, I’ll go over the brining, drying, and smoking of the salmon. While the overall time will take many hours, the labor is minimal and the results are outstanding!
Brining the Salmon
To make the brine, you’ll need to start with four cups of water and one cup of soy sauce. Then add 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, two cloves minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl until no granules remain at the bottom of bowl.
As far as a container to hold the salmon and the brine, it depends on the size of the salmon fillet. A 13″ x 9″ pan should be fine, especially if you cut the salmon into sections beforehand. Also, you need to make sure you can fit container in your fridge. If not, then put in a cooler with some ice (make sure the cooler isn’t stored in a hot place). Brine for a total of eight hours.
Developing the Pellicle
After brining, remove the salmon fillet from the solution and rinse briefly. If you don’t, then the outside of the salmon will taste a wee bit salty. Pat dry with a paper towel and then place the fillet(s) on a cooling rack and in the fridge for five hours. In my experience, no excess drips from the salmon during this time. If you are concerned, place a cutting board underneath the cooling rack to be safe.
Placing the salmon in the fridge on a rack to cool for hours helps it develop a pellicle. The pellicle is a thin layer of protein on the surface of the meat. This pellicle is great for absorbing smoke. Hence, this process is vital for smoked salmon to be…well, smoked.
Smoking the salmon
Speaking of smoked, let’s get the grill going! Preheat your grill to 170 degrees over indirect heat, using pecan wood. Keep the salmon on the cooling rack and place in the grill and let smoke until internal temps reach around 140 degrees. This will take around four hours. Each hour while the salmon is on the grill, brush maple syrup on the fillets, coating the top and sides. I highly recommend using a digital thermometer, like the Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks, to monitor temps during the process.
With most meats, I recommend a resting period before digging in. But this smoked salmon can be eaten right away! The smoked salmon should have a flaky texture when you dig in with a fork. My family agrees this is their favorite way I cook salmon and your family and friends might feel the same!
Yield: Four servings
Maple Glazed Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon is a process that involves hours of brining, cooling, and smoking, but is mostly hands-off and low maintenance. This maple glazed smoked salmon just might become your favorite way to eat this fish!
Prep Time13 hours
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time17 hours
1 salmon fillet (16 oz)
4 Cups warm water
1 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 Cup maple syrup
In medium-sized bowl, combine water, soy sauce, kosher salt, brown sugar, minced garlic, onion powder, and ground ginger. Stir until dissolved.
Place salmon in 13" x 9" container and pour in solution. Place container in refrigerator for eight hours. Rinse salmon when done brining and place on cooling rack. Place back in refrigerator for five hours.
Preheat grill to 175 degrees over indirect heat, using pecan wood for smoke. Keep salmon on cooling rack and place in grill for four hours, brushing with maple syrup once an hour. Smoke until internal temp reaches 140 degrees.
1. If you salmon fillet is too big for container (for brining), slice into smaller serving portions.
2. Salmon is technically ready to eat at 125 degrees internal temp, but 140 would seem appropriate for the smoking process.
3. Smoked salmon should have a flaky texture when digging in with a fork.
4 oz Amount Per Serving:Calories: 180Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 2267mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 21g
NOTE: Omaha Steaks sponsored thisgrilled shrimp post. Occasionally,I do sponsored posts with products I trulyenjoy using. With that said, this recipe is one of them.
My favorite way to cook shrimp is on the grill, especially if it is either grilled shrimp or smoked buttery shrimp. My taste buds are happiest eating them this way! There are many flavor profiles you can use with this crustacean and for this recipe I dig garlic chili lime for grilled shrimp. I’ll walk you through how easy and tasty this is.
Prepping the shrimp
For this grilled shrimp recipe, I’m using wild Argentinian red shrimp from Omaha Steaks. There are two unique characteristics about Argentinian red shrimp: 1) they naturally come with a red tint (most shrimp look grey) and 2) they taste a little sweet like lobster. Use one pound of whichever shrimp you can get your hands on.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the shrimp with a stick of softened butter and two cloves of minced garlic. Apply the butter and garlic mixture as evenly as you can on the shrimp. After you’re finished mixing, now it is time to skewer the shrimp. It will be helpful to use two skewers for one row of shrimp to keep them from spinning around. Next, sprinkle chili lime seasoning on them and squeeze some fresh lime juice.
Grilling the shrimp
The shrimp skewers are ready, which means it’s time to place them on the preheated grill at 375 degrees. You can go direct or indirect heat for these. After five minutes on the grill, turn the grilled shrimp skewers over. Melt some butter and baste the grilled shrimp for extra flavor. When the shrimp achieve an internal temperature of 120 degrees, this means they are done. With that said, they will also turn red when they are finished cooking. To make sure you don’t overcook the grilled shrimp, I recommend using an instant read thermometer. Using this is especially helpful if you are cooking with the naturally red Argentinian shrimp.
With the shrimp done, move them to the cutting board. Next, squeeze some more lime juice on them. Your garlic chili lime grilled shrimp are ready to eat! Eat them with your surf n’ turf, as an appetizer, your main dish, or mix into a pasta. With that said, the possibilities are endless!
Yield: 5 servings
Garlic Chili Lime Grilled Shrimp
This garlic chili lime grilled shrimp recipe is quick to make and packed with flavor! Using butter, garlic, chili lime seasoning, lime juice, and heat from the grill, your shrimp will be ready in minutes!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
1 pound of shrimp
1/2 Cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chili lime seasoning
1 Tablespoon lime juice
Preheat grill to 375 degrees. De-shell and de-vein shrimp if necessary. In a medium-sized bowl, mix shrimp with softened butter and minced garlic. Place on skewers. Apply chili lime seasoning or rub and 1/2 Tablespoon of lime juice.
Grill shrimp for about five minutes on each side or until internal temp reaches 120 degrees. Baste with melted or softened butter during the cook. When done, remove and apply the rest of the lime juice. Serve and enjoy!
1. Grill can be either direct or indirect heat (direct preferred).
2. This recipe can be cooked in the oven if no grill available.
3. Use an additional skewer for each row of shrimp to prevent them from spinning.
4. If you don't have freshly squeezed lime juice, then lime juice from the bottle will work just fine.
Living in a household of non-seafood folks, we have grown to appreciate salmon. It is less “fishy” tasting and lends itself to other flavors pretty well. This garlic lemon lime cedar planked salmon recipe is one that even my super-picky children are fans of. They eat it as well as they eat my beef tri-tip (or “steak” as my little ones call it)!
CHOOSING THE SALMON
According to the USGS, there are eight different types of salmon: seven fall under Pacific salmon (such as sockeye, chinook/king, and pink) while there is only one Atlantic. You’ll most likely find Atlantic salmon in your local grocery store because it is usually farmed and easier to get. With that said, I got wild Alaskan sockeye salmon from Omaha Steaks and had them shipped directly to my doorstep!
There’s also a debate over wild caught and farmed fish and which one taste better, is better for you, how it is raised, etc. Just know that wild caught is usually leaner and has less saturated fat due to its ability to swim more freely as compared to some farmed salmon that is over fished and over crowded in their fish farms. With all of this said, it is preferable to get Pacific salmon (but I personally don’t mind Atlantic, either).
One way to tell if the fish is fresh is to poke the fillet with your finger while it is in it’s packaging (it may be tough to do behind the glass at the meat counter). If it springs back, then it’s most likely fresh. If leaves a deep imprint, it’s probably been out of water for a little while. Choose wisely.
PREPPING THE SALMON
you unwrap the salmon from it’s packaging, make sure to rub your fingers along the length of the fish, more toward the center. If you feel little bumps in the flesh, it is pin bones. These can be left in there even if the salmon is filleted, so it is important to check. You obviously don’t want to eat these, so it is best to remove them with a pair of needle nose pliers.
With your salmon filets ready to prep, place them on a cedar plank. Next, apply a thin amount of olive oil to the salmon. With that done, now apply minced garlic. After that, use favorite your seasoning/rub on there. I like to use a Asian fusion rub with . Finally, take a lemon and a lime and slice them thinly width wise, putting at least one thin slice of each on a fillet.
Your salmon may be a whole filet or already cut into smaller segments. The prep of the fish will work the same way.
USING A CEDAR PLANK
Presoak the cedar plank in water for at least 30 minutes. Doing this will keep the wooden plank from drying out and catching on fire during the cook. At most, the board will smoke a little, but this is what we want to help infuse smoke flavor into the garlic lemon lime cedar plank salmon.
COOKING THE SALMON
Before you prep the salmon, get your grill heated up to 400 degrees. I prefer to go over direct heat, but can be done indirect if a pellet grill is what you own. Place the cedar planked salmon on the grill, close the lid, and let cook for about 20 minutes. You can cook salmon to 125-145 degrees Fahrenheit, but when you use wild salmon, it is leaner and is preferred to pull off earlier at the 125 mark. If you don’t have a digital thermometer (although recommended), you can eyeball it with a fork. If it is flaky, it is ready to eat.
I like to keep some extra slices of lemon and lime on hand to squeeze on top if I want more of that flavor to my garlic lemon lime cedar plank salmon. Give it a shot and see if it wins over your family!
Yield: 4 servings
Garlic Lemon Lime Cedar Plank Salmon
Looking to fire up the grill but want a leaner protein to cook up? This garlic lemon lime cedar plank salmon will do the trick!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
1 filet salmon (about 16 oz)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp your favorite rub/seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 Tbsp butter, divided into six-1 Tbsp pieces
2 slices lemon
2 slices lime
1 cedar plank
1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees.
2. Place salmon on presoaked cedar plank and apply olive oil, minced garlic, rub/seasoning, butter, and lemon and lime slices on the salmon.
3. Place cedar plank full of salmon on grill and let cook for about 20 minutes. Done when internal temp reaches 125 degrees or salmon flakes off when scraped with a fork.
1. Cut extra slices of lemon and lime for squeezing on salmon if you want some of that extra citrus flavor after cooking.
2. Presoak cedar plank for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Doing this will help prevent the plank from catching fire during the grilling process.
3. Direct or indirect heat is fine.
4 oz Amount Per Serving:Calories: 280Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8.5gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 31g
Note: Nutrition information isn't always accurate. Spices used may alter some of this info, as well.
Note: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.
When Valentine’s Day comes up, Mrs. Learning to Smoke and I like to stay home for dinner and avoid the crowds. You best believe I work the grill for these occasions! I tend to do some sort of surf n’ turf and it is a hit every year. With that “special occasion” feeling in mind, I share with you this dinner idea for two that is certain to be a winner for you and special someone (or if you are alone on Valentine’s and are very hungry for two full plates. I don’t judge). For this post I have teamed up with Certified Angus Beef to make this reverse seared New York Strip steak and smoked buttery shrimp (which is a recipe that is also on my website).
What is reverse searing?
For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@learningtosmoke), you will see that I frequently preach the gospel of reverse searing steaks. With a traditional sear, you crank up the high heat on the grill/skillet and cook both sides of the steak on the outside, then throw it in the oven to let it finish cooking on the inside. When you reverse sear, you slow cook the steak first and THEN sear to finish. Since this is a barbecue page, you best believe I love to smoke the steak using indirect heat on the grill. Doing this lets me infuse that wood smoke flavor into the steak before searing to lock in those juices and create that tasty, savory crust on the outside.
If the traditional sear is how you have always done it and don’t want to change, that’s fine. But if you’re willing to try new things and enhance the flavor of your steak, then give reverse sear a try!
Choosing the right New York strip steak
The New York strip steak comes from the short loin of the cow and is a tender, leaner cut. When looking for a flavorful New York strip steak (or any steak for that matter), make sure to pick the one (or two in this case) that have the most fat interwoven into the meat. Unlike the hard fats on the outside of the steak, these intramuscular fats render into the meat and add some juicy flavor. Also, the thicker the steak the better. Don’t settle for anything less than one inch because that’s just an appetizer.
Reverse sear the New York strip steak
Now that we’ve covered what it means to reverse sear (for more info on the subject check out my Reverse Searing 101 post) and you have your New York strip steak picked out, let’s get started!
Before prepping the steaks, I like to get my grill/smoker going with indirect heat so it can get up to the desired temps in the interim. I usually go 225F for steaks, but since I’m using my grill for both the steak and the shrimp, I aim for 250F.
For this steak, I’m combining three seasonings: 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. I put them in a small container and mix. Then I grab some with my fingertips and sprinkle on the New York strip steak. I flip the steak over and repeat the process.
When the grill is up to temps (or at least close), I open it up and lay the steaks on the grill grates and let the smoke and low heat do their magic. For smoking wood flavor on steak, I like oak, pecan, or hickory. The length of time to cook varies on size and thickness. Since these were one inch at 250F, they took about 40 to 45 minutes to get to around 130F.
Now that this part is done, it’s time for the sear! I love searing in the cast iron skillet because the the entire surface of the steak will get touched and develop that crust, which adds flavor. Speaking of crust and flavor, another reason I like searing in a cast iron skillet is that adding extra ingredients into the skillet will enhance the flavor of your steak even more! I’m going with a Tablespoon of butter, a clove of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, and a sprig of thyme. Give the steak about two minutes on both sides and that should do the trick!
Rest then serve
An underrated part of cooking steaks is letting the meat rest before serving. This gives the meat time to relax and let juices settle in. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. It will be worth it I promise.
The smoked buttery shrimp!
We can’t forget the other half of this dynamic duo: the smoked buttery shrimp! This shrimp recipe has been my most popular recipe on my website for a while now. Combining the shrimp with five other ingredients, and a little smoke from the pecan wood, these turn the shrimp from Clark Kent into Superman!
Six ingredients, starting with the shrimp
The shrimp I buy in the fresh seafood section of my local grocery store comes with the vein removed along the back (shell split along the back to remove vein). When getting it ready for this recipe, I like to leave the tail on. It’s like a little shrimp handle for me and I think provides a nice aesthetic, as well. With that said, get an 8×8 foil pan and start lining the de-shelled (and de-veined) shrimp in the pan. Since we hare doing 15 shrimp, I do three rows of five.
The five remaining ingredients
I melt a stick of butter in a separate bowl and mix a clove of minced garlic with it, then pour the mixture into the foil pan, covering the shrimp. Next I sprinkle some of my favorite rub on the shrimp (feel free to use your favorite rub for these, too. Or a simple salt and pepper mix will do) and then I squeeze a quarter of a lemon all over the pan. I finish with taking two sprigs of rosemary and laying them in between the rows of shrimp laid out.
Smoking that good stuff
With the grill at 250F using indirect heat, I place the tray in and check it after 25 minutes. You will know when they are done when they turn from gray to orange. Keep in mind that if they overcook, they will be rubbery to the bite. If you want to get technical, use your digital thermometer and aim for about 120F internal for the best bite.
NOTE: you can smoke both the steak and the shrimp in the same grill at the same time as needed.
Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp
A twist on a classic surf and turf recipe by smoking the steak before searing and smoking the shrimp will rock your world and that of your special someone!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Additional Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour15 minutes
For the steak:
2 New York strip steaks, at least an inch thick
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
15 large shrimp, uncooked
1/2 Cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 lemon, squuezed
1 Tablespoon seasoning
2 sprigs rosemary
Preheat grill/smoker to 250F with indirect heat using pecan wood. While that is happening, combine mix of kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder into small bowl to mix. Sprinkle over both sides of New York strip steaks.
Place steaks in grill and let cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove when internal temps reach 130F.
In a cast iron skillet (up to searing temps), place butter, garlic clove, rosemary and thyme. Mix and place steaks in skillet, allowing two minutes of searing on each side. Remove, rest 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve.
For shrimp, rinse, de-shell and de-vein as needed. In a small bowl, melt stick of butter and mix in clove of minced garlic. Set aside.
Place shrimp in three rows of five in an 8x8 pan. Pour butter and garlic mixture in pan. Sprinkle rub on shrimp, then squeeze lemon and add sprigs of rosemary in between rows of shrimp.
Put pan of shrimp in grill at 250F for 25 minutes or until shrimp turn orange. Remove, rest for a few minutes, then serve.
You can cook the shrimp and steak in the grill/smoker at the same time. The recipe has been adjusted to help the process go quicker.
If you have extra time, let the seasoned steaks rest about 20 minutes before putting in grill. This helps the meat absorb the seasonings before cooking, enhancing flavor.
Feel free to substitute pecan wood for smoking wood of your choice.
Look for good marbling on New York strip steak. It is a leaner cut, so the more marbling you can get the better.
6 oz (3 oz steak, 3 oz shrimp) Amount Per Serving:Calories: 400Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 256mgSodium: 850mgCarbohydrates: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 41g
Did that heading capture your attention? Good. This post is about bacon candy. That’s right: bacon candy. Two words that can bring the world together. This is a recipe that is so simple, even a child can do it!
One recipe, four ingredients
All you need is four ingredients: maple syrup, brown sugar, rub, and the glue that brings the meat-loving world together: bacon.
First, lay the bacon out on a sheet of parchment paper (foil will work, too). Second, drizzle maple syrup over the bacon strips. Next, shake some of your favorite pork rub on, then finally sprinkle brown sugar on top. Flip the bacon slices over and repeat on the other side.
Now that this is done, take them out to your smoker. For easy transfer to and from grill, I recommend a Bradley rack or cooling rack. Simply put in the grill to get some pecan smoke love at 275F for 45 minutes. It should look just the right amount of crispy: a little on the ends, but still soft enough to sink your teeth into.
These are super addicting and will make you a hit with your family and friends…if you don’t eat all of the bacon first.
Eight strips thick cut bacon
1 1/2 Tablespoons rub
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/8 Cup maple syrup
Preheat smoker/grill to 275F. Use pecan wood (or whichever would you prefer)
Lay out eight strips of bacon on either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Apply half of rub, brown sugar, and then maple syrup. Turn over bacon strips and repeat.
Place bacon on cooling rack/Bradley rack and put in smoker for 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to best gauge when they are done to your liking.
Remove from smoker, carefully pulling off the cooling rack.
Eat what you want and share the rest. If you share first, you may end up empty handed!
This smoked BBQ shrimp recipe is one I have been longing to post ever since I first made it. I usually like to try the recipe out a few times to make sure I’ve got the best taste possible. I love this smoked shrimp recipe so much, as well as the folks I made it for did too, that I decided to share it now. Pair this with my smoked prime rib recipe for an epic feast!
Six ingredients, starting with the shrimp
I bought these large shrimp at Costco from their Seafood Road Show they were doing. They came deveined (as well as without the heads), so all I had to do was remove the shells. When removing the shells, I make sure to leave the tip by the tail on. It makes them easier for me to hold while eating and I think provides a better aesthetic.
Since I had never prepped shrimp before, I called a friend of mine who is experienced with this to make sure that gray stuff that was on the shrimp was supposed to be there (the pic below will help you know what I’m talking about).
The five remaining ingredients
Yep, it’s common for that gray stuff to be on there. The smoked BBQ shrimp will turn orange when it is finished cooking. Now that it’s been peeled, rinsed, and patted dry with a paper towel, I rub it with the Q-nami Rub from Lane’s BBQ.
Next up, I grab a small bowl and melt a stick of butter (you can do more to make it extra buttery if desired, but I thought one stick was good enough for 15 shrimp). After it has melted, I mixed in the minced garlic in the bowl and stirred.
After I have laid the shrimp in the 8×8 foil pan, I pour that liquid gold (the melted butter and garlic, that is) over the shrimp and into the pan. I then cut and quarter a lemon and squeeze a slice all over. And finally, as far as ingredients go, I place two sticks of rosemary in, one inbetween each row. Now this smoked BBQ shrimp recipe is ready for cooking!
The smoking/braising process
Now that my grill is up to 275F with my pecan wood in there, I place the tray in and check it after 20 minutes. Your ideal finish temp is 120F internal. If you overlook, it will be rubbery. Using my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks has been my handy guide with checking food temps. It’s the best around!
As mentioned earlier, you will know when the smoked BBQ shrimp are done by the orange color they have. Be careful not to leave them in too long or they won’t have as firm of a bite, but instead be slimy and squishy. If this happens, the flavor will still be good, so no worries there. But the texture won’t.
I have a confession to make: I don’t like seafood much. I originally tried this smoked BBQ shrimp recipe as an experiment to help me grow as a BBQ’er. And you know what? It did! I sure did LOVE using this smoked BBQ shrimp recipe and am now willing to try other smoking other types of seafood!
Yield: 5 servings
Smoked Buttery Shrimp
This smoked shrimp recipe is super easy to make and super tasty too! Only six ingredients and less than one hour for prep and cooking!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
15 large shrimp
1/2 Cup (aka- 1 stick) butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 sticks Rosemary
1 Tablespoon seasoning of your choice
1/4 lemon, squeezed
Rinse shrimp, devein, de-shell as needed
In a bowl, melt one stick of butter. Once melted, add minced garlic
Grab an 8x8 foil pan, place shrimp in three rows (see pic above)
Pour butter and garlic mix onto shrimp. Squeeze 1/4 of a lemon into pan and place the two sticks of rosemary inbetween the three rows of shrimp (again, see pic above)
Get smoker up to 275F with pecan wood. Once ready, place pan in grill over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes. Shrimp will turn an orangish color when finished.
The prime internal temp for shrimp to be done is 120 degrees fahrenheit. It will have a firm bite and will be orange. Going too much over that temp can turn them rubbery to the bite.
Last weekend, I was looking for something unique to make for dinner. My family and I were headed over to the in-laws house for ham on Easter Sunday, so I was off the hook didn’t get to make anything for Easter dinner. We did have some friends come visit for dinner on Saturday night and that gave me an opportunity to smoke something this weekend. Hooray for friends! I decided to go out on a limb and try something new. What better time to experiment with cooking than with dinner guests? On my Instagram account (link in the IG icon at the top of the page) I have been seeing people from Australia post about smoking lamb, which I guess is more common down there than here in North America. If you’ve never had it before, lamb is a unique meat: it cooks to various levels of doneness like beef, is a bit gamey in flavor, and smells awful like fish when raw out of the package. I like that rack of lamb is a fairly quick smoke, lasting two hours. Here’s what I did for my maiden voyage with rack of lamb:
Meat: Rack of Lamb: two racks, 2.25 lbs. total
Ingredients (dry brine): 1 T kosher salt, 1/2 T rosemary
Ingredients: 2 T olive oil, 2 teaspoon Santa Maria seasoning
Smoke Temperature: 240°F/115.6°C
Time: 2 hours
Finish Temp.: 140°F/60°C
Lamb isn’t as abundant as other meats, so make sure to keep an eye out for grocery stores around that sell it. With it being not as abundant, it can be more costly than other cuts of meat. The racks of lamb I found were at Costco, which is known for being lower in price for quality meats, and cost $10.99/lb.
You may notice on the package it says the rack of lamb is “Frenched.” In culinary terms, this means the meat, fat, and cartilage between the tips of the bones are cleaned, making the bone exposed for a neater presentation. I remember in high school, “Frenched” meant something totally different.
WARNING: When opening the package, be ready to be slapped in the face with an awful stench coming forth out of the bag. I mentioned that lamb has a bit of a gamey taste, it also has a smell that will remind you of fish…if you dropped your fish in a sewer. Make sure to rinse the meat and dab dry with a paper towel.
Like pork ribs, they have a membrane on the bone side. It’s not mandatory to have it removed, but provides more of a clean bite through if you do. To peel off the membrane, use a knife to get between the film of the membrane and the meat. Once you have dug your knife under a little ways, grab a paper towel for a tight grip on the membrane and pull it off. It is supposed to be a clean rip off, but that has never happened to me. I’m still bad at it. If any of you have pointers, please let me know.
I decided to do a dry brine on the meat. The dry brine involves no water, but sprinkling the kosher salt and other ingredients and thrown into the fridge for some time. I did kosher salt and rosemary and had it in the fridge for about two hours. The salt penetrates the meat well and helps bring out the flavor.
As you may see in the picture, I scored the fat on the top part of the lamb. To score the fat means to cut through it, usually in a criss-cross pattern. I did this to help the brine, and later the seasonings, get to the meat better. After just under two hours, I pulled it out and put the olive oil, Santa Maria seasoning, and a wee bit more of rosemary on top.
Now that the smoker is up to temp with a mix of coals and apple wood in the firebox, I put the racks of lamb in the main chamber, bone side down, and let them stay there for two hours.
Lamb can be finished to similar temps like beef. I looked at some various recipes and the concensus was they are good at 135-140°F, which is medium rare to medium. Even though they were in for two hours, I recommend using a digital meat thermometer to more accurately tell the temp on the meat. Adjust smoking time accordingly. Once you have reached that desired temp, you can either pull it out and let it rest or sear it and let it rest. Either way, let the lamb rest for about 10 minutes to let the meat get more juices in, which means more flavor.
And then this picture…
After resting, I cut it between the bones and we feasted in the juicy, medium rare goodness. Since the four of us never had rack of lamb before, we learned that 3 out of 4 adults prefer the taste of rack of lamb over…um, something else that might be almost as good.
I’m glad I tried something new here. I discovered I like lamb. I hope you give it a shot sometime!