BBQ Lamb Recipes For Your Favorite Grill Or Smoker

Love the taste of grilled meat but tired of the same old same old? Get out of your BBQ rut and try something different with these delicious grilled lamb recipes we found!

There’s nothing wrong with a beefy grilled burger, a seared sirloin steak, or smoked pulled pork, of course, but every once in awhile you need to shake things up. Lamb chops are more costly than most other cuts of meat but much easier to grill than you might think.

Whether it’s Weber, Masterbuilt, Traeger, Camp Chef, or some other brand you prefer, there’s a lamb chop recipe below for you to try your hand at. Choose between charcoal and gas or the electric smoker recipe.

Grilled lamb served with roasted bell peppers, fries, and mushroom

Grilled Lamb Chops (Charcoal/Gas BBQ Recipe)

(By Giada De Laurentiis)

You may know her as the bubbly, attractive hostess of Food Network's Giada at Home, but this enterprising chef is also a bonafide grillmaster! With her popular cooking classes, and years of experience, you’re in good hands when it comes to a great grilled lamb chop recipe.

Seasoned with savory rosemary leaves and cayenne, the rub for this mouthwatering grilled lamb recipe is balanced in flavor by the crushed garlic cloves, thyme and salt. When seared properly, the paste for the lamb chops will seal in the natural juices of the meat, allowing for a taste and texture that melts in your mouth. 

As featured on the Food Network, the recipe below is best suited for charcoal and gas grills. Since lamb chops only take about 3 minutes to sear on each side, fire up the grill just before you’re ready to transfer them from the refrigerator to the grill. Remember to wear quality BBQ grilling gloves that protect your fingers and wrists from flames. 

Bon appetit!

Prep time

1 HR 30 MN

cook time

5-6 minutes

servings

Up to 6

Prep time

30 minutes

cook time

30 - 40 minutes

servings

Up to 4

INGREDIENTS

6 Lamb Chops, about 3/4-inch thick

2 large Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 Tablespoon fresh Rosemary Leaves

1 Teaspoon fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper

Coarse Sea Salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Grilling Directions

  1. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined.
  2. Next, pour in the olive oil and pulse into a paste.
  3. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and marinate for at least 1 hour in your refrigerator.
  4. Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator and allow them to reach room temperature. Use an instant read meat thermometer for accurate results. They’ll cook much better without losing moisture too rapidly over an open flame if you let them warm up first.
  5. On a charcoal or gas grill, heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes.
  6. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

You can also follow the recipe and grilling directions in this short YouTube video by LearnToCook!

Smoked Lamb Recipe

(by Weber)

Take out your Weber Smokey Mountain, your Masterbuilt, Kamado Egg, or whatever smoker device turns you on! This recipe from the Weber vault is a fan favorite and definitely one of ours. You’ll notice the addition of brown sugar mixed with kosher salt, which will give your lamb chops a sweet and sour deliciousness.

For added flavoring, switch out natural wood chips for apple, cherry or your favorite choice of fruit wood. A whole bone-in shoulder cut may be hard to find, but your local butcher can order one for you if you plan ahead.

Speaking of planning, smoking any meat is a low and slow process. You’ll need at least 5 hours of cooking time over a light smoke to nail this recipe to perfection. Avoid opening and closing your smoker door to check on its progress, or you’ll lose valuable heat as well as moisture.

If this is your first time using a brand new electric smoker, be sure to pre-season it before you’re ready to use it. Keep an eye on the wood chip tray or pellet hopper, and use only a handful for each refill. The smoke coming out of your smokestack should appear light in color. If it’s black, you’re using too much wood or burning through the wood too quickly.

Take your time, enjoy the process and your stomach will reap the rewards! 

Prep time

30 minutes (to set the rub)

cook time

5-5 ½ hours

servings

4 people (per 2 pounds of pulled meat)

Directions:

Step 1) Prepare Your Rub 

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, fresh (stem and mince)
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne, ground
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
  • 1 tablespoon cumin, ground

Mix the ingredients for the rub together in a mixing bowl, then set them aside for later.

Step 2) Prepare Your Meat

  • 1 Lamb shoulder, bone in (about 5 lbs)
  • Clean the lamb shoulder of any excess fat. Don’t be too aggressive with the trimming, about ¼” is good for basting as the lamb smokes.
  • Rub the seasonings onto the shoulder all over. Press the rub onto the meat. Let this sit for 30 minutes to dissolve slightly and stick to the meat better. This also helps develop a skin called a “pellicle” that begins to set the outside crust.

Step 3) Preheating Your Electric Smoker
Set the temperature on your smoker between 250-275 degrees fahrenheit, slightly higher than usual, as this is to help more of the fat to render off. Fill the water pan halfway full. Add 5 or 6 wood chunks and close the door or lid.

Step 4) Smoke The Meat
Once the smoker has started to smoke, place the shoulder on the top rack (fat side facing up, bones towards the bottom).

Smoke with the door sealed for at least 5 hours. Then start checking the internal temperature every 30 minutes using a quality instant read thermometer. When the internal temperature hits 195 degrees fahrenheit in at least three places, the lamb is ready.

Remove from the smoker, cover loosely with foil and let it rest for approximately 45 - 60 minutes in a warm place.

Step 5) Pulled Lamb
Once the lamb has rested, pull the meat apart, just like pulling the meat from a pork shoulder. You can use a pair of quality bear claws to help with the shredding. If the meat is tender and moist, is should shred easily. If it is too tough, however, the meat needs to cook longer. Cover with foil and cook at 250F for another 30 minutes, then check again.

Step 6) Add Your Finish
Finishing Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup apple juice, hot
  • 2 tablesppons BBQ spice (your favorite)

For the final step, mix in a bowl with the apple juice and bbq spice. If the meat has cooled off and is starting to clump up, place it in a pan and warm up in the oven or on the grill for 15 minutes.


Grilled lamb chop

What Temperature Should You Grill Lamb Chops At?

Using a digital instant-read meat thermometer is the best way to check the readiness of your lamb chops.

  • 120°F = Rare
  • 125°F = Medium Rare
  • 130°F = Medium
  • 145°F + = Well Done 

To really bring out the natural flavor of a 2 inch thick shoulder cut of lamb, serve at medium rare or medium. On a gas grill, medium heat (around 350-450 degrees) is the sweet spot. For smoked lamb, however, try to maintain a range between 130-135 F. 

Grilling lamb chops to medium rare should take about 15 minutes over indirect medium heat.

Choosing The Right Cut Of Lamb

Impress your guests at your next backyard soiree with a delicious cut of lamb grilled to medium-rare perfection or seared to crispy goodness!

The right cut of lamb really depends on the circumstances and your level of confidence. If you’re just starting to explore grilled lamb recipes or even smoked lamb, try the less expensive cuts first.

Chop Rack
This is the most expensive cut of lamb you can get but grilled or barbecued, they’re also amazingly tender and flavorful. Essentially, they come from the ribs and can come either individually or left together as a whole (rack of lamb). Grill them to medium rare, and they should appear pinkish inside.

Loin Chop
These are among the more costly cuts of lamb. Like T-bone steaks, they are cut from the waist of the lamb. One side of the chop is the lamb loin, the other side is the fillet. Either side is great for grilling. Finished with a light sear, throw in some apple or pineapple for a Mediterranean feel.

Shoulder
Best enjoyed on the bone, lamb shoulder is a thick, tough part of the animal and needs to be cooked low and slow. Smoked on the bone to medium rare doneness, it also tastes great pulled.
With a meat fork or quality bear claws, the meat should fall off the bone when it’s ready.

Neck
Lamb neck is widely available and fairly inexpensive compared to other cuts of lamb. You can usually request for the neck to be separated from the shoulder by the butcher.

Leg
You’ll find the leg is usually one of the toughest parts of any animal, including leg of lamb. Roasted whole on the bone, the lean muscle can easily be overcooked on your grill. A seasoned rub with some mustard and garlic, marinated and then brought to room temperature will preserve moisture and add flavor on the grill or in your smoker.

Shank
High in collagen, the lamb shank is cut from the lower part of the animal’s rear legs. When grilled slowly, it gives the meat a chewable texture that’s ideal for stews and slow-cooking.

For grilling, lamb neck can either be cooked slowly on low heat, or quickly over high heat like steak. It goes well with a wide range of flavours and works really well as a stew or curry. It also makes a great cut of meat for lamb kebabs as well!

Rump
As you may have guessed, the rump comes from the lamb’s posterior. The meat here is lean and tender. Cut the rump into chops and grill them over indirect medium heat for the best results. A cast iron pan over direct heat on your charcoal grill is also a great way to enjoy them.

Final Thoughts…

Grilled or smoked, lamb can be a delicious alternative to beef, poultry and chicken. More tender than goat, it is available in many different cuts and complements a wide range of flavors. Fruits or vegetables make a great side.

Although higher in fat content than beef, lamb is much easier to trim because there’s less marbling. Still, lamb is a relatively lean meat and loaded with healthy nutrients [1]. Legs, tenderloin, or loin chops are the leanest cuts.

Enjoy!


References

[1] Lamb and Cholesterol: What You Need to Know (Healthline)

About the Author William Clay

William Clay is a BBQ enthusiast dedicated to sharing his grilling (and overall cooking) expertise with FireFoodChef's readers.