How to French a Rack of Lamb
At Green Acres we raise grass fed and finished lamb right here in Edmond, Oklahoma. Now in my humble opinion this is some of the best tasting lamb around. We raise Katahdin lambs, which is a hair sheep that originated in North Central Maine.
Hair sheep (sheep that do not need to be sheared) are known to have a milder tasting meat which is preferred by most Americans. Katahdin sheep in particular are known for a leaner and milder meat. Lamb is naturally higher in fat than beef. Therefore, when finishing lamb on grass you get a leaner meat that is not greasy and is very mild. This is a picture of a few of our sheep.
If you have never tried lamb before I would suggest trying either ground lamb or the rack of lamb. Rack of lamb tastes like a very delicious and tender filet mignon. It is delicious!
The picture above is a Rack of Lamb that I recently made. I am going to walk you through the frenching process which is removing the meat on the bone to give it the appearance above. Some like to put these in a circle that resembles a crown and those are Crown Racks of Lamb. Either ways is very pretty presentation for a special occasion meal.
To french a rack of lamb you are going to start with the rack. Below is what a rack looks like before it has been frenched.
When you turn the rack over there will be a thick layer of fat that will need to be removed.
It is fairly easy to remove. it will mostly just pull away. You can use your knife to help cut through any membrane.
Once you have removed the thick layer of fat on the back, it is time to remove the meat on the long rib bone. I take a filet knife and follow the bone down the side and up the other side. It will remove the meat between the bones thus creating the following appearance below. Just continue on down the rib rack until you have cleaned all the rib bones. Don't throw any of the meat or fat away. You can put this in a freezer bag and keep to make stock, or you can grind it up for meatballs, or do like I generally do and boil it and as a treat for my BFF Buddy, my lab.
Once I have frenched and removed the meat off the bones, I drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, or whatever spices I have on hand and smashed garlic cloves. I let this marinate in the fridge for several hours. Before cooking set the meat out on the counter and let it come to room temp before grilling or roasting.
When roasting, you can stand two rib racks up and cross each bone through one another and roast or grill until you reach an internal temp of 140 for medium. You absolutely must have an oven or grill safe meat thermometer in order to cook a perfectly cooked piece of lamb. Get one and use it! This makes all the difference when cooking lamb.
Lamb should never be over cooked, you want at the very least a little pink in the middle. The above picture is what mine looked like grilled on my Traeger grill which I absolutely love and have no idea how I ever lived with out it. I made reduced balsamic glaze with carmelized onions to accompany this.
Reduced Balsamic Glaze
Half a sliced onion
2 cloves of smashed garlic
1 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
Sautee your onions in a pat of butter starting them in a cold pan on low until they are starting to nicely carmelize and then add your smashed garlic. Add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved add butter. Simmer this until it starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Turn the heat off and pour the glaze over your rib rack and serve a little on the side for dipping.
Lamb is great served with a variety of sides but I really love smashed sweet potatoes with it and the reduced balsamic glaze.