Tender, juicy rack of lamb with a perfectly seared crust is an elegant showstopper that’s surprisingly easy to prepare! This grilled rack of lamb recipe will walk you through our favorite method to get perfectly cooked lamb every single time!
Grilling rack of lamb is our preferred method for cooking the premium cut of meat during the warmer months. The grill imparts a beautiful sear and incredible flavor that can’t be beat! If you really want to impress your guests, try serving your lamb alongside our easy feta and yogurt dip flavored with charred green onions.
And if you’re looking for an indoor option, make sure to try our reverse sear rack of lamb with dijon mustard sauce!
prepping the rack of lamb
One rack of lamb is generally enough to feed 2-3 people so we usually opt to grill two racks at once, each being about 1.5-2 lbs (700-900 g). Make sure to buy frenched racks, which just means that the meat and fat have been stripped away from the bones.
Even with a frenched rack, you’ll still have a layer of fat covering the meat. You’ll want to trim this down to at least ⅛ inch (3 mm) to avoid any major flare ups on the grill.
If you want, you can cover the bones with foil to prevent burning. I typically do not do this — I don’t mind a few scorch marks on the bones, but it does mean they may break off easier during carving.
As for the seasoning, we typically just go with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt, but you can really add any spice mix you’d like. One of our favorite variations is to add just a bit of ground cumin. Smoked paprika, coriander and cayenne also work well with the earthy flavors of lamb.
Alternatively, you could place your rack of lamb in a marinade with a bit of oil and herbs or garlic for a deliciously fresh flavor!
fire up the grill!
The grilling happens in two steps: a quick sear over direct heat and then a transfer to indirect heat for a slow cook to perfection.
- Direct high heat
Place the rack of lamb meaty side down directly over the flame. Sear until well-browned on each side (about 4-5 minutes per side).
- Indirect medium-high heat
Reduce heat to medium-high and place the lamb so that it’s sitting on the cooler portion of your grill. The meaty side should be down with the bones farthest away from the flame. Cook until a few degrees shy of your desired doneness (about 10-20 minutes).
the perfect temperature
So what temperature are we looking for? We prefer to cook rack of lamb until a meat thermometer reads 125F (52C). The temperature will continue to rise while the meat is resting for 10 minutes, bringing it to about 130F (55C) or a perfect medium rare.
We don’t recommend cooking the meat much past medium rare, as rack of lamb can become tough and dry when cooked for much longer.
Resting the lamb for 10 minutes after cooking also plays an important role in getting a tender texture. It gives the juices time to settle back into the meat so they won’t gush out when carving.
grilling rack of lamb: FAQs
I recommend enjoying lamb at medium rare (130F / 55C). If you cook the lamb much longer you risk the meat becoming tough and dry.
Take the lamb off the grill a few degrees shy of your target temperature, as carryover heat will continue to raise the temperature about 5 degrees fahrenheit (2-3 degrees celsius) off the grill. For medium rare, this means taking the lamb off the grill when it has an internal temperature of 125F (52C).
You definitely can but we often go with just salt to really let the lamb shine! For a little extra flavor, try adding a bit of ground cumin and smoked paprika or marinate the meat in a bit of olive oil with fresh herbs. Dipping sauces are also a great way to add a little optional flavor for your guests!
charred scallion dip
Our favorite dipping sauce for grilled lamb is this fresh and tangy charred scallion dip! It can be made in just two easy steps:
- Toss lightly oiled scallions (green onions) on the grill until wilted and charred.
- Blend with the remaining ingredients (greek yogurt, feta, garlic, lemon juice and salt) until smooth!
The sauce is extremely versatile so we tend to pair our sides with it as well. It works great as a dressing for a lettuce salad and makes the perfect creamy dip for grilled veggies!
For more of our favorite grilling recipes, make sure to check out these posts:
- grilled radishes + herb butter baguette
- grilled salmon
- grilled stuffed mushrooms
- carne asada + chimichurri
- cast iron pizza (on the grill or in the oven) and easy poolish pizza dough
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