Lamb chops are savory and mouthwatering, typically enjoyed for special occasions, especially in the summer and fall seasons. With only simple seasoning and a splash of olive oil, grilled lamb is loved for the meat’s naturally sweet and grassy flavor.
Shoulder lamb chops are a better cut of lamb to put on the grill for the thickness and meatiness. Loin and hindquarter are other options for the grill, but these cuts are significantly smaller and not the best for feeding a hungry crowd.
How to BBQ Lamb Shoulder
The first step to delicious BBQ grilled lamb chops is to head to your local butcher. Request lamb chops that are an inch thick to 1 ¾ inch thickness. Once you have the perfect cut, it’s time to take them home and prepare them for the grill.
Lamb isn’t a meat that requires a lot of seasoning. You can lightly season your lamb with salt and pepper, fresh rosemary, or simple kosher salt. Add a touch of olive oil, and you’re on a roll.
When you grill chops, you want a medium-high heat surface, and you should let the chops warm to room temperature. Heat your outdoor grill and sear each side of the lamb chops until you achieve desired doneness. Typically, with a quick sear on each side, you’ll achieve a medium-rare cook, which is just about perfect for lamb shoulder.
Braising Lamb Chops with the Help of Your Grill
If you’d rather braise your meat for the ultimate in tenderness, add chops to medium indirect heat for roughly 30 minutes. Then grab your dutch oven and marinade with ingredients such as onion, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, broth, barbecue sauce, lemon wedges, or whatever floats your boat.
Cook the marinade down to a simmer with butter and add chops to the braising liquid. Close the lid over the chops and cook for roughly 2 ½ hours. Once your lamb is tender and delicious, remove the chops and serve hot.
How Long to Cook Lamb Shoulder on the Grill
With grilled lamb shoulder, you really need to be mindful of the cooking process. Lamb recipes recommend different cooking methods, but you want a juicy, medium-rare cooked rather than a well-done chop.
Lamb is known for tenderness, so you need a grill surface that will achieve the perfect texture. If you’re working with a high heat gas grill, try searing your lamb chops for about 4 minutes on the first side and 5 minutes after you flip them.
If braising grilled lamb chops is your thing, then cook on a medium heat grill for about 30 minutes before transferring to an external site for braising is the way to go. Whichever method you prefer, you’re on your way to tender, rich grilled lamb shoulder chops.
Seasoning or Marinating Lamb Shoulder for the Grill
Although lamb chops are tasty alone for their rich and gamey meat flavor, marinating or seasoned lamb can bring out a burst of extra flavor that melts in your mouth.
If you want a classic grilled lamb flavor, stick with simple seasonings that enhance the meat’s natural flavor. Add salt and pepper, lemon juice, fresh rosemary, or thyme in a small bowl and sprinkle generously over the meat.
Looking for something a bit more flavorful? Marinade your shoulder chops with a sweet BBQ sauce or create a braising mixture in a food processor with extra virgin olive oil, stock, seasoning, onions, and other ingredients that will complement the sweetness of the grilled lamb chops. You can also marinate your lamb shoulder chops for several hours in the fridge and they’ll absorb extra flavor.
The Perfect Doneness for Lamb Shoulder on the Grill
So how do you know when your grilled lamb shoulder is cooked to perfection? Some prefer well-done lamb shoulder chops because the rawness of a medium-rare cook turns them away, even though it’s the most common cook on grilled lamb shoulder chops.
With grilled lamb shoulder chops, it’s easy to achieve a perfect med-rare cook with about 5 minutes per side on a hot stovetop or grill grate. Remove the browned chops and let them sit before you enjoy them. A dash of black pepper, salt, and a lemon wedge are the perfect accompaniments.
Here is a simple guide for your preferred doneness:
- Use a thermometer to achieve the correct internal temperature for cooking
- With rare meat, cook for about 3-4 minute to 110-degrees
- Medium-rare cooks can be done at around 4-5 minutes until they reach 130-degrees
- Well done is achieved at 150-degrees and takes 5 minutes or a little longer
How much lamb should I grill to serve my family?
When you grill lamb shoulder, the recipe might not always indicate how many chops you need to feed a whole family. The shoulder is a meatier cut from the loin, so one or two chops would definitely feed an individual.
Four lamb shoulder chops should be fine for small families, but eight chops are better for larger families. If you get your cut from the ribs, these are smaller and require more to feed a family (perhaps a whole rack of lamb).
Where can I find good lamb recipes?
Martha Stewart Living and Cook’s Illustrations are two resources for more recipes on lamb chops. Rating 4 stars to 5 stars, you’re sure to find a recipe for delicious shoulder lamb chops. Just pay attention to the nutrition facts and instructions because every grill master has their own tricks.
What foods and drinks will compliment my grilled lamb shoulder?
Lamb is commonly consumed with either red wine, beer, or scotch. Potatoes, asparagus, and brussel sprouts are typical sides that match the gamey flavor of lamb. Creamy lemon dill sauces also compliment the sweetness of the meat and seasonings typical of grilled lamb.
All in all, you want to eat a lamb chop that is juicy, tender, and rich in flavor and texture. Grilling chops may seem challenging, but simply pick the method of cooking you prefer (braise or sear) and the desired doneness first, and the rest is easy.
If you put in extra time and attention to the cook of your chop, you’ll have a better chance at perfecting your recipe. Choose your seasoning and marinade ingredients to your liking and enjoy. It doesn’t get better than that!