Lamb is one of those cuts of meat that draws very different reactions from people. Some will say that they love it and others will say that they can't get past the gamey taste. Personally, I love lamb and one of my favorite cuts is the loin chop. They look like miniature t-bone steaks.
The loin is cut from the most tender part of the lamb and if compared to a beef steak, it would most likely be the porterhouse. The lamb loin is a versatile cut as it requires no trimming and grills quickly. Lamb loins can be broiled, grilled or barbequed, you don't have to thaw them as they can go right from the freezer to the heat. My preferred method is grilling. But before they hit my grill, they spend some serious time in a marinade.
Your lamb loins can be accented with flavors like fresh rosemary, mint, parsley, red wine, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Because lamb can be gamey, you can use strong, bold flavors and not have the lamb get lost in the marinade. A short search on the internet will yeild a wealth of recipes that will allow you to experiment with different flavors for this versatile cut.
I like my lamb loins to be about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick and about 2/3 the size of your fist. They are small enough so that they cook quickly, without burning up on your grill. Raw lamb loins should also be nice and pink without alot of fat on them.
When it comes to grilling your lamb loins, make sure that your grill is red hot and ready to go. You want to hear the sizzle when you place them on the grill. There is nothing better then the ying and yang of the crust that develops on the outside of the lamb loins and the nice juicey center. The other thing to remember is do not lift the lid when grilling lamb loins. Put them on your grill, drop the cover, and let them go. If the grills starts to smoke a little that's OK. You want a nice crust to develop. However, you don't want them to get completely charred or burned so if you have to lift the cover of your grill to check them, just take a peak. Have a spray bottle of water in your hand so that you can douse any flames that are out of control.
When you slice into a perfectly grilled lamb loin you'll see the nice crust on the outside and the slightly pink center. Juice will run out onto your plate so be sure to dip your piece into that juice and taste how the marinade and the lamb work together to create a truly flavorful sensation in your mouth. You just might discover that lamb will start to show up more frequently on your table and not just be reserved for holiday dinners.
So let's get started!
Marinated Lamb Loins
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup fresh rosemary
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley sprigs
2 tsps dried thyme
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 tblsp black pepper
2 tsps kosher salt
This will make enough marinade for six to ten 1 1/2" thick lamb loins.
In a food processor, finely chop the garlic and rosemary. Pulse in parsley and thyme, process until chopped.
Combine olive oil, wine, lemon juice, salt & pepper in a measuring cup with a pour spout and add with the motor running, blend well.
Place lamb loins in large ziploc bag in a single layer then pour marinade over the lamb loins, squeeze out the air and seal tightly. Gently massage the marinade into the lamb loins, taking care not to punctute the ziploc bag. Place the ziploc bag with the lamb loins in a pan large enough to allow them to lay flat. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours but no more then 48 hours.
Your grill should be very hot at approximately 450 to 500 degrees. For 1 1/2" thick lamb loins grilled to medium, the first side should cook for 7 minutes and the second side should cook for 6 minutes. Remove the grilled lamb loins to a plate, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.