Shoulder chops aren’t the most tender, but they truly have great lamb flavor. Plus, they are far less expensive than other types of lamb chops. The steaks are usually rather thin, therefore make sure you have a hot fire ready so they get a good sear on the outside before they have a chance to overcook on the inside.
Lamb and grilling are a classic combination in Greek cookery. In just minutes over a hot fire, they are nearly ready to serve with that quintessential Greek flavoring combination of fresh oregano, fresh lemon juice, really good olive oil, and just a touch of garlic. Simple is, as simple gets.
To complete the meal we roasted some baby Yukon potatoes which benefited from some of that oregano-garlic sauce; and a side of Roasted Green Beans with Pecorino and Pine Nuts which are mixed with oil, salt, pepper, and a tad of sugar to enhance caramelization.
Four 10- to 12-ounce lamb shoulder blade chops, 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic
Preheat grill to hot.
Dry the chops with paper towels and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the grill and cook until well seared, 3 to 4 minutes per side. To check for doneness, use an instant-read thermometer. The chops are rare at 120°F, medium rare at 125°F, medium at 130°F, and well done at 145°F and higher. FYI, lamb can take on a gamey flavor when cooked past medium.
When the chops are done, remove them from the grill, cover them loosely with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, and garlic and mix well.
Spoon the garlic mixture over the lamb chops, squeeze the lemon on top of them, and serve hot.
Growing up, I distinctly remember my mom making grilled shoulder lamb chops, and even though I was a very picky eater, I loved those chops. Fast forward many decades and I am a fan of just about any type of lamb, yet the shoulder chops don’t seem to be as common anymore (at least where we live). So when I spotted them at Costco recently, I knew they had to find their way into the grocery basket.
They tend to be less pricey than many other lamb options—a plus in most people’s thinking. And this recipe can’t be any simpler. With a few common ingredients , and precious little cooking time, you’ll be wanting to add these babies to your regular rotation. Even though you can marinate them in a s little as 30 minutes, I highly suggest you do so for at least 8 hours, and up to overnight.
Our three steaks were a bit thinner than the suggested 3/4″ so they took only a total of 4 1/2 minutes to reach medium-rare, just how we like them, and in no time at all! Use an instant-read thermometer after 4 minutes to get an idea of the internal temp. We barely had time to cook the accompanying fresh green beans and corn on the cob while the lamb rested.
Grilled Shoulder Lamb Chops with Garlic-Rosemary Marinade
1 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste, or 2 large cloves minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 shoulder lamb chops, about 3/4 inch thick (blade or round bone)
Salt & fresh ground pepper
Mix marinade ingredients in small bowl. Rub both sides of each chop with the paste; add to an air-tight ziploc bag for at least 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated overnight.)
Turn all burners on gas grill to high, close lid, and heat until grill is very hot, about 15 minutes. Leave one burner on high and turn other burner(s) down to medium.
Rub grill grates with oil. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill chops, covered, over hotter part of grill, turning them once, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Move chops to cooler part of grill and continue grilling, turning once, to desired doneness, about 6 minutes for rare (about 120 degrees on instant-read thermometer), about 8 minutes for medium (about 130 degrees), or about 10 minutes for well-done (140 to 150 degrees).
Remove chops from grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Years ago, The Mr. came up with this marinade for lamb which can easily be doubled, or even tripled depending on the amount of meat you’re marinating. In this case, we were grilling a small lamb-top weighing in at just over a pound, however the recipe below yields a 1/2 cup and would cover up to about three pounds worth.
You can substitute any vinegar of your choice in place of the lemon juice. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, substitute 2 teaspoons of dried. It is highly recommended that you use a large mortar and pestle (even to the point of buying yourself a set says The Mr.), otherwise, a mini-processor can work to make the garlic, salt and rosemary paste.
Our lamb was grilled to an internal temperature of 125° for medium-rare. Make sure to have an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. We expected our meat to be finished sooner than it did, but because it was vacuum-packed it actually puffed up once out of the package and became thicker! And of course it needs to rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices redistribute.
The sides of grilled vegetable medley and hot fresh corn on the cob were perfect accompaniments for the summer meal. There will be extra marinade after you put the lamb on the grill, so if you’re so inclined, you can baste the meat with it or, like we did, mix some in with your grilled veggies as they cook. (Psst, it is equally as tasty on chicken and pork.)