Smoked Lamb Riblets

Smoked lamb riblets. SMOKED LAMB RIBS. Two ways. Char Siu style, and dry rub style. Both delicious. Above is the char siu style.

Get ready for one picture-heavy post.

You know what, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though. Here’s where it started. My lamb ribs from 8 O’Clock Ranch. A little over a pound. They sell for $2.95/lb. With shipping figured in, it’s around $4 for this package of lamby happiness. I’ve never even seen lamb ribs sold anywhere before, so I had to try them. This package contained two pieces of lamb ribs. One thicker and one thinner.

Did a dry rub for the thick cut. Here’s the gist of it:
Dry Rub for Lamb Riblets Recipe

a base of kosher salt (that you can’t see)
1 T Paprika
2 T chili or cayenne powder
1.5 t cumin powder
1 t onion or garlic powder
2 t black pepper
2 t Coleman’s mustard powder

This was a little on the salty side, but whatever – I like salt. You can adjust that part as you see fit. Really, adjust any and all of it. But the flavors worked really well overall. Just make sure you coat that sucker with as much as you can. Really pack it on.

So there’s the dry rub on the left, sealed in a baggie. The char siu lamb ribs are on the right. Here’s that:

Char Siu Lamb Ribs Recipe
1.5 T Maltose
1.5 T honey
1/4 – 1/2 t garlic black bean paste (or hoisin)
1.5 T soy sauce
2 T vermouth
white pepper
5-spice powder
1/2 t sesame oil

This was awesome, and I look forward to making it again for other cuts of meat. Maltose is kind of a bitch to work with – it’s got a tough texture to accurately measure. Just eyeball it. It’s like pulling candy to get it out, and needs to be warm to even think about blending it (otherwise it hardens up). You could just double up on the honey if you don’t have it.

Any way, I let them marinate in the fridge for a solid 12+ hours.

Then I pulled out my little red stove-top baby smoker. I sprinkled in 4 T of plum wood chips. I think they only recommend 1-2 T, but I wanted to blast these ribs with smoky flavor. I don’t taste as much smoke as I’d like with 2 T of wood chips.

After I got all that settled with the plum wood chips, I layered everything else up and plopped in the ribs.

Covered everything and set it to smoke over low heat, aiming to get it above 150 F and below 200F. The stove-top gods must have been with me that night, because my temps set pretty well. It took about half an hour to get up to the right temperature, and overall I’d say they cooked for 2.5-3 hours. I let the bigger dry rubbed ribs cook a half-hour longer than the skinny char siu rubs.

Oh, and don’t toss out your char siu marinade. Cook it down with some sugar syrup to make a glaze. I over-reduced it, so I had to add more water. Kind of annoying, but worth it when I finished them in the over, and brushed that goodness over it.

Ta da! All done! Just had to pop them in the oven to cook up a little more…

To get a browner crust on the char siu lamb ribs! Mmm – laquer finish.

And to dry out the top of the dry rub a little more.

Best buddies! You go, lamb riblets! Way to be delicious!

Here’s a cut of the char siu lamb rib. Nice & smoky inside. Look at all of that smoky pink interior! Now that’s what I’m talking about. These would be great in the summer, too. Smoking them inside would be great if I could finish them on a charcoal grill to crisp the outside and cook off more of the fat.

The plum wood chips were the way to go, too. Awesome flavor to complement the lamb meat.

Here’s the big dry rubbed guy. So yummy! So pink! So fatty, but so worth it! I can’t wait to try these out again when I have access to a charcoal grill.

3 comments
  1. SB is very excited that you posted this! I see lamb riblets in my future 😀

  2. grace said:

    frankly, it's amazing to me that raw meat can look sooo disgusting and repulsive while cooked meat can look unbelievably appetizing and delicious. amazing, i tell you.

  3. llcwine said:

    AJ, you have outdone yourself this time…major yumminess!!!!

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