Saturday, 26 January 2013

BBQ: Australia Day: Rosemary Smoked Lamb Ribs

Due to a number of marketing campaigns eating lamb on Australia Day is becoming something of a tradition. Since it was also my dad's birthday, I went to visit and cooked some Rosemary Smoked Lamb Ribs - a bit of a twist on the usual lamb-on-the-BBQ.

When shopping for something to cook, the local wholesale butcher had 'Lamb Party Ribs' on sale a fair bit cheaper than the more usual Roasting Leg of Lamb.  Since the ribs - obviously - have bones and can be a bit fatty some of the difference in price is made up of excess/wastage, but I purchased a bit over 4kg of ribs to feed 5 people.

Half of the ribs were pre-marinated - which is something I'm not usually a fan of, but I was cooking for others and they sometimes like that stuff - and they didn't turn out too bad in the end.  The other rib racks I prepared with a simple mix of Rosemary, garlic and oil.  Since I was not at home and the UDS is not easily portable, I was again slow-cooking/smoking on the Webber kettle BBQ.  Zoned cooking - charcoal on one side and food on the other - and keeping the vents as closed as possible without putting out the coals allowed me to cook the ribs for about 4.5 hours without overcooking them.

Like most things she grows mum's Rosemary bush was large and healthy, so much so that it needed a bit of trimming back, so I hacked off a good portion of side-branches, taking as many of the woody bits as possible.  I clipped the bits into smaller portions and added them on-top of the coals every 1/2 hour while to add some flavoured smoke while the ribs were slow-cooking (not as good as the smoker, but not bad either).

The good thing about cooking on the Webber kettle is that once it's hot it's easy to cook most anything on it. Corn and beetroot were wrapped in foil and added, and for the last 2.5 hours of cooking time, I also cooked a large stuffed chicken - putting it directly over the coals for 15mins on each side right at the end, so it had a very nice 'charcoal chicken' flavour (from the fat dripping directly onto the smoldering coals).

The ribs were cooked for about 4.5 hours, turned every 30 mins and a new handful of Rosemary added for the first 2.5 hours, and then wrapped in foil for an additional 2 hours after that (while the chicken and vegies were cooking).  The meat fell easily off the bone, indicating that they were cooked, and they were very tasty, some were still a little bit fatty, but most of the fat had dripped off or rendered during the cooking process.

Everyone was well fed and satisfied and the birthday-boy was happy, so that was the main thing.