More on Grilled Ribs: Lamb Riblets – For Something a little Different

As you know from our posts, we LOVE ribs!

It’s barbecue time and ribs constitute part of the standard stars of the grill: pork spareribs and beef ribs of varying cuts.  Still, I would like to suggest something you might not encounter, except perhaps in the most adventurous of BBQ and grilled meat restaurants: lamb riblets.  You don’t see them very often or at all in standard supermarket meat counters, and, when you say “lamb riblets,” there are some butchers who don’t even know what you’re talking about.


Cut, seasoned and ready for the grill!

Bristol Farms used to carry them from time to time, but the one in Pasadena now only orders them frozen when asked to do so.  Lately, however, I’ve had good luck with my local Stater Brothers market.  The meat folk there either carry them fresh and whole in their backroom refrigerator, or can get them for you within two days upon request … again, always fresh.  If you like, the butcher will cut the lamb breast into the individual ribs, or, as I do, you can cut them up yourself when you’re ready to make them.

So, fire up the BBQ to high, brush each rib with olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Grill them on high so they have a crusty exterior and are slightly pink on the inside.  If you’re in the habit of using a spice rub on lamb (e.g. cumin, coriander, and the like), go right ahead, but I think that the delicate flavor of lamb deserves a tad less intrusion.  My wife and I happen to like the KC Masterpiece “Original” BBQ sauce with the lamb, but if you cook some of those spicier rubs, the two won’t go together as well.

I’ve just returned from an excursion to the local Super King market and noticed some very large fresh lamb breasts just waiting to be cut into ribs … really sizeable … more like ram than lamb, I suppose, and they’d take a little longer to cook … but I’m up for it, just for the gnawing pleasure of it all.

I used to teach at the University of Kansas long ago … beef country, for sure, and proud of it.   Not surprisingly, then, my Kansas-bred students tended to regard lamb as a kind of odious specialty item, say like tripe or testicles.  If you’re of that same persuasion, I apologize for taking up your time, but I do love those sheep on the grill.






BBQ Pork Spare Ribs Time!

Whenever Vallarta Supermarkets has pork spare ribs on sale, I buy them.  Three reasons:  one, they are always fresh – never frozen.  Two, they will cut them in any configuration you want right there on the spot – large rack, small rack, 1/2 size ribs etc.  And three, $1.99/pound!!  End of story!

Generally I do a traditional Texas style rub.  This consists of Brown Sugar, Smoked Paprika, Two Chile Powders – one mild and a dash of a super hot one made by my brother-in-law David, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  I rub it liberally all over both sides of the rack about 4 to 6 hours before I grill, and then I wrap up the rack tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.ribs2new

Since I live in a condo, I don’t have a real smoker.  I use a gas grill, burners on super low so the heat never gets over 300, and go for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

No smoke rings, but delicious, tender, juicy ribs.  Sometimes I slice the meat off the bones and serve them inside corn tortillas – also from Vallarta – with a bit of onion, cilantro and sour cream.  No BBQ sauce needed – that rub does everything you need it to do!

Happy Summer!!