Thursday, August 11, 2022

Lamb Breast

It isn't a cut you see often in the stores, but a neighbor raises lambs and gave us a couple packets of lamb breast riblets...a kind of lamb spare ribs. The recipes I looked at online seemed to indicate that they did best cooked long and slow. I found one recipe that has a glaze that you apply after they have cooked for a while without it. The glaze has honey, garlic, and fresh rosemary. I tried it and it was delicious, although both Sweetie and I found it to be too sweet. Next time I might try maple syrup instead, with some balsamic vinegar, too. 

The method of cooking the riblets long and slow in the oven in a baking sheet with parchment paper on both the bottom and top of the meat, followed by a tightly fitting foil over it all, worked well. The glaze added some flavor, moisture and a bit of chewiness where it had cooked where the meat met the bottom of the pan. The final coating with the glaze and then time under the broiler made it even chewier but added some crisp bits to the fatty parts. The riblets were tender and the meat practically fell off the bones. Do allow for a fair number of riblets per person since there are a lot of bones and little meat.

All in all, this recipe is a keeper. The only problem is that I didn't take any photos at all! I'll include one from the site, CraftBeering , where the recipe is. Please do yourself a favor and visit the site where you will find lots of photos, great tips, and illustrations of how to prepare the riblets for the recipe.

There are also instructions for grilling them. I made the honey-garlic-rosemary glaze, but there is also an Asian inspired one, or you can use your favorite BBQ sauce.

You need to prepare the lamb spare ribs for the slow cooking part of the recipe. We strongly recommend that you follow the steps illustrated on the CraftBeering site in order to achieve fall-off-the-bone tender meat.

·         First pat dry each rack with a paper towel and turn it over so the meatier side faces down. You will notice a translucent membrane that helps hold the ribs. To remove it, use the tip of a knife to lift it and then peel it off entirely.

·         Next, place the rack(s) onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Season with kosher salt and black pepper only, on both sides, and position with the meaty side up.

·         Finally cover with another parchment paper sheet and tightly wrap with aluminum foil, just as shown in the image grid.


This style of wrapping the ribs for slow cooking in their own juices has several advantages:

·         the ribs do not dry out

·         clean up is easier

·         because the ribs are in between two layers of parchment paper there is no danger of aluminum seeping into the meat. If aluminum comes into direct contact with the seasonings on the meat, it can penetrate into it.  The parchment paper creates a barrier which prevents that and ensures food safety.

There are two stages for the cooking:


·         Stage 1 – Slow cook. Once you have prepared the spare ribs in the manner shown on the CraftBeering site, cook them in the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes at 275 to 300 degrees F, depending on how strong your oven is. Check on them at the end of that time and if satisfied with the tenderness, brush them on both sides with the glaze. (If not, cover them back up and cook for a few more minutes and check again - I had to give them another 10 minutes).

·         Stage 2 – Glaze and finish (broil if you can). Place them back in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. The fat and glaze will sizzle and the ribs will begin to darken and form a crisp exterior. To make them really appetizing consider broiling them for 5 minutes or so at the end of the 20-25 minutes. Stand by the oven and watch them closely!

April 12, 2022 | Updated June 23, 2022 By 

Serves 4
Prep time is 10 minutes or so
Cook time is 2 hours 30 minutes


2 racks lamb spare ribs, Denver style, about 1.25 lb each

·     salt and pepper, to taste



·     1/2 tbsp olive oil

·     3 cloves garlic, minced

·     3/4 cup honey

·     1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, very finely chopped

·     2 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed


·     3/4 cup hoisin sauce

·     2 tbsp dark soy sauce

·     2 tbsp shaoxing wine or sake

·     2 tbsp honey

·     1 tsp rice vinegar

·     1 tbsp sesame oil

·     2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated

·     2 tbsp green onion, finely chopped



1.  Preheat oven to 275-300 F.*

  1. Pat dry the lamb racks and remove the membrane holding the ribs together by gently lifting on one side with the tip of a knife and peeling it off.
  2. Line a baking sheet large enough to fit both racks with parchment paper. Place the racks on top and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Position ribs with the meaty side up and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Wrap the so prepared ribs with aluminium foil, tightly.**
  3. Slow cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes and then unwrap to check for tenderness. If satisfied, leave uncovered and brush with your choice of sauce on both sides. (If it appears that the meat can use a little longer in the oven, go for another 20 mins and check again).
  4. Place the uncovered ribs back in the oven for 20-25 minutes. They will form a nice crust as the sauce bubbles. You can turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes - stand by the oven and watch closely because the sugars in the sauce can burn.
  5. Transfer the cooked lamb ribs to a platter or cutting board, brush with sauce one more time and allow a 5 minute rest before you cut them for serving.


1.  In a small sauce pan saute the minced garlic in the olive oil, over medium heat, just until garlic is fragrant and turns soft.

2.  Lower the heat to low, add honey and chopped rosemary. Let reach a slight bubbly simmer, then remove from heat. Add the lemon juice, stir and allow to steep. Keep warm. Use to brush over lamb ribs.


1.  In a small sauce pan combine all the ingredients. Bring to simmer over low heat. After 7-10 minutes as the sauce thickens, remove from the heat. Use to brush over lamb ribs and as a dipping sauce.


This recipe assumes lamb ribs are harvested from American lamb, such as Colorado, which is bigger than New Zealand or Australian lamb. If working with racks that weigh less than 1.25 lbs you may want to shorten the slow cooking time as they will cook faster.

*Depending on how strong your oven is.

April 12, 2022 | Updated June 23, 2022 By 




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