Monday, June 24, 2013

Root Beer Lamb Ribs or Whatever You Got

You know I always feel a little uneasy when I use a cut of meat that you may not be able to easily find, but in this case I’m posting guilt free, since this will work beautifully on whichever animal’s ribs you happen to use. I’ve never actually had this on anything other than lamb, but I’m going out on a limb. There’s just no way this isn’t going to be great on a rack of baby back ribs.

The root beer and sesame combination really works beautifully here, which is no surprise since we used that same one-two punch in a braised lamb shoulder recipe a few years ago. I’d just returned from foodie nirvana known as the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, and was anxious to share a recipe adapted from one I learned from chef Richard Blais.

He originally used lamb ribs, and as great as my shoulder chops were, I remember promising myself that I’d try it on ribs someday. It took a while, but it was worth the wait. The subtle gaminess of the fatty rib meat is a perfect foil for the sweet and spicy glaze, which seems even richer scented by the toasted sesame.

By the way, these are lamb ribs from the breastplate of the animal, NOT a rack of lamb from the loin, which also has a sort of similar row of bones attached to the meat. Rack of lamb is crazy expensive, and if you want to waste a lot of money, cooking it for 3 hours would be a great way to do it!

You’ll notice I didn’t slash the membrane on the back of the ribs this time. I’ve decided on small ribs, like these and baby backs, that it really doesn’t make much of a difference. Also, I forgot and didn’t realize until I was doing the voiceover! Anyway, I hope you find some lamb ribs (call a butcher and they will hook you up), or wimp out and use some pork ribs, but either way, I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 racks of lamb ribs (aka bone-in lamb breast)
salt and pepper to taste
For the marinade:
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 to 2 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce, or other chili paste/sauce
2 tsp salt
1 (12-oz) bottle root beer
For the glaze:
reserved marinade, boiled down by about half
3 crushed garlic cloves
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp sambal or fresh minced hot red chilies
*Roast lamb wrapped in foil at 250 F. for 2 1/2 hours, or until almost tender, then uncover and glaze with sauce every 5-6 minutes at 400 F., until tender and gorgeous.


Unknown said...

Hi Chef John,
Great recipe!
Where do you buy your ribs?
I live near the Bi-Rite on Divisadero and rack of lamb is somewhere around $20-$30!

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John,
Great recipe!
Where do you buy your ribs?
I live near a Bi-Rite on Divisadero and a rack of lamb ribs is somewhere around 20 or 30 dollars! The Safeways I go to don't seem to ever carry it.

Chef John said...

Don't pay that much! I got mine at Olivier's off 3rd St. Don't remember how much it cost. Try to order from Golden Gate Meats or Calmart on California. Should be cheaper than that!

Anonymous said...

My Goodness, Man....

There are days that I just want to hug you;)

God Bless!

Mask said...

Dear Chef John,
I just discovered your Blog and your Videos and they just make me happy! They are informative and entertaining. It is a great feeling to smile while learning something. Thanks for all that!
Regards from Germany,

mattjeast said...

Can't wait to try this over a hot weekend in the near future! Thanks for posting the basic steps of the recipe underneath the video. =)

Unknown said...

Thanks Chef!

Uncommonsense said...

Trying this tonight with some spare ribs. My mom isn't a fan of overly hot food so I added a bit more root beer to give it some additional sweetness. Ribs are chilling in the fride now. Gonna cook em up tomorrow paired with some herb roasted garlic mashed potatoes!

Thanks Chef John!

Michael Pang said...

Just curious is it possible to use hard apple cider as a marinade? i.e. Angry Orchard? What would that be like?

Michael Pang said...

I just spent 80 bucks on two racks of lamb. I must have gotten the wrong one :(

Chef John said...

Yes, do not use rack of lamb for this recipe! You want lamb ribs!

Unknown said...

Greetings Chef John!
I love your youtube channel and I'm going to make this recipe, but here in my town I can't find root beer, the options I have are: Suga cane juice; Sugar syrup (perhaps dissolved in soda water); India Pale Ale Beer (alcoholic dark beer with malt and sugar cane);
Some of these would be a good substitute or you would have another option?
Thank you!

Chef John said...

Those probably will not work the same. Do you have Cola? Coke or other cola sodas? This would be closer.

Firdaus Al-Hashimi said...

I'm doing this recipe now... But I've wrongly bought lamb rack with loin instead of Breast Rib. Think I need to cook it a bit longer... Btw, did you frenched the rib? Because the prep I can see it's not frenched but the result is frenched rib.

eminternational said...

Hi John,

What should i use in the replacement of Sambhal

J.E.H. Simon said...

Hi Chef,

I realize that this is a very old post and may not be active anymore, but if you have the time, I have a question about coating the ribs with oil prior to marinading them. Since oil and water don't mix, doesn't this prevent the root beer from actually reaching the surface of the meat to flavor it? Or are the marinate flavors oil-soluble?

Not trying to be snarky--just trying to learn. Your channel has become my cooking course.

Displaced Person said...

Thanks Chef! This is exactly what I'm looking for. I'll be preparing 4 lamb rib racks for my buddy's father-in-laws birthday and this certainly looks like the ticket. I'm able to buy the lamb from (I live in Japan) but you might be able to do the same from the Morgan Ranch - - in Nebraska. I'll let you know how it turns out, but I'm really excited about being able to cook this at home, and then take ti to Ken's house and heating it up and serving it at a party for 6 lovely people. I'm thrilled to be a guest at this special family party. And I'm grateful for your help in making it special. I'll let you know how it turns out.