I unexpectedly came across some lamb baby backs on a recent visit to the grocery store. Even though such a thing is not a conceptual stretch, remarkably, I had never worked with them before. I decided to try them with a traditional lamb seasoning mix and a simple wine reduction, and they turned out quite nicely. Before cooking, the meat should be prepped like any other rib, by removing the membrane from the underside, to allow the flavor to penetrate, and to do away with a bit that really isn't edible.
Lamb ribs are fatty, which is a good thing, fat adds flavor, but they will render a lot of oil during the long cooking time. Use a rack of some kind to hold the meat up and out of the grease, as well as a drip pan to reduce the mess and any off flavors from burning/smoking lamb fat.
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
zest from one lemon
Red Wine Reduction
1 cup of hearty red wine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
Mix ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and reduce to syrup consistency. Strain out the peppercorns, taste and adjust acid/sweetness to your liking.
Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and spread over both sides of the lamb. Allow to marinate for a couple of hours refrigerated, or as long as overnight. The ribs should be cooked low and slow. This can be done by grilling over low, indirect heat, or in the oven. Target cooking temperature is ~250 degrees, cooking time will vary based on the size of the ribs and your ability to control the heat, start checking at about 2 hours, it could take as long as 4 hours. What you're looking for is a nice browned appearance with only slightly firm flesh, pulling back a quarter inch or so from the end of the bone, and no uncooked pockets of fat.
After the ribs are cooked and rested, cut into 2-bone portions, and glaze with the reduction. Serve warm.
This recipe is for 2 racks, enough for about 4 people.
This recipe was originally written for grilled fish, as a baste/glaze for cedar planked salmon. I have also tried it on grilled chicken, and it is outstanding on both. This is a veg variation, that substitutes tofu for the meat protein.
Whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth, set aside. Remove tofu from water, place in a colander or a cheesecloth sling, drain for at least 30 minutes. Cut tofu into 1-1/2 inch cubes, cut remaining vegetables into like sized pieces. Assemble kabobs using metal or soaked wood skewers. Brush with glaze, and grill.
(If you use this glaze on meat, add it in the last 10 minutes of grilling. Because of the sugar content, if will burn with prolonged exposure to high heat.)