Smoked lamb ribs are tender and packed full of flavor. Learn how to smoke lamb ribs with our easy barbecue recipe.
You would be hardpressed to find a meat lover who does not like their ribs. If you own a barbecue smoker, you are in luck. Nothing is quite like lamb ribs that are cooked low and slow over smoke for hours.
Our smoked lamb rib recipe is no different. This stripped-down version of our smoked rack of lamb is prepared with a beautiful BBQ dry rub, slow-smoked, and then coated in barbecue sauce. These beauties are juicy and packed full of flavor and there’s nothing quite like them.
If you’ve smoked beef ribs in the past, you’ll be glad to know that the cooking process for lamb isn’t much different. Seasoning and flavors differ slightly, but the meat prep and approach to smoking are much the same.
The first step in our meat prep is to remove the membrane from the rib rack. For the unfamiliar, this is a layer of silverskin that sits on the underside of the rib rack. It’s similarly found on pork ribs and beef ribs, and lamb is no different.
Some pitmasters and barbecue fans prefer to keep it on, but I find it turns chewy and inedible when cooked. Let’s get rid of it.
Find where the membrane or silver skin starts at the end of the rack. Use a dull knife (or a spoon if you prefer) to slide under the skin and start carefully removing it from the rack.
Slowly start pulling it away until you can get two fingers underneath. Then use your hands to start pulling it away. Try to be as gentle as possible so that there is no risk of the skin breaking or cutting.
Using a paper towel to purchase, slowly remove the skin, ensuring that it remains intact. If it tears, don’t worry – just use the paper towel to remove as many pieces of the membrane as you can.
BBQ Dry Rub
The best way to season our rack of lamb is to use a dry rub. You can buy store-bought seasoning mixes, but I much prefer to go DIY. What better way to tweak the taste of your dish than to make your own?
Our dry rub is a simple one, and only requires four simple ingredients of dried rosemary, dried thyme, ground black pepper, and garlic salt. The combination of these four components gives us a nice flavor balance without distracting us from the lamb meat.
Simply mix the four ingredients in a small bowl. Once they’re thoroughly combined, apply the blend generously to the lamb rack. Work it into both sides of the ribs and you’re good to go.
Smoking Times & Temperature
Lamb ribs will need to be smoked for about three hours at 225°F (107°C). Unlike other types of meat, we don’t need to go by internal temperature for ribs. Instead, we need to look out for changes in the meat’s texture and appearance.
Just like when we tell if pork ribs are done, we can use the toothpick test. To do this, gently press a toothpick into the meat between the bones on the rack. Your ribs will be ready if the toothpick glides with little or no resistance.
If you feel more comfortable going by internal temperature, the recommended reading is 145°F, or 63°C (source).
Best Wood for Smoking Lamb Ribs
Because of its naturally strong flavor, the best woods for smoking lamb are robust hardwoods like hickory or mesquite. Hickory has been a popular barbecue wood choice for years thanks to its robust and nutty flavor.
Similarly, mesquite has a bold flavor profile and is a staple of Texas-style barbecue in particular. Its pungent and intense smoke aroma has made it a classic wood choice.
It’s easy to go overboard with both hickory and mesquite, so I recommend only using a small handful of chips to start with.
If you would like to add a touch of fruit to your smoke, try mixing in some applewood with your hickory. This should add a mild and sweet note to your ribs.