Rack of lamb? The very phrase generates images of a posh restaurant, an exceptional chef, a wonderfully satisfying meal, and something you could never do yourself. It’s true that this dish is sumptuous. But you don’t need an upscale restaurant to enjoy it. And, yes, you can easily do rack of lamb yourself. In fact, you can go one-up and use this specific recipe with a chile rub that will have your tongue tingling.

This delightful dish is actually easy. I offer this main course at Cooking by the Book where twenty or thirty or forty people come to cook together. That group is divided into teams with each team assigned one recipe at their workstation. At the end of the evening, the lamb team always gets a standing ovation. Make this dish, and you, too, will be applauded.

This recipe is from the brilliant chef and author Douglas Rodriguez. By all means, look at his cookbooks for recipes that are tested, distinctive, and incredibly satisfying.

Grilled Rack of Lamb with Mango-Mint Mojo

Yield: Plan on 2-3 ribs per person

Ingredients for Dry Adobo Rub (2 cups) and One Rack of Lamb:

  • 5 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 5 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 5 tablespoons toasted cumin seeds
  • 6 dried ancho chiles, seeded and chopped or powder
  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 1 rack of lamb (7 to 8 ribs)

Ingredients for Mango-Mint Mojo (2 Cups):

  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves


For Adobo Rub: Heat a large skillet over high heat. Place ingredients in the skillet and toast until they become fragrant and charred and the seeds begin to crackle, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the hat and let cool. Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the toasted ingredients to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind until smooth. Store in an airtight container until needed.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

For the Lamb: Using a sharp knife, remove the fat from the rack of lamb so the bones are clean but still attached to the loin. Thoroughly coat the lamb with the adobo rub. Transfer the lamb to a platter and let sit in the refrigerator up to an hour.

In a cast iron skillet or grill pan, sear racks on the meaty side for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a sheet or roasting pan, place in oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the interior of the meat reaches 125°F for rare or 135°F for medium-rare. Alternatively, the racks may be cut into chop and seared or grilled.

Source: Nuevo Latino by Douglas Rodriguez