Brought to you by Lamb and Mutton SA
We looked at six different ways to cook lamb chops to ensure the most tender, flavoursome lamb meat and crispiest fat. We started with a simple marinade of olive oil, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme, and seasoned the lamb chops liberally with salt and a crack of fresh pepper, before putting each cooking method to the test.
The lamb meat is tender, you can easily cook the meat to your preference and the fat comes out wonderfully crispy. The fat actually gets super crisp – pretty much like you would expect with pork crackling, which is a delicious treat. It’s like pork crackling got a tasty upgrade! Out of all the methods, this one produced the crispiest lamb fat. So if you’re a crispy lamb fat enthusiast, preheat the air-fryer and prep the lamb chops!
For South Africans, nothing beats a lamb chop on the braai. It’s always a success story – the meat is tender and super flavoursome, and the fat is crispy with yummy, charred bits. Overall, lamb chop perfection is guaranteed every time and, once the coals are ready to go, the lamb chops take a matter of moments over the hot coals.
Pan-frying lamb chops allows for the fat to get wonderful crispy, especially when you start by searing the lamb fat-side down in the pan first. The flavour of the lamb is almost intensified because the lamb chops baste in its own juices and the fat as it fried, which makes for really hearty lamb chops. The pan-fry method scores 10/10 for flavour!
Very similar to pan-frying but with added pops of flavour from the hot griddle marks on the lamb rib chops, this is your next best option if you love braaied lamb chops but don’t have access to a braai. This method is well suited for both medium-rare and medium lamb. The lamb meat is tender and the fat crisps up nicely, especially when you start by sealing the lamb fat-side down on the hot griddle.
Simply seared in a hot skillet and then roasted in a hot oven to finish off, this method results in a really rich flavour. But you want to be cautious not to overcook the meat when doing individual lamb rib chops as they do tend to overcook easily, so this method is better suited to cooking a rack of lamb. When roasting individual lamb chops, the fat also does not render out and is nowhere near as crisp as any of the other methods.
Lamb chops braised over a long period of time simply in red wine and chicken stock with a few whole garlic cloves, fresh rosemary and thyme. The outcome? A lamb-licious flavour overload, in the best possible way! The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and the flavour is hearty and rich. The only downside is that the fat is not crispy and it does take a substantial length of time to braise lamb chops. This is also a great cooking method alternative for a cheaper cut of lamb.