With bold Mediterranean flavors, this succulent sous vide rack of lamb will melt in your mouth.
This sous vide rack of lamb recipe uses rosemary and garlic to bring the flavors of the Mediterranean to life with lamb so juicy and flavorful that it will melt in your mouth.
There’s a reason why rosemary, garlic, and lamb are such a classic combination. The bright notes from the rosemary and lemon juice compliment the delicate meat without overpowering it, creating a dish that is both rich and light, with flavors that linger long after you’re done with dinner.
One of the best ways to bring these flavors together is by cooking the lamb sous vide. Using sous vide is an easy way to update this classic dish with a modern technique that makes the dish both easier to make and taste better. The advantage of sous vide is how evenly it cooks everything, ensuring that the entire rack is tender and juicy.
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Tips for Cooking Lamb Sous Vide
Cooking lamb racks sous vide is a simple way to get the most out of a cut that can be on the expensive side. The reason sous vide is such a good choice as a technique is how it cooks the entire rack to the same internal temperature—making this the easiest way to have each chop be medium-rare from edge to edge.
To learn more about this innovative cooking method read What is Sous Vide Cooking & Why it Works.
A rack of lamb is a bone-in cut that generally includes eight rib bones connected to a single piece of meat. Depending on where the cut is purchased, the rack sometimes includes a fat cap on the outside.
It is considered a high-end cut that often costs as much as the best aged beef. A part of this has to do with how little meat is on each rack. The other is that the flavor and quality are so high that it’s one of the most sought after cuts of lamb for restaurants and home cooks.
The ribs can be frenched at home or by asking your butcher, which is a technique that involves removing the meat and connective tissue from the ends of the rib bones. This can create a stunning presentation and a nice handle for snacking on the lamb. This recipe works whether or not the racks are frenched. It also works for lamb chops.
We don’t recommend searing the racks before cooking them. In our experience, searing them at the beginning adds an extra step that can be a bit of a hassle without adding or improving the texture or flavor of the finished product.
The simplest way to cook lamb sous vide is to use a vacuum sealer and cook it in a preheated water bath. The water displacement method will work but can be messy. For those that like to sous vide, we recommend picking up a dedicated container that can be used as a water bath while cooking and as a place to store your equipment when it’s not being used.
Seasoning the Lamb
There are many different options when it comes to seasoning racks of lamb. It’s a cut that is equally at home with Mediterian flavors as it is with those from India or the Southwest. One of our favorite variations highlights the deep smokey flavors from dried chilies to create a truly unique Southwestern Rack of Lamb.
For this recipe, we use fresh rosemary, garlic, and lemon juice along with a bit of olive oil to build layers of Medeterian inspired flavors while the racks take their warm bath. What we’ve found is seasoning the meat with fresh herbs before cooking helps the flavors penetrate the meat while it cooks.
The addition of the olive oil helps bind everything together and create a more richly flavored crust when the racks are finished. Another sous vide recipe with a similar flavor profile is this Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic.
Sous Vide Rack of Lamb Temperature Guide
In our testing, we found that cooking the racks at 134℉ (56℃) for two hours is the perfect combination of time and temperature to deliver lamb that is a firm medium-rare. If you prefer your meat more or less done, adjust the temperature a few degrees either way. We don’t recommend cooking the racks longer than four hours because it can start to make the texture turn mealy.
|Rare||116℉ – 124℉ | 46℃ – 51℃||Cool red center, soft to the touch|
|Medium-Rare||125℉ to 135℉ | 52℃ – 57℃||Warm red center, firmer with a bit of spring|
|Medium||136℉ to 144℉ | 58℃ – 62℃||Pink all the way through & firm to the touch|
|Medium-Well||145℉ to 154℉ | 63℃ – 67℃||Gray and brown all the way through, very firm|
|Well Done||155℉ plus | 68℃ plus||Dark gray and very firm|
Finishing Racks of Lamb
There are three good options for finishing a rack of lamb cooked sous vide. The first is searing it on a hot grill for a couple of minutes per side. The advantage of using a grill is it adds a touch of smoky flavor and crisps up the crust without making it oily.
When finishing it on the grill, it’s a good idea to be standing by with a pair of long-handled tongs to move it off the fire if it starts to flare up.
The second option is to sear the rack in a hot cast iron or stainless steel skillet with some olive oil. To finish the lamb this way, heat the skillet on high heat before adding some olive oil along with a sprig of fresh rosemary or other aromatic herbs.
Place the rack in the hot skillet and sear for a couple of minutes while basting it with the oil and any juices that run out. Continue turning the racks until each side has been seared. This is a simple method that can be done right before serving.
A third option is to use a kitchen torch to finish the outside. This is done by moving the tip of the flame back and forth across the racks until the outside has crisped up the desired level of doneness. This method is an excellent choice If you’re interested in posting dynamic pictures to Instagram or don’t have access to a grill.
The reason we prefer using the grill to the other two methods is the way it adds a nice char to the dish creating an interesting contrast of flavors and textures that compliment the meat’s natural sweetness.
To carve the lamb, use a sharp knife to cut between each of the rib bones. The best time to sauce the lamb or squeeze a little lemon juice on top is after it has been carved.
Frequently Asked Questions
One rack is usually enough to serve 1 to 2 people, depending on the size of the rack and the appetite of the eater. Racks of lamb can be deceptive because there is so much bone in them compared to the amount of meat that it’s a good idea to look at the racks and not just use their weight when judging how many to make.
Whether or not you have the racks frenched is a personal preference. Unlike roasting them in the oven or cooking them on a grill, there’s no advantage or disadvantage to frenching when they’re being cooked sous vide.
The simplest way to reheat lamb is uncovered in a 350℉ (177℃) oven for around ten minutes or so on a baking sheet until it has warmed through. Reheating it this way will bring it up to temperature without drying the meat out but will somewhat diminish the pink color.
To sous vide a frozen rack, add an extra hour to your cooking time.
A Few Delicious Side Dishes
This is the type of recipe that is often made for the holidays or other special occasions. The rosemary and garlic in this recipe are ideally suited to go with Greek, Spanish, and Italian dishes.
A few of our favorite things to serve with this recipe are a creamy Herb Risotto with Rosemary and Thyme, flavorful Roasted Carrots with Rosemary and Fennel, or pairing it with the bright flavors from Grilled Asparagus.
- 1 1/4 lb rack of lamb
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp rosemary, minced
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 lemon wedges, garnish
- Start by setting up your warm water bath and bringing the temperature to 134℉ (56℃).
- Mince the rosemary and garlic. Mix the rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper with the olive oil and lemon juice. Rub the seasoning onto the rack, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies.1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 clove garlic, 2 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1 1/4 lb rack of lamb
- Vacuum seal the rack in plastic and cook it for two hours at 134℉ (56℃). When it has finished cooking, take it out of the bag and finish it on the grill.
- To finish the rack, grill it on a medium-high grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side until a nice crust has formed on the outside. Make sure to watch the rack, so it doesn't flare up.
- Cover the cooked lamb with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. To serve, cut in between the ribs to carve out individual chops. A little squirt of lemon juice helps to bring the flavors together.2 lemon wedges