Delicious, succulent spring baby lamb chops make great appetizers as part of a Yakitori dining experience.
Think of Yakitori as a kind of Japanese small plate, featuring a huge variety of meat, seafood, and vegetarian selections grilled over a special Yakitori grill which has no grates. You can mimic this experience in your kitchen if you have an indoor grill, and it's a ton of fun for company, as you serve them one small plate after another, hot off the grill. That's why I consider Yakitori a true dining adventure. See here for more information on the overall Yakitori experience.
Spring baby lamb chops are probably my favorite yakitori dish. The lamb is tender and the flavors are excellent. Plus, the ability to pick it up and eat it off the bone is attractively carnivorous for those of us who are meat-eaters.
You can, quite frankly, skip all marinades and just eat the lamb with lemon and togarashi spice. They're delicious as is. However, marinating takes the lamb to another level. I have tried many marinades, and have given you 3 choices below. Option 1 is my favorite, while option 3 is a close second, and easier to prepare. If you want more authentic Japanese flavor, try option 2.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr
- Prep: 20 min
- Marinate: 30 min
- Cook: 10 min
YIELD: 8 - 9 appetizer servings
Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.
Marinate the chops. Put the chops in a ziploc bag with the marinade ingredients, place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If using marinade #1, put the marinade into a blender first to chop up the rosemary.
Optionally, wrap the ends of each bone in aluminum foil to keep it from burning on the grill.
Optionally, skewer each lamb chop lengthwise. This allows you to hang the skewer off the edge of the grill, using it to turn the chops during cooking. You can also just use tongs (less authentic!).
Grill on medium-high or high heat, flipping as needed, until internal temperature is about 135 degrees (medium-rare) .
Optionally, serve with lemon wedges and togarashi spice. Squirt lemon over lamb, dip in spice to eat.
- 1 rack of lamb, cut into individual chops
- 8 - 10 bamboo skewers (optional)
- Lemon wedges
- Togarashi spice
- Option 1 - Rosemary Au Jus marinade (my favorite, adapted from Guy Fieri's Leg-O-Lamb with Rosemary-Au-Jus):
- 1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves (or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary)
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons course ground black pepper
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced - about 1/2 cup lemon juice
- Option 2 - Japanese-style marinade (from Shinseirestaurant.com):
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped including green part
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon chili paste (Sriracha sauce)
- Option 3 - Greek Style marinade (from Martyn Thompson, Gourmet/Epicurious):
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Greek), crumbled
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper