Fat-stack Lamb Chops for the Perfectionist

Fat-stack Lamb Chops for the Perfectionist

March 9, 2015

Quivertree Publications

books cookery

Blog post written by Tudor Caradoc-Davies. There are few things quite as delicious to a South African as the smell of a braai. Drive through the burbs over the weekend and you can actually differentiate, from the different smells, who … Continued

Blog post written by Tudor Caradoc-Davies.

There are few things quite as delicious to a South African as the smell of a braai. Drive through the burbs over the weekend and you can actually differentiate, from the different smells, who is braaiing what. There’s the boerie braai smell so evocative of school rugby matches and late night boerie / post booze roll guzzling. There’s the unmistakable smell of a fish braai, the slightly burnt caramelized whiff of pork in a sticky BBQ sauce, the aroma of roasting mielies and of course – arguably the olfactory prince of the South African braai – the lamb chop. 
Heady, earthy and meaty all at once – accompanied by little more than a little salt and pepper and a sprig or two of rosemary – to a red-blooded South African, a lamb chop on the braai rivals trumps any fragrance from Dior, Tom Ford or Givenchy.

In their book Cook. Better, Nikki Werner and Brandon de Kock break down the fundamental processes, techniques and tips to take your cooking (and braaiing) to the next level. Fortunately for us, they apply their near-scientific analytical skills and love of great food to this national favourite.

“The perfect braaied lamb chop is cooked medium-rare on the inside with a strip of crisped fat running along the edge. It’s near impossible to get right when laying your chops ‘normally’ on a grid – either the fat renders and the meat is overdone, or the meat is pink and the fat remains underdone. We employ a cunning technique called the fat stack.”

braai-chops

Fat-stack Lamb Chops

Feeds 4

The perfect braaied lamb chop is cooked medium-rare on the inside with a strip of crisped fat running along the edge. It’s near impossible to get right when laying your chops ‘normally’ on a grid – either the fat renders and the meat is overdone, or the meat is pink and the fat remains underdone. We employ a cunning technique called the fat stack.

Imagine reconstituting the original rack of lamb the chops came from, and keeping it all in place with skewers.
Take one lamb chop and stand it on a board, fatty edge down, meaty part closest to you and the long strip facing away.
Now line up the other chops alongside it so they are all sitting side-by-side like a row of books.
Thread one skewer through the meaty part and one skewer through the thin end. This keeps the stack in one piece and will help create one large section or layer of fat that will be in contact with the braai grid.

raw-chops

8 lamb cutlets (loin chops are hard to beat) vegetable oil a handful of fresh rosemary tines (optional)
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
4 wood or metal skewers

 

Rub the chops with a little oil and rosemary, and leave them to come to room temperature.
When you’re ready to braai, season them well and construct your fat stacks.
Set the braai grid quite high off the coals and lean the stack of chops fat-side down on the grid.

After a minute or two, the fat will start rendering out and begin to crisp up. After about 4 minutes, before the fat starts to burn, whack the grid down low over the coals. Pull out the skewers dramatically and wait for applause from your friends.
Flip the chops onto one side and then the other – about 3 to 4 minutes a side if your fire is hot enough – and the result should be perfectly medium-rare chops with sizzled edges.

Test the recipe yourself and get Cook. Better from any leading book store today.

Cook-Cover-Mock-UpThis is not a cookbook. It’s a book about cooking. Think of it as cooking between the lines. Or what your mother should have told you. Yes, there are recipes, but this book is about the journey, not the destination, so taking centre stage are the hows and whys behind everyday ingredients and techniques – when to use coarse or finely ground salt; best pairings for common garden herbs; extracting and building flavour; champion chopping techniques; foolproof fillet; spud’s lore, jackets and all …

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