These Greek marinated lamb chops are succulent, delicious, and surprisingly easy to make. The zesty Greek marinade delivers perfect Mediterranean flavor for an amazing dinner you're going to love.
Lamb chops are a special occasion dinner for us.
But I am happy to say that these Greek marinated lamb chops have become our new favorite.
You get just the right balance of lamb and Mediterranean flavors: trust me, it really tastes amazing.
For this lamb chop recipe, we prefer to start with a full rack of lamb (lamb rib roast), which we get from Costco.
Did you know...a lamb rib roast is the same cut as a prime rib roast, simply cut from a lamb. So it's inevitably a much smaller roast.
By slicing the individual chops ourselves, they come out fresher than the pre-sliced variety. And don't worry, it's incredibly easy to do this.
But what I love most about this recipe is the zesty Greek marinade.
It permeates into the meat and gives it a wonderful, complex Mediterranean flavor. The marinade is balanced with just the right amount of acid, oil, and Greek spices.
The marinade is so good that we set aside extra so we can drizzle it over the lamb right before serving. It also goes great on any grilled vegetables or rice you might serve with it.
The final touch is to grill these chops over high heat using a charcoal grill. I love how you get a slight char on the outside but a perfectly cooked inside.
Not comfortable around a charcoal grill? No worries, I'll walk you through every step and you'll see that it's really quite easy.
If you don't have a charcoal grill, this recipe also works on a gas grill or on your stovetop in a cast iron skillet.
When we make them indoors, we use our cast-iron grill pan. See image below.
Just be sure to let your cast iron pan/griddle get good and hot with a 5-minute pre-heat before laying on the chops.
Do you have a special occasion coming up? Or maybe just want to surprise someone with an amazing dinner?
Give this recipe a try, it won't let you down. Enjoy.
How to make Greek marinated lamb chops
First, remove the membrane
There is a thin membrane on the bone side of these ribs. This is the same type of membrane you would remove if you were smoking pork ribs.
Start by prying the membrane loose by sliding the handle of a spoon underneath the membrane along the bone of a middle rib.
As you work your way under the membrane a few inches, you should be able to use your hands to pull it off. Using a paper towel helps you to get a good grip.
Trim the lamb
Once the membrane is removed, it's time to trim the fat cap and the silver skin that lies just underneath it.
Cut it into chops
Turn the roast vertically and guide your knife between each bone. At the base of the roast, you will notice that you have to angle the knife a bit to find the joint between the ribs.
Do your best to cut the chops to a uniform thickness...but inevitably some will be slightly thicker than others.
This lamb rib roast weighed about 2.4 pounds and turned into 9 lamb chops with an average weight of ¼ pound (including the bone).
Make the Greek marinade
Add the ingredients below into a large bowl or gallon size marinating bag and mix thoroughly.
|½ C EV Olive Oil||2 teaspoon Thyme (dry)|
|¼ C Lemon Juice||½ teaspoon Dill (dry)|
|2 teaspoon Lemon Zest||½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper|
|2 tablespoon Vinegar||1 teaspoon Sugar|
|½ teaspoon Garlic Powder||2 teaspoon Salt|
|1 teaspoon Oregano (dry)||1 teaspoon Ground Pepper|
(This marinade would be great on my Grilled Beef Kebabs, too.)
Add the chops to the Greek marinade
Before adding the chops to the marinade, set aside about 25% of the mixture for drizzling over the grilled chops right before serving.
Add the lamb chops to your marinade bowl or bag and allow them to rest in the refrigerator. Turn them over a few times during this rest period so that the marinade has good, even coverage on all the chops.
Allow them to marinate for a minimum of one hour and as long as 24 hours.
Remove the chops from the fridge
At least 30 minutes before grilling, remove the marinated lamb chops from the fridge and place them on a cooling rack placed inside a rimmed baking tray.
Do you notice the heavy marinade still on the chops in the picture above? This needs to be dried off a bit. Too much marinade on the meat will cause flare-ups when you grill them.
To dry the chops, dab both sides with a paper towel. But be careful not to rub off any herbs and spices stuck to the meat.
Once dabbed, allow the chops to rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before grilling. Meanwhile...
Light the grill
Before lighting the grill, make sure your cooking grate is scrubbed clean with a grill brush and that you've disposed of all the old ashes.
We will be grilling these lamb chops over direct high heat.
Make sure your bottom vents are wide open: we want a very hot cooking area.
To determine how many coals to light, I like to make a single layer of unlit coals that covers about ⅔ of the cooking area.
Then gather them all up and add them to a chimney starter. Add 7-8 extra coals as well since they will reduce in size as they burn.
Light the chimney and wait until the coals at the top have started to ash over. This will take 10-15 minutes.
At that point, dump them into the coal grate and spread them around until an even layer covers about ⅔ of the area. (I use cheap metal tongs for this)
Put on the cooking grate and allow the grill to pre-heat for 5 minutes, with the lid still off.
You should notice that the coals have turned all white at this point. This means the grill is ready for those chops!
Start grilling the chops
First, oil the grate
Before adding the chops, it's a good idea to put a light coating of oil on the cooking grate. This helps keep the meat from sticking and will remove any lingering residue.
Just wad up some paper towel, dip it in some vegetable oil and push in along the cooking area using your tongs.
Add the chops
Add the chops, one after the other to the cooking area. Allow an inch or so between each one. Keep the grill uncovered during this short cook time.
Let the chops cook a minimum of 2 minutes before checking the underside. After all, we want a slight char and some nice grill marks, right?
When you get the char you like, turn them over to cook the other side.
Some chops will need to be flipped after 2 minutes while others may take a bit longer. This is due to some areas on the grill running hotter than other areas.
Also, don't worry if you need to flip them more than once. The theory of only flipping meat once has been discredited.
What if I get flare-ups?
Flare-ups will happen when fat drips onto the hot coals. The fat catches fire and causes flames to rise up and burn your meat.
This is not a good thing. When a flame is directly burning your meat, it leaves a bad flavor.
If a flare-up happens, just put the lid on your grill for 5-10 seconds. This limits the oxygen and should dissipate the flames quickly. Repeat as necessary.
Or you can simply move the affected chop(s) to the area of the grate where there aren't any coals underneath. Then move them back when the flame is gone.
When are the chops done?
You can remove the chops from the grill when the internal temperature is about 5 ºF from your desired doneness.
You will need an instant read thermometer to check these internal temps.
Once you remove the chops from the grill, there will be some carryover cooking that will continue to raise this internal temperature the remaining 5 ºF.
I recommend cooking lamb chops the same way you like your steak. For us, that's medium rare (135 ºF).
Below is a doneness chart for your reference.
|Doneness||Final Temperature |
|Medium Rare||135º F|
|Medium Well||150º F|
|Well Done||160º F|
FYI, the lamb chops won't all be done at the same time
This is why an instant read thermometer is crucial. You will be taking temps on all these chops quite frequently near the end of the cook. With each one likely being removed at a different time.
The two main reasons for this are:
Each chop will vary slightly from the next. Obviously, thicker chops need a bit more time than thinner ones.
Grill temp variation
All grills have hot spots. Hotter spots will get the meat done quicker.
Let them rest
Once all the chops have been removed, cover them with tinfoil and allow them to rest 5 minutes.
This rest time allows the meat to relax and redistribute its juices, which results in a chop that is more tender and juicy.
What to serve with Greek lamb chops
Homemade tzatziki sauce
This sauce is an amazing riff on the classic. It's similar to what you would get on a gyro sandwich, with flavors that complement the lamb perfectly.
Simply mix the ingredients below and allow everything to meld together for an hour before serving.
|½ C full fat Greek Yogurt, plain||2 tablespoon Vinegar|
|½ C Sour Cream||1 teaspoon Dill Weed (dry)|
|½ Cucumber, grated and drained||¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder|
|⅓ C Red Onion, chopped||½ teaspoon Sugar & ½ teaspoon salt|
Add some vegetables
You can choose something as simple as slicing some white onions and tomatoes. This is great if you're serving the chops with tzatziki sauce.
Grilling veggies is never a bad idea either. We prefer zucchini, red onion, and tomatoes.
If you decide to grill your veggies, you should look at using this grill pan. It keeps all the veggies from falling into the grates and is non-stick, which makes clean-up a breeze.
We have also served our Greek lamb chops with this Cucumber-Onion-Tomato Salad.
Bread and/or Rice
Rice is also a good option!
You can make rice easily enough, but we often choose the quick and easy route. We buy these quinoa and brown rice microwave packets.
They microwave in 90 seconds and the result is fantastic. And good for you too!
Don't forget to save some of that Greek marinade. It tastes wonderful over these side dishes.
Other great side dishes...
That's it! So easy! I hope you enjoy this special occasion dinner as much as we do.
Good luck and happy grilling!
- 1 rack of lamb, cut into individual chops
- ½ C extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ C fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon vinegar (white)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoon salt (kosher)
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Make the marinade. Combine all the ingredients, except the lamb chops, to a marinating bag or large bowl. Mix or thoroughly. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the marinade in a separate container.
- Add the lamb chops to the marinade and rest in the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours before grilling.
- One hour before grilling, take the chops out of the fridge and transfer them to a cooling rack and dab with a paper towel to remove excess marinade on both sides.
- Set up your charcoal grill so that you have an even layer of hot coals covering ⅔ of the grilling area. Allow to pre-heat for 5 minutes. Leave the lid off the grill and keep the bottom vents fully open. (See the post for more details on how to do this)
- Apply a thin layer of oil over the cooking grate before adding the chops. (See Recipe Note #1)
- Add the chops directly over the hot coals, keeping a minimum of 1 inch between the chops.
- After 2 minutes, begin to check the underside for char. Once you have good grill marks, flip over to cook the other side.
- Once flipped, cook an additional 2 minutes. At this point, start checking each chop for doneness using an instant read thermometer. Remove each chop separately once it is 5 ºF from your desired final temperature and place onto a large platter.
- Once all the chops have been removed, cover with tin foil and allow them to rest 5 minutes. Drizzle with reserved marinade and serve.
- Wad up some paper toweling, dip in some vegetable oil and use a set of tongs to spread the oil across the cooking grate.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 1250mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 31g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!