Until recently, the best red meat supper I ever fixed involved fresh elk loin and a bottle of red wine that I really couldn’t afford. That all changed yesterday when my valentine and I decided to stay at the farm and cook something special for dinner instead of succumbing to the artificial commercialism associated with the day. That and I had been at the National Farm Machinery Show for much of the week and we both wanted to keep tabs on the Olympics. The boneless grassfed lamb loin calling my name from the freezer had something to do with it too.
Normally, when I have a lamb processed, I get a couple of roasts, plenty of chops, some stew meat, ground lamb and sausage. This time, I decided to have one of the loins left intact – well almost intact – I had the butcher dissect out the tenderloin and trim the works from the bone. I was brooding a little because I love lamb chops grilled with rosemary and this whole lamb loin business cut the lamb chop numbers in half. I needn’t have worried because my new most favorite homemade supper consists of grilled grassfed lamb loin. The preparation was simple but the outcome was superb. And in this particular grilled lamb loin supper, the roasted lemon potatoes and spinach salad with homemade blue cheese dressing (sans mayo) that my valentine prepared really made the meal memorable. I had a heart-shaped flourless chocolate cake on hand too – just in case.
So here you go – for a red meat meal that’s sure to please:
- Take a whole boneless lamb loin, trim any remaining membrane and pat it dry with a paper towel. My grassfed lamb loin was about 20 inches long – not a gram of fat to be seen.
- With the lamb loin extended on a cutting board, layer a couple pinches of salt, sufficient Northwoods Fire Seasoning to make it red, sufficient rosemary to make it green, a drizzle of olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on half of the loin (mentally split it lengthwise).
- Fold the loin in two lengthwise and tie tightly with enough cotton thread to form a tight bundle. I used six loops of thread and six knots.
- Let the trussed up lamb loin marinate in the spilled oil and balsamic for about 15 minutes while you heat the grill, or in this case heat the cast-iron stove top grill – heat to smoking hot with the ribbed side up.
- When the grill is hot, sear the lamb loin on all sides and then insert a meat thermometer.
- Adjust the heat to medium and cook – turning gently until the thermometer hits about 120 degrees.
- Remove from heat and let rest for about 8 minutes, or until the lemon potatoes and spinach salad are ready.
All I can say is that this quick and simple recipe for grassfed lamb loin resulted in some of the juiciest, most tender and flavorful loin I have ever experienced. For serving, I just cut the roll into inch-thick slices – you could cut them with a dinner fork.
For the record, this lamb loin was the gift of a young Katahdin ram that a friend finished on grass with a little bit of hay in December. The ram came my way through bartering – he turned out to be one of the tastiest trades I ever made.
Photo: iStockphoto.com/Jack Puccio
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.