Tandoori Lamb Chops are tender and juicy, bursting with a unique blend of Indian herbs and spices and amazing charcoal grill flavor!
If you are looking for something unique and different to put on your grill, tandoori lamb chops may very well be some of the most flavorful lamb meat you’ll ever eat.
David and I fell in love with a very similar lamb chop we order at a local Indian restaurant in Front Royal. We enjoy Indian cuisine whenever we want something flavorful and different. The lamb chops come out steaming and sizzling on a small cast iron pan hot off the grill sprinkled with onions, peppers, and a lemon wedge on the side for squeezing.
The Indian lamb chops inspired us to develop a recipe to make on our grill at home. It took a couple of tries, but we came up with a recipe for lamb chops that we think you will enjoy this summer in your own backyard.
Let’s fire up the grill for tandoori lamb chops!
Watch How To Make Tandoori Lamb Chops
What Is Tandoori?
Despite what people think, tandoori actually refers to a method of cooking rather than a recipe. Tandoori is a traditional Indian style of cooking based on the use of a tandoor.
A tandoor is a clay oven, almost like a large clay pit. It is large enough to hold a small fire created by slow-burning wood charcoal. The heat is controlled by the amount of oxygen allowed inside. The heat that reflects on the ceramic walls of the tandoor is so intense it can reach 600 degrees F!
The best alternative to this method of cooking is firing up your grill at home.
How To Cut Lamb Chops For Grilling
The cheapest way to buy lamb chops is to purchase whole racks of lamb and cut them into chops yourself. Follow the following steps or check our video within this post.
- Rinse the lamb chops under cool running water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Trim off any excess fat and silver skin from the meat and bones.
- Holding the rack bone side up, slice the lamb into single chops. Sometimes the ends are too thin. In this case, it is best to cut them with a double bone (An extra gnawing handle!).
The Tandoori Marinade
Tandoori cooking has a unique flavor and almost always begins with marinating meat in a yogurt-based marinade. Yogurt has natural acidity, which helps tenderize meat, and is perfect for lamb chops, which can be tough and chewy when not prepared correctly. In addition, the yogurt is thick and acts as a binder so that the marinade adheres to the meat, seasoning it very well.
- Yogurt: The acid helps tenderize the meat. Greek Yogurt works great. Use full fat. Avoid low-fat, sweetened, or flavored.
- Heavy Cream: Adds a creamy richness to the marinade. You can substitute it with milk if you don’t have any.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice help breaks down the meat to provide flavor and moisture and helps the spices penetrate the meat.
- Ginger: Always use fresh ginger. You’ll need about a 3-inch piece peeled and grated. Use a Microplane; it’s the best tool for the job.
- Garlic: Fresh cloves, peeled and grated.
- Vinegar: I used rice vinegar. However, you can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar if you don’t have any.
- Spices: garam masala, cumin, paprika, nutmeg, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Combine the Marinade:
- Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Pour the marinade into a zip-top bag with the lamb chops. Gently squeeze and massage the bag to coat the chops. Un-zip the bag and gently press out as much air as possible. Then seal it shut.
- For best results, marinate the lamb chops in the marinade for at least 8 hours or overnight.
How to Grill Tandoori Lamb Chops
- Set up the grill for a 2-zone fire with direct and indirect heat.
- Sear the chops over direct heat for about 2 to 3 minutes (depending on size) on each side. Turn the chops and repeat on the other side.
More than likely, the milk solids from the yogurt and cream will flame up. Use the lid and close the vents to prevent major flare-ups and maintain temperature.
- Transfer the chops to the grill’s cooler (indirect) side and continue to cook until they reach at least 125 degrees F for rare, 130 degrees F for medium, and 145 degrees F for well done. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure they are done to your liking.
- REST! Place the lamb chops on a platter and tent loosely with foil. Allow them to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving to redistribute the juices throughout the meat.
- After the chops rest, plate and serve warm.
What to Serve With Tandoori Lamb Chops
- Sauteed red onions and sweet mini peppers
- Lemon Wedges,
- Chopped cilantro
- Naan Bread
- Stewed Chickpeas
- Basmati Rice
These chops are bursting with amazing Indian flavor. Bring something new and different to your grill tonight! If you try this recipe, please comment below to let us know what you think.
See ya on the mountain!
Tandoori Lamb Chops
- 2 ½ pounds frenched lamb rib chops about 16 lamb chops
- Tandoor marinade recipe to follow
- Sauteed red onions and sweet mini peppers lemon wedges, chopped cilantro, for serving (optional)
For the Tandoor Marinade:
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice fresh
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger 3-inch piece peeled and minced
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- ½ tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- salt to taste I used about ½ teaspoon
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (omit if you do not like heat)
Prep the Lamb Chops For Marinade:
- Use a sharp knife to trim any excess fat and connective silverskin tissue from the rack of lamb. Next, divide the rack into individual chops (if not already cut). Stand the whole rack on its end. Start from the exposed rib and cut between the ribs, and cut them apart. Sometimes the ribs on the end of the rack are a little smaller, so you may want to leave cut it as a double-bone chop.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, cream, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, vinegar, garam masala, cumin, paprika, cayenne, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the marinade into a zip-top bag.
- Transfer the lamb chops into the marinade—zip up the bag with a bit of excess air inside. Gently squeeze and massage the bag to coat the chops. Un-zip the bag and gently press out as much air as possible. Then seal the bag shut and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the chops from the marinade and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the grill.
- Set up the grill for a 2-zone fire with direct and indirect heat.
- Sear the chops over direct heat for about 2 to 3 minutes (depending on size) on each side. Turn the chops and repeat on the other side. More than likely, the milk solids from the yogurt and cream will flame up. Use the lid and close the vents to prevent major flare-ups and maintain temperature.
- Transfer the chops to the cooler (indirect) side of the grill and continue to cook until they reach at least 125 degrees F for rare 130 degrees F for medium and 145 degrees F for well done. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure they are done to your liking.
Rest and Serve:
- Place the lamb chops on a platter and tent loosely with foil. Allow them to rest at least 5 minutes before serving so that the juices redistribute in throughout the meat.
- After the chops rest, plate, and serve warm.