BBQ Lamb Ribs

These lamb ribs are the easiest recipe to throw on the grill. They’re cooked low and slow over indirect heat then finished over a hot flame to get nice and crispy. Seasoned with a dry rub and then brushed with sauce, they’re packed with BBQ flavor.

There’s a new rib in town this summer and it’s not from a cow or a pig.

It’s juicy, succulent and in my opinion, way more flavorful: lamb ribs!

*This post is sponsored by the American Lamb Board. 
These lamb ribs are the easiest recipe to throw on the grill. Cooked low and slow over indirect heat then finished over a hot flame for crispiness they're packed with BBQ flavor!

It’s no secret that I love me some lamb.

We’ve done skillet lamb chops, braised lamb shanks and even some peach honey grilled lamb chops last summer but this year, I wanted to play around with lamb ribs (also known as lamb riblets).

Lamb ribs aren’t a cut you see all too often in the store but any good butcher should be able to procure you some American lamb ribs (try Whole Foods if you have one nearby!) pretty easily if asked.

And believe me, you’ll be quite glad you asked because BBQ lamb ribs have a sort of decadence to them you just don’t get with traditional BBQ ribs (aka pork).

An easy lamb ribs recipe with BBQ dry rub and sauce.

How To Make Grilled BBQ Lamb Ribs

These BBQ lamb ribs have two layers of BBQ flavor to them: a dry rub and a wet BBQ sauce.

The BBQ dry rub uses the following spices, all of which I’m sure you have in your spice cabinet: 

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

The first step is to score the fatty layer of the ribs. Then, the dry spice mixture gets rubbed all over the rack and set aside to sort of meld into the lamb while you heat up the grill.

Setting Up Indirect Heat on a Grill

The key to grilling lamb ribs is starting with an indirect heat system on your grill. Don’t worry, it’s way easier than it sounds.

Indirect heat means you simply light the burners on one side of the grill while placing the meat you’re cooking on the opposite side.

If you have a charcoal grill, you simply push all the hot coals to one side of the grill and use the other.

This enables the lamb to cook without a direct flame on it in a low and slow manner.

With my three burner grill, I lit one burner on the far side and kept the temperature at a constant 350°F while the lamb ribs cooked on the non-lit side.

Learn how to cook lamb ribs on the grill with this easy BBQ lamb ribs recipe.

How Long Do I Grill The Lamb Ribs?

The ribs are grilled over the indirect heat for a total of 40 minutes, 20 minutes on each side. It’s important to keep the grill closed as much as possible during this phase of the grilling so the temperature doesn’t fall too low. Resist the urge to peek!

Once they’ve cooked for 20 minutes on each side, turn all the burners on to high heat and spread the ribs out evenly on the grill grates.

At this point, brush the lamb ribs with the wet BBQ sauce and grill for another 4-5 minutes on each side to get the outside nicely charred and crispy.

Keep a watchful eye on the ribs during this last phase of grilling as they can easily catch on fire over high heat. And while you want a crispy, charred outside, a burnt one is no good!

Grilled lamb ribs are packed full of BBQ flavor and the perfect summer recipe.

What BBQ Sauce Do I Use?

The BBQ sauce choice it totally up to you. I like to use a smoky + sweet flavored BBQ sauce on my grilled lamb ribs because I love the little hint of sweet to play off the smoky, charred BBQ flavors.

You’ll use about 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce so buy one you like for other things too as you’ll have leftovers in the bottle.

What Do I Serve with BBQ Lamb Ribs?

When it comes to BBQ recipes, I like to go the opposite of traditional sides. Most BBQ sides are heavy (think creamed corn, biscuits, beans, etc.) but I prefer serving these ribs with fresh, bright vegetables like the green beans shown here.

The contrast of the moist, juicy, decadent lamb ribs with the bright, lemony, snappy green beans is perfection to me.

I simply blanched these beans then threw them in an ice bath. Once chilled, I tossed them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and topped with some sliced almonds. So easy and the perfect side dish to the ribs.

Pesto potatoes would be a great option for a starch and stuffed roasted tomatoes or parmesan tomato gratin would also be great summer side dish ideas.

BBQ lamb ribs are an easy grilled recipe perfect for summer.

Are Lamb Ribs Expensive?

From a price standpoint, lamb ribs are one of the most affordable cuts of lamb. You will also see them labeled as lamb spareribs or Denver ribs. 

Are Lamb Spareribs Fatty?

The rack of lamb ribs has one side that has a nice layer of fat on top. It’s what keeps the lamb so juicy and flavorful while BBQing.

This layer is easily removed as you eat the ribs though and quite comparable to baby back pork ribs.

Slathered in BBQ spices and sauce, these grilled lamb riblets are a delicious summer meal.

Your fingers will get messy and your face will need a wet nap but I really hope you give these a try.

They’re really the best lamb ribs recipe ever and so incredibly easy to make!

Don’t miss out on these other lamb recipes for the rest of the year either:

Spicy Skillet Lamb Ragu (a one-pan meal that’s so easy for weeknight dinners!)
Moroccan Lamb Lentil Stew (cozy and hearty for winter)
Grilled Halloumi Lamb Burger (another great summer grilling option)
Smoky Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Apricots
Sheet Pan Mediterranean Roasted Lamb
Lamb Jerky (did you know you could make jerky out of lamb?!)

Give these grilled BBQ lamb ribs a try this summer with this easy recipe to feed a crowd.

To celebrate summer and all the fun grilling adventures it holds (which is now hopefully some BBQ lamb ribs!), The American Lamb Board is giving away a $500 gift card to Target, REI or Lululemon, depending on your preference. Visit this link to enter!

Yield: 6 servings

BBQ Lamb Ribs

BBQ Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs are so easy to throw on the grill! Cooked low and slow over indirect heat then finished over a hot flame for crispiness & packed with BBQ flavor.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4.5 pounds American lamb ribs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce

Instructions

  1. Place lamb ribs in a large baking dish or sheet pan fatty side up. Gently score the fat in a criss-cross pattern.
  2. Combine spices in a small bowl then evenly rub onto the fatty side of all the ribs, getting into the scored marks you just made. Set aside.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill for indirect grilling (*see note below for details).
  4. Place the ribs on the unheated side of the grill, close the cover and grill for 20 minutes.
  5. Flip the ribs and grill another 20 minutes on the indirect heat side of the grill.
  6. Turn all the burners on to high heat and spread the ribs out evenly over the grill grates.
  7. Brush the ribs with half the BBQ sauce, close the cover and grill for 5 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure they don't catch on fire while cooking.
  8. Flip ribs one more time, brush with remaining BBQ sauce and grill an additional 5 minutes until charred and crispy on the outside.
  9. Remove ribs to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing in between the bones and serving.

Notes

*For indirect heat grilling, light half the burners on one side of your grill. If you have a 4 burner grill, light 2 on the left or right and place the meat on the non-lit side. If you have a 3 burner grill like I do, I lit 1 burner. Indirect heat cooking temperature should be about 350°F which I was able to reach with 1 burner lit on high.

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