Grilled Lamb Chops

This grilled lamb chops recipe, aka scottadito in Italian, is easy and succulent as can be. It relies on a simple marinade of harissa, lemon, garlic, and olive oil.

A cutting board with lamb chops, some in racks, some sliced, along jus and lemon halves

These grilled lamb chops helped us finally understand why “lamb chop” is oft used as a term of endearment. Another term of endearment used in conjunction with this recipe is “scottadito,” which, according to the authors, is loosely translated in Rome “as ‘finger-blistering hot’ and alludes to the fact that no one can wait for the meat to cool before eating.” It’s a compliment, trust us, something you’ll understand as soon as you try these. Just try not to mind as everyone devours the diminutive dinner in not-so-dainty fashion, eschewing forks and knives and using their fingers instead.
Renee Schettler

Can you eat lamb chops medium-rare?

Not only can your lamb be pink in the middle but, and we’ll never get tired of saying this, it’s actually better that way. Overcooking lamb will only result in a dried-out, less-than-tender, disappointing dinner.

Grilled Lamb Chops

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House No. 8: Pronto cookbook

Want it? Click it.



In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, harissa, olive oil, and lemon juice. Pour half the harissa mixture into a second bowl.

Cut each rack of lamb in half into 4-rib pieces. (The lamb will be easier to cook plus everyone can have one or two crispy “end chops.”) Arrange the chops in a roasting pan and brush with the harissa sauce from one of the bowls. Discard any harissa sauce that remains in that bowl. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for 4 hours.

Prepare a medium-hot fire on one side of a charcoal grill. If using a gas grill, fire up the back burner to medium-hot heat. Grill the lamb in the center of the grill, moving it to a cooler spot if there are flare-ups. Turn the lamb as a brown crust develops. When the meat is browned all over, move it to the coolest spot on the grill to finish cooking, turning it occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare, about 25 minutes. The grilling time will vary depending on your grill and the heat. 

Move the lamb to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil, and let it rest briefly, something like 5 to 10 minutes or so.

Cut the ribs into individual chops, pile them on a platter, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the remaining bowl of harissa sauce on the side along with some lemon wedges. (And yes, it’s okay to indelicately grab the lamb lollies with one’s fingers rather than struggle to use a knife and fork.) Originally published April 13, 2014.

Print RecipeBuy the Canal House No. 8: Pronto cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

When I saw this recipe, I knew it was going to be delicious. Grilled lamb chops with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and harissa, YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU! My family loved this dish and they all gave it a 10 across the board!

The recipe is simple to assemble, even more so if you've already made the harissa ahead of time. If not, no worries, start marinating the lamb in the olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, and then add the harissa when it's ready.

We made the lamb chops as recommended—4 chops roasted together—although when I make this again, I'll roast 2 lamb chops together at a time or maybe even single lamb chops, so that there are more crispy end chops to enjoy.

We made these on a charcoal grill until they were medium (a temperature of 140°F), and they were done within 30 minutes. I served the lamb chops with pita bread warmed on the grill, salad, and hummus flavored with harissa. My teenager, who never eats hummus, tried the harissa version and liked it. WIN! I forgot to reserve some marinade for the sauce, so I made extra (just lemon juice, olive oil, and harissa) for passing and we used all of it. I love this recipe and will make it again.

This grilled lamb chops recipe will have you licking your fingers. I used a harissa paste I had on hand to make the marinade. The results were delicious. There was a wonderful charred coating, yet the meats were juicy. There was also a mild heat from the harissa, but the taste of each of the meats shone through.

I used one 8-rib lamb rack, frenched by my friendly butcher, and I split it into 2 portions.  I seasoned each generously with salt and pepper and bathed each of the split racks with 1/4 of the remaining marinade. I was unable to use our grill, so opted to use a cast iron grill pan to sear them and then I finished them off in a 375°F oven. I seared the lamb on all sides until there were distinct grill marks and the meat was developing a golden crust. This took about 10 minutes total.

I cooked the lamb for 10 minutes, fatty side down, and then flipped it over to finish for 10 more minutes to develop a deep color on the top. I allowed the racks to rest for 10 minutes before separating the ribs and piling them on a plate. I set out lemon wedges and divided the remaining marinade into 2 small bowls, to put with the lamb for dipping.

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