The Spicy-Sweet Lamb Rack


Chicago’s Trenchermen opened just last year, but the bathhouse-turned-restaurant in Wicker Park is already going full steam. Dishes like Chestnut Agnolotti and Milk Braised Pork Shoulder are served alongside perfectly cooked hake or salmon. Or, more daring dishes such as tender sepia noodles (made from cuttlefish) have also graced the often-changing menu.

Here, brothers Michael and Patrick Sheerin, the chef duo behind the place, show their take on the classic ribs with flavors like cumin, coriander, and date molasses to bring out a meaty lamb. The result is a satisfying yet exotic “combination of sweet, sour, salty, fatty, crispy, and sticky,” says Michael. Their secret? “We deep fry them before glazing.”

Lamb Ribs Recipe

• 10 Denver lamb ribs
• Spice rub
• Date molasses pok pok
• Garnish: mint leaves, cilantro, thinly sliced green onions

Spice rub
• 2 oz. coriander seeds
• 3.5 oz. cumin seeds
• 2.5 oz. black peppercorns
• 1.5 oz. fennel seeds
• 1.5 oz. yellow mustard seeds
• 5.5 oz. kosher salt
• 5.5 oz. dark brown sugar
• 1 oz. garlic powder

Toast all of the whole spices and combine with salt, sugar, and garlic powder. Rub liberally on ribs and smoke or cook at 200 degrees for 1 hour, then turn temperature down to 160 degrees for 1 hour, and finally 150 degrees for 1 hour. Cool, portions of 7 to 8 oz. Fry on the pick up, toss with the date pok pok.

Pickled Thai chilies
• 17.6 oz (500 g.) Thai chilies, washed, tops removed and a small hole poked in them (soaked in 5% brine overnight)
• 35 oz. white vinegar
• 35 oz. water
• .9 oz. kosher salt
• 1.2 oz. white sugar

Drain chilies from the brine, bring the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar to a boil. Pour liquid over the chilies, place a weight (like a bag of water) on the chilies to keep them submerged until they are room temperature.

Date molasses pok pok
• 21 oz. date molasses
• 1 oz. pickled Thai chilies, thinly sliced
• 1.7 oz. pickling liquid from the Thai chilies
• 50g fresh lime juice (the zest of the limes, as well)
• 7 oz. Red boat fish sauce

Combine and serve.