On a recent business trip to L.A., I ducked into one of Hollywood’s hottest new restaurants, Gwen Restaurant and Butcher Shop, for the 5-course tasting menu of lots (and lots) of lean protein, served in a supercool gangster-era setting. I was blown away by chef Curtis Stone’s signature dish: Asador Lamb Four Ways, a combo of perfectly brined, roasted, and smoked lamb. If you’re not cruising the Sunset Strip anytime soon, whip up the smoked lamb at home.
Gwen Restaurant Smoked Lamb Ribs
by Chef Curtis Stone
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/4 cups sea salt flakes
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tbs smoked paprika
1 tbs pink salt (instacure #1)
1 tsp cayenne
1 orange, zest finely grated, juiced
6 garlic cloves, smashed
12 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves
1 fresh rosemary sprig
4 racks of lamb ribs (about 1 1/4 lb each)
2 tbs coriander seeds
2 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
To brine lamb:
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, stir peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds for about 3 minutes, or until spices are toasted. Stir in 1 quart water, sea salt flakes, sugar, paprika, pink salt, cayenne, orange zest, orange juice, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove pan from heat and stir in 3 quarts water. Cool to room temperature.
2. In a large container, combine lamb ribs and brine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To make spice rub:
3. In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, stir coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cumin seeds for about 2 minutes, or until spices are toasted. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. In a small bowl, mix freshly ground spices with paprika and cayenne. Set aside at room temperature.
To cook lamb:
4. Preheat oven to 325°F (280°F fan-forced). Place a wire rack in a large heavy rimmed baking sheet.
5. Remove ribs from brine and pat dry. Brush both sides of ribs with oil and sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp spice rub evenly over both sides of each rack of ribs. Tightly wrap each rack individually in foil and place on prepared baking tray. Transfer to oven and cook, flipping foil parcels over halfway through cooking, for about 2 1/2 hours, or until ribs are tender. Unwrap ribs and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, using almond wood, prepare a barbecue for medium-high heat. Barbecue ribs for about 2 minutes per side, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to chopping board and cut into 2-rib pieces. Place on a platter and serve immediately.
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