One type of meat that may be underappreciated in the United States is lamb. I didn’t have much experience with eating lamb until I visited the United Kingdom with a group from my university years ago. Several times on that trip, we were served different cuts of lamb, often with mint sauce on the side. You can find lamb in some U.S. grocery stores, but it’s less common than other meats such as beef, pork, or chicken. That’s primarily because most lamb is raised outside the U.S. in countries such as Australia or New Zealand, so it generally has to travel a lot farther to reach plates in the U.S.
Aldi, with its German origins, is no stranger to importing foods from other countries, and they’ve always been a bit of a mini international grocery store. At different times of the year, you’ll spot German food, Italian food, British food, Indian food, and more on the grocers’ shelves. This makes it a delightful place to shop, especially if you’re a foodie.
Something that is also commonly seen at Aldi is lamb, usually from Australia. Aldi regularly rotates boneless lamb leg and butterflied lamb leg onto its shelves, along with ground lamb and lamb chops. When I spot lamb at Aldi, I often pick up a package or two so I always have some in my deep freezer. This spring, I decided to pick up a lamb cut I’ve never tried before from Aldi: a rack of lamb.
Specially Selected Frenched Rack of Lamb cost $10.99 per pound at the time of publication. I purchased a 1.74-pound rack of lamb for $19.12. This is a more expensive cut of meat, and it’s no coincidence this showed up at Aldi in time for Easter, if you’d prefer something other than traditional ham on your holiday dinner table. The rack of lamb I purchased on April 6th, 2022, had a use-or-freeze-by date of April 28th, 2022.
I found this among the fresh meat specials in the refrigerated section at Aldi. This is an Aldi Find, which means it’s only in stores for a short time. You can’t order it online from Aldi if it isn’t in stock at your local store.
Rack of lamb is a cut of lamb that is sliced perpendicular to the spine and has 16 ribs or chops. It’s basically lamb chops all together before they’re sliced into individual chops. Grocers often sell rack of lamb “single,” where it is cut lengthwise and includes only 8 ribs on one side rather than all 16, and that is the case with this lamb from Aldi. It’s a somewhat dramatic-looking cut of meat, with bones sticking out of it, but don’t let that intimidate you because this is actually a very easy cut of meat to cook. Rack of lamb also doesn’t take long to cook (more on that shortly).
The package states this is “great for grilling or roasting,” and it is halal. The only ingredient is lamb, and it’s a product of Australia. This is a Frenched or French trimmed rack of lamb, which means “the rib bones are exposed by cutting off the fat and meat covering them.”
One 4-ounce serving has 190 calories, 11 grams of total fat (14% DV), 4.5 grams of saturated fat (23% DV), 75 mg of cholesterol (25% DV), 70 mg of sodium (3% DV), no carbohydrates or sugars, and 22 grams of protein.
The package has directions for grilling or baking/roasting.
To grill this lamb, remove the rack of lamb from the package and lay it flat in a tray. Apply seasonings or a marinade of your choice. Set up a gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking. Preheat to medium, and place the lamb rack on the grill (meat side up) with ribs away from direct heat/flame to avoid charring. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning/basting occasionally. Remove from the grill when the internal temperature is 145 degrees for medium rare. Cover with foil for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
To bake or roast, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove the rack of lamb from the package, lay it flat in a tray, and apply seasonings or a marinade if desired. Roast for 15-18 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 for medium rare. Cover with foil for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
I’ve never cooked rack of lamb before, and I simply followed the package instructions as they’re printed for roasting the lamb in the oven. Before roasting, I seasoned the rack of lamb on both sides with some fresh minced garlic (garlic is always good with lamb), salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can marinate or rub spices into the rack of lamb and leave it in the fridge overnight or for several hours to impart a lot of flavor, but simply adding those ingredients just before cooking is okay, too.
A quick Google search indicates you cook rack of lamb with the fat side up, so that’s how I placed it on a rimmed baking sheet before sticking it in the oven. You definitely want to use a rimmed baking sheet or rimmed tray when roasting this because it drips a lot of fat and grease.
It took about 31 minutes in my oven to get this lamb up to 145 degrees internally, rather than the advertised 15-18 minutes, so keep that in mind when you’re making side dishes. Some recipes recommend letting rack of lamb come to room temperature before cooking, but the Aldi package directions didn’t indicate this. That might help cut down on cook time, and it’s probably something I’ll do if I make this again to avoid potentially overcooking the outside of the meat while the inside is coming up to the right temperature. Some recipes also suggest wrapping the exposed rib bones in foil so they don’t burn, but I didn’t do that, again simply following the directions Aldi gave, and I didn’t have any problems with the bones burning.
Once it was fully cooked, this lamb was easy to slice into into individual chops and serve. It’s a fatty cut of meat, and some family members loved how flavorful the meat was as a result. The garlic, salt, and pepper I added before roasting gave this a nice flavor. One rack was enough to feed my family of four with some side dishes, so if you’re serving a crowd for a holiday dinner you’ll want more.
Specially Selected Rack of Lamb makes a nice feature on a holiday dinner table. It’s from Australia and is halal, and it’s simple to roast in the oven or cook on a grill. If you like lamb, this is worth trying.