Juicy and tender lamb steaks are easy to prepare in just a few simple steps.
UNDERSTAND THE CUT OF LAMB
Lamb steaks are thick cross-section cuts of the leg of the animal and can be boneless or bone-in.
When boneless their oval shape has a rounded notch near the periphery – from where the bone and surrounding flesh were removed. Bone-in leg of lamb steaks look exactly as the ones you see below.
The average boneless lamb steak weighs about 8-10 oz. Bone-in cuts are more substantial and can weigh up to 15-16 oz.
HOW TO COOK LAMB STEAKS
We recommend that you grill or pan-sear lamb steaks.
The process is essentially the same regardless of whether you use an outdoor grill, a grilling pan or a cast iron skillet.
The cooking temperature and time needed are identical for each method. Refer to the step by step pictures and instructions below.
We also recommend that you flavor the meat first, beyond simply seasoning it with salt and pepper (and any other spices).
LAMB STEAK MARINADE
The secret to really tasty lamb steaks is to marinate them first – a marinade infuses the surface of the meat with flavor. You are in the driver’s seat as far as exactly what flavor(s) that may be.
For the grilled lamb steaks in the pictures we made a spiced dark ale marinade using an English style porter and curry, cinnamon, cumin, star anise, garlic powder, a bit of honey, vegetable oil and salt and pepper.
Use this marinade (see the recipe card below) or your favorite one.
Alternatively or you might like one of our Lamb Chop Marinades – the quantities as written are enough for 2-3 lamb steaks.
If you don’t have time to marinate be sure to liberally season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper and a spice or herb that you like (oregano, thyme, paprika etc.).
STEPS TO COOK PERFECT LAMB STEAKS
Mix your choice of marinade and pour it over the lamb steaks. Let them absorb flavors for a few hours, covered and refrigerated.
Heat the grill to high or alternatively heat a grilling pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the surface of the grill or pan.
Pat dry the lamb steaks and discard the marinade. Season them with salt and pepper. Place them on the grill over direct heat.
TIP: To create grill marks move them 45 degrees about 2 minutes after you first place them onto the grill surface. Flip once to cook the other side and repeat the 45 degree rotation to mark.
Place the cooked steaks on a platter and let them rest for 5 minutes. You can tent them loosely with foil if you’d like to keep them warm.
HOW LONG TO COOK A LAMB STEAK
Whether grilling outside or using a grilling or cast iron skillet indoors the time required to cook a lamb steak is about the same.
Keep in mind that the internal temperature of the meat is a much more reliable indicator of doneness than the time spent in contact with the hot surface of your choice.
We like our lamb steaks medium and recommend that you do not cook them further as the meat begins to toughen past 140 F.
Based on thickness of just over one inch it takes 4 minutes per side for medium-rare (125-130 F) and about 5 minutes per side for medium cooked lamb steak (135 F).
You can serve the rested lamb steaks cut in pieces, family style. Two large (in our case they weighed almost a pound each) steaks comfortably serve four adults.
TIP: The bone marrow is a real delicacy. Every time we grill lamb steaks or arm lamb shoulder chops we scoop out the bone marrow with a tiny spoon or the tip of a knife and savor it over a piece of toasted bread or cracker. So much flavor in so small of a bite.
SIDES FOR LAMB STEAKS
Serve your lamb steaks with a side that complements the flavors of the marinade.
For example, if you marinated in olive oil, oregano and garlic a Greek salad with all the fixings and grilled potatoes will naturally be a great fit.
For this post we chose to echo the subtle warming flavors of the spiced dark ale marinade and grilled curried cauliflower to go with the lamb steaks. We also fried a few cumin papad crackers ahead of time and served a chili sauce.
To grill Curried Cauliflower: Quarter a head of cauliflower – do not trim the core, it is easier for the florets to be firmly attached during grilling.
In a small bowl mix 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 1/2 tbsp yellow curry, some salt and pepper. Brush all over the four cauliflower pieces and start grilling them 20-25 minutes before the lamb steaks, near direct heat with the grill closed.
We especially enjoy pairing lamb steaks with stark ales. We love barley wines in particular but also bierre de gardes or winter warmers when it’s cold) or flavorful lagers such as bocks and doppelbocks.
The flavor profile of the dark ale marinade and the grilled cauliflower was perfect for a porter or a stout. We happened to have some Guinness at the back of our beer fridge and didn’t hesitate.
An Oktoberfest lager or an American brown or amber ale are quite pleasing with lamb, especially if the marinade is heavy on cumin, caraway and clove. Or a double IPA.
For brighter, more herbal or citrusy marinated lamb steaks served with lighter sides we always enjoy a crushable saison, kolsch or a session IPA.
- 2 thick leg of lamb steaks, boneless (8-10 oz each) or bone-in (about 14-16 oz each)
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste for seasoning
- 1 cup cup sweet/balanced dark ale with mild roasty character such as porter
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp yellow curry
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
In a bowl mix all the ingredients except for the ale. Slowly add the ale and whisk until smooth.
Cover the lamb steaks with marinade. Use an airtight container or plastic bag. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Use any marinade you'd like.*
Heat an outdoor grill to high (or a grilling skillet or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat). Lightly oil the grate or the surface of the pan.
Remove the lamb steaks from the marinade and discard it. Pat them dry and season each side with salt and pepper.
Place on the grill surface (or grilling pan or skillet) and cook each side for 4 minutes for medium-rare (125-130 F) and 5 minutes for medium (135 F).
Remove from the heat and let rest (you may cover them loosely with foil) for 5 minutes before serving.
*For marinade ideas beyond the suggested one take a look at this list of Lamb Marinades.
If you want to mark the steaks move them 45 degrees about 2 minutes after you first place them onto the grill/grilling pan's surface. Repeat on the other side.
Note: Nutritional information assumes an average serving of 7 oz.