Easy smoked lamb chops with optional gold potatoes to catch the delicious drippings. You will love our tried and true method of keeping them moist.
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- Read on for useful tips and step-by-step pictures (2 mins)
The Secret to Our Juicy Smoked Lamb Chops
Lamb chops and other smaller and thinner cuts of meat can dry out fast during smoking. Typically the solution is to place a bowl of water in the smoking chamber or spray/brush/mop the meat with liquid.
Our method is to place the chops (or a butterflied leg of lamb for that matter) onto a wire rack fitted over a pan with a bit of water or stock. As the water evaporates it keeps the meat moist.
And because we rarely let a good smoking set up go to waste by cooking only one food we take the opportunity to fill the pan with potatoes. The so prepared smoked potatoes are outrageously delicious – further flavored by the drippings from the lamb.
You can use the exact same method to smoke any type of lamb chop you fancy as well as lamb steaks.
You Will Need
Lamb chops. For this post we used lamb shoulder chops as example. We had two blade chops and two arm chops (the difference being which side of the shoulder they were carved from). We prefer them for two reasons. One is that they are sizeable enough to withstand hot smoking. Two, and more importantly, they contain a good amount of fat which slowly renders and not only flavors the meat but also helps keep it moist as it cooks.
Seasoning. Besides your lamb chops you will need a simple blend of just salt, pepper, granulated garlic and dried oregano. You can even skip the last two.
Liquid. Water or stock or a combination of both. We start with a bit of water and add chicken stock to replenish it and flavor the potatoes. If not using potatoes, only water is fine.
Potatoes. If you decide to use them – gold or red potatoes are well suited for the purpose. You will need to parboil them first because the low temperature of the smoker will not be enough to cook them during the time needed for the chops.
Wood. We prefer hickory wood for smoking lamb chops but if you are looking for something milder consider cherry or apple.
TIPS: 1. Pat dry the lamb chops really well before you season them – smoke adheres best to drier surfaces. | 2. Use a dedicated pan for smoking, one you no longer use in your kitchen and that you can fit a wire rack on top.
Prep. Mix the salt, pepper, dried oregano and granulated garlic. Season the lamb chops generously. If preparing potatoes, cut them and parboil them until they just begin to turn tender (this can also be done in the microwave). Transfer them to the pan over which you will be smoking the chops. Add water, place the rack on top and arrange the seasoned lamb.
Smoke. Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and bring the smoking chamber temperature to 225-250 F. Add the wood according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the prepared pan with the potatoes and the rack with the lamb chops in the smoking chamber.
Finish. Add charcoal and wood as necessary to maintain the smoke and the temperature in the range. Check on the liquid level in the pan and replenish as needed (add some chicken stock if cooking the potatoes). Flip the lamb chops so they can get nicely colored on both sides. When the internal temperature reaches your desired level (for us the magic number is 138 F or just over that) they are done.
How Long to Smoke Lamb Chops
The short answer is – until they are done. This depends on a variety of factors, such as:
- the cut of lamb chops
- their size and thickness – both impact donneness and therfore total time required
- how stable the smoking temperature you were able to maintain
- your desired doneness
Medium is the optimal doneness for smoked lamb chops and the corresponding internal temperature range is 135 F to 145 F.
- We prefer them around 138-140 F which generally takes close to an hour and a half for blade chops and a few extra minutes for the arm chops. They finish juicy, beautifully infused with smoke flavor and nicely colored on the surface.
- Budget just under an hour for lamb loin chops and even less for lamb rib chops.
- The smoking time for lamb sirloin chops like these is more in line with the shoulder chops as they are cut thicker.
ESSENTIAL TIP: Do your absolute best to keep the smoking chamber temperature in the 225-250 F range. For the most tender meat you need the lamb chops to cook slowly so that the connective tissue and fat melt slowly. It should not be a race to get to 138-140 F internal temperature, it should be a stroll.
You Might Enjoy
- 4 lamb shoulder chops*
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 3 lbs gold potatoes** (optional)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (optional)
- 3-4 sprigs fresh oregano (optional)
- Pat dry the lamb chops with a paper towel. Mix the salt, pepper, dried oregano and garlic powder and season them generoausly. Reserve any leftover seasoning for the potatoes (if making). Set aside to come to room temperature.
- If preparing the potatoes, clean, peel and cut them in uniform pieces. Parboil them until they just begin to turn tender (you can do this this in the microwave). Transfer them to the pan over which you will be smoking the chops. Add about a cup of water, season them lightly, add fresh oregano and place the wire rack on top. Arrange the seasoned lamb chops onto the rack. If not making the potatoes simply add water to the pan and them place the rack on top with the lamb chops.
- Set up your smoker according to the manufacturer’s instructions and bring the smoking chamber temperature to 225-250 F. Add the wood also according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place the perpared pan with the rack and the lamb chops in the smoking chamber and close it.
- Monitor the smoker temperature and add charcoal and wood as necessary to maintain both the smoke and the heat (lower heat produces more smoke and vice versa).
- After about half an hour check on the liquid level in the pan and replenish as needed (add some chicken stock if cooking the potatoes). Flip the lamb chops so they can get nicely colored on both sides. Start monitoring the internal temperature of the chops (thickest part, away from bone). When it reaches 138-140 F they are done.***
*If using lamb loin chops budget twice this number as they are much smaller. If using rib chops, budget 2-3 per person, depending on how big they are (American lamb=bigger, New Zealand or Australian=smaller). If smoking lamb steak - one could easily feed two people.
**You can also use baby potatoes or red potatoes. The quantity is simply a guideline, you need just enough to fill the roasting pan.
***The precise temperature and corresponding doneness are to your discretion. The longer you smoke the lamb chops, the more the meat will dry and the tougher it will become. In our experience medium doneness (in the range of 135-145 F) translates to the best tasting and juciest chops when smoking over a pan with water.
Smoking times for different lamb chops cuts:
- rib chops - about 45 minutes, but could be considerably less, watch them closely
- loin chops - about 50-60 mins
- shoulder chops - 90 minutes
- sirloin chops - about 80-90 minutes
- lamb steak - about 100-120 minutes
Note that these times are simply guidelines and there are many factors that will drive the actual time it takes for a lamb chop to reach medium doneness. These include the exact cut, size and thickness as well as the precise smoking temperature you were able to maintain.
For medium-rare pull out just before the meat reaches 135 F, for medium-well just over 145 F. We do however recommend medium doneness (around 138-140F).
Remember - smoking lamb chops is about tender, juicy meat infused with sweet smoke flavor. Do not be afraid to simply trust your eyes and also probe tenderness by sticking the tip of a fork into a chop and twisting it a bit - if it seems tough, smoke a bit longer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 1042mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 8gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g