Rack of Lamb

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Rack of Lamb - Cuso Cuts

Since most people don’t make lamb often, my rack of lamb recipe is a wonderful treat. It combines the vibrant color of pesto aioli with spicy smoked peppers and a smoked garlic confit sauce. Since your smoker is up and going, you’ll be able to smoke the goat cheese and peppers along with your rack of lamb.

By the way, I often make a double batch of the aioli. Why? Because it’s versatile. You can tinker with the flavor a bit, then use it like any basil sauce. Try it on:

  • Sliders as a condiment
  • Seafood
  • Potato wedges while their cooking
  • Brussels sprouts during braising
  • Salads as part of a vinaigrette
  • Chicken as a marinade.

Tip: I like to make the pesto and treat the lamb ahead of time (1 day) so when guests arrive I have more time to socialize. Cover it and put it in the refrigerator. Make sure it reaches room temperature before you smoke it. 

Chef Cuso and rack of lamb

Aioli Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (any)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt 

Aioli Instructions

  1. Place all your ingredients in a food processor or blender. 
  2. Gently pulse for about 3 minutes
  3. Make sure everything looks well-integrated
  4. Move to an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.  

Lamb Ingredients

  • Rack of Lamb
  • Aioli pesto
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Butter

Lamb Instructions

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225, using hickory or apple smoking wood
  2. Score the fat side of the lamb using a Chef’s Knife
  3. Rub the entire rack with the aioli pesto
  4. Sprinkle all sides with salt, pepper, and garlic
  5. Place on the smoker, fat side up
  6. Cook until your meat reaches 125 degrees F.
  7. Remove from the smoker
  8. Sear it on both sides in an iron pan with a dollop of butter

Rack of lamb that has been scored

Seasoning on rack of lamb

Shishito Peppers Instructions

  1. Clean the seeds out of the peppers (wear gloves).
  2. Toss the peppers in a coating of the aioli
  3. Move to the smoker and top with hot honey
  4. Grill until blistered

Goat Cheese Garlic Comi Sauce Ingredients

  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 12-14 whole cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup butter (optional)

Goat Cheese Comfit Sauce Instructions

  1. Toss the garlic in the olive oil
  2. Transfer it to a baking sheet
  3. Cook on the grill for 1 hour
  4. Transfer the garlic to a casserole dish and cover completely with olive oil. Continue smoking for 45 minutes
  5. 15 minutes in, put the goat cheese in an oven-safe container and let it smoke until heated through (about 20-30 minutes)

Finishing Touches

Cut the lamb into lollipops using a cleaver or other properly sharpened knife. Top the lollipops with the goat cheese sauce, then garnish with chives and crushed almonds. 

Pit Masters Memo

Eating lamb is something with a very long history. 10,000 years ago humans in Central Asia started using sheep meat as a dietary staple. By the Middle Ages, farmers knew that sheep were handy for more than just  food. They were used for wool, parchment (skins), milk, butter, and cheese. 

In the 1500s, brave sea-faring sheep arrived in North America transported by the Spanish. By the 1800s there were commercial cattle herds. 


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