Tandoori Champ (Indian Lamb Ribs)
In India these ribs, would be cooked in a tandoor, a clay oven. To achieve a similar oven-roasted effect on a charcoal or gas grill, cook the ribs over indirect heat, then finish them with a sear directly over the fire. This recipe first appeared in our June/July 2013 issue with Steven Raichlen’s article Secrets of the Grill: Ribs.
- 2 racks (2 lb.) lamb spareribs (often called Denver ribs)
- 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp. garam masala
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 (4″-piece) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1⁄4 cup malt vinegar
- 3 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. red food coloring
- 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
- Melted unsalted butter, for serving
- Place ribs in a roasting pan. Heat cumin seeds and garam masala in an 8″ skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool. Transfer to a spice grinder; grind into a fine powder. Purée garlic and ginger in a food processor until very smooth. Add the cumin and garam masala powder, plus yogurt, vinegar, cayenne, cardamom, food coloring, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and lemon juice; purée until smooth; rub mixture over ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn off burner on one side (see “Grilling 101“). Grill ribs, flipping once, until slightly charred and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the outside starts to burn before the ribs are fully cooked, move them to the cooler section of the grill and continue to cook until tender. Rest ribs 20 minutes; slice into individual ribs. Serve with lemon wedges and melted butter.