Print Options:

Grilled Lamb Chops with Pine Nut Salsa Verde

8 Servings

At Home
10 mins

In Camp
35 mins

Total Time
45 mins

Get the messy prep out of the way at home and cut straight to the cooking in camp: It’s a recipe for success every time. This lamb recipe from Elias Cairo, head salumist of Olympia Provisions in Portland, picks up plenty of flavor in the cooler from the simple mustard marinade, and a nutty, herbaceous Italian-style salsa puts it over the top. If you like, serve it with grilled garlic scapes or green onions. You can also cook the dish over a charcoal grill instead of a wood fire.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Pine Nut Salsa Verde

Thomas J. Story
Marinade and Lamb
 ½ cup Dijon mustard
 ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
 ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
 3 racks of lamb (8 bones each; 51⁄2 lbs. total), Frenched*
 About 1 tsp. each fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Salsa Verde
 1 ½ cups lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
 5 large fresh mint leaves
 1 ⅓ cups toasted pine nuts, chopped
 1 cup thinly sliced green onions
 Zest and juice of 1 lemon
 1 large regular garlic clove, minced, or 3 garlic scapes*, thinly sliced
 ½ cup cup extra-virgin olive oil
 About 1⁄2 tsp. fine sea salt
For Serving
 Flake sea salt
 2 lemons, cut into wedges
At Home

Make marinade: The day before, mix mustard, parsley, and olive oil in a large bowl; add lamb and smear evenly. Seal meat in 2 large resealable plastic bags. For salsa, rinse parsley and mint, and spin dry; wrap in paper towels and seal in a bag. Chill ingredients in a cooler.

In Camp

Build a fire (see “Campfire 101,” page 69) and let burn until you can hold your hand 5 in. above firepit grate only 5 to 7 seconds. Let meat come to room temp (1 to 2 hours).


Meanwhile, make salsa verde: Gather parsley and mint into a bundle and thinly slice. Put in a medium bowl and combine with remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste with fine sea salt.


Season lamb liberally with fine sea salt and pepper.


Set a charcoal cooking grate over firepit cooking grate. Grill lamb, turning often, un- til medium-rare (cut to test) or center registers 115° to 120° on an instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a board and let rest a few minutes.


Slice lamb between bones, arrange on a platter, and sprinkle with flake salt. Serve with salsa verde and lemon wedges.

*Frenched lamb racks have meat cut away from rib ends. Garlic scapes are tender young flower stalks of garlic plants; find them at farmers’ markets in late spring to early summer.

Campfire 101

Before you go, check that your campground allows fires and you can bring in wood or buy it there. You’ll want large logs, twigs for tinder, medium sticks for kindling, a butane lighter, newspaper, grilling tongs and gloves, home charcoal grill grate, and paper towels and oil for cleaning grates.


The perfect fire for cooking has low flames plus plenty of embers. It takes 1 to 11⁄2 hours to burn down to this stage.


In a fire ring with cooking grate pushed away, make a log cabin with 6 large logs: 2 parallel to each other, 2 crisscrossed on top, and a third set like the first. Crumple newspaper into the center and add a handful of twigs. Make a tipi over the twigs with some medium sticks. Ignite paper. Gently fan fire until flames emerge.


Off to the side of the main fire, ignite a second, smaller one with just a few logs. Let fires burn.


. Using tongs, spread a bed of embers with low flames under the cooking grate and in area needed for dutch oven cooking. As you cook, add fuel from feeder fire.


Never walk away from a fire that’s still burning. When it’s down to cinders, spread the remains in the fire ring and douse with water.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 898Calories from Fat 654
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 74g114%

Saturated Fat 23g115%
Cholesterol 165mg56%
Sodium 949mg40%
Total Carbohydrate 6.5g3%

Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Protein 55g111%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.