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Recipe of the Week: Get your grill ready for these North African-spiced lamb chops

Addie Broyles
These North African-spiced lamb chops from "Weber's Ultimate Grilling" could inspire a similarly seasoned pork tenderloin or a whole roasted chicken. [Contributed by Ray Kachatorian]

You might already have a ham prepped and ready to go for Easter, but if you're looking for another main dish for a holiday meal, these lamb rib chips "Weber's Ultimate Grilling" by Jamie Purviance would fit the bill, especially if you're hoping to cook outside.

Lamb chops are easier to find this time of year because of the spring holiday, and they are easy to cook, as long as you don't overcook them. Purviance points out that the excess fat can cause flare-ups on the grill, so make sure you have a cooler spot on the grill — that indirect heat that barbecue masters like Aaron Franklin always talk about — to pull off the chops if they start to cook too fast. You could also take this recipe in a totally different direction by using pork tenderloin or a whole spatchcock chicken, both of which would grill nicely. You could also prep skewers of firm tofu and marinate them in the herbs and spices before cooking over high heat.

Lamb Rib Chops with North African Spices

Yes, fat is fabulous, but too much can turn your lamb chops into a fireball. Trim the fat well and use only enough oil to help the spices stick. Lamb can handle a lot of flavor, so our spice paste is garlicky and tart and packed with the heady flavors of fresh herbs.

— Jamie Purviance

For the North African spice paste:

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press

1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, very finely chopped (3 tablespoons)

1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, very finely chopped (3 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the lamb:

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

16 lamb rib chops, each about 3/4 inch thick, meat and bones trimmed of excess fat

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 lemon, sliced (optional)

In a medium bowl whisk together all the ingredients for the paste until smooth and emulsified. Alternatively, make the spice paste in a food processor. With the motor running, first add the whole garlic cloves. Then add the cilantro and basil leaves and all the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

In a small bowl mix together the cumin salt, and pepper. Lightly rub the lamb chops on both sides with oil and season all over with the cumin mixture, pressing lightly to adhere. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the grill.

Prepare the grill for direct and indirect cooking over high heat (450 to 550 degrees.) Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the chops over direct high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to your desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes for medium rare (125 to 130 degrees), turning once or twice.

If flare-ups occur, move the chops to indirect high heat until the flames subside and add a minute or so to the grilling time. Remove the chops from the grill, then whisk the paste to emulsify it again.

Brush the paste on both sides of each chop. Serve the chops warm. If desired, garnish with the lemon slices. Serves 4.

— From "Weber's Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius" by Jamie Purviance (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.99)