Sticky balsamic lamb ribs.

We were lucky enough to steal a couple of days away in Central Otago this weekend. Earlier in the week we were subjected to a wicked southerly front that roared up from the Antarctic. It uprooted trees, capsized boats in Otago harbour & generally reminded us that while the calendar says it is spring, winter was not finished with us yet.

Budburst in Central Otago.The silver lining of this elemental mayhem was a glorious dumping of snow over the mountains of Central Otago. Just a couple of hours drive inland from Dunedin, “Central” is a mountainous region renowned for stone fruit orchards, skiing & cool climate wine (producing particularly good Pinot noir). It also produces exceptional lamb, fattened with high country grazing.

Ingredients- Sticky honey balsamic ribs.

For me, spring is the perfect time to enjoy young, tender cuts of lamb. It gladdens me to see lamb ribs appearing more and more in butcher’s shops and supermarkets; one of those “secondary” cuts that ended up feeding the butcher’s dog once upon a time! If you can’t source them, the flavors of this marinade work just as well with beef or pork, or simply substitute lamb chops for ribs.


Sticky balsamic lamb ribs

  • Servings: 5
  • Time: 2 hours 30 minutes cooking. 10 minutes prep.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Honey, fresh herbs and lemon juice are a natural match with balsamic vinegar and garlic. The result is a rich, sticky marinade just perfect for lamb ribs!



Allow four to six ribs per serving (depending on how greedy you are)!

For the marinade:

-1/2 cup honey

-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

-the zest & juice of 3 lemons (I use a microplane for a fine texture)

-8 garlic cloves

-1/4 cup (loosely filled) each of fresh picked rosemary, thyme & mint.


  1. Place all marinade ingredients into a food processor & blitz to a paste.
  2. Place ribs into a large container or plastic bag & pour marinade over. Ensure all ribs are coated. Ideally allow the ribs to marinate overnight (if you are pushed for time, you can still get a tasty result if you apply the marinade at the last minute).
  3. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit).
  4. Spread ribs evenly in a roasting tray & cover with foil. Cook for the first 90 minutes covered & remove foil for the final hour. The meat should be almost falling off the bone.
  5. While the ribs are hot, drain excess fat by tilting the pan (lamb ribs can be a little fatty- but that’s why they’re so good)!
  6. Serve hot with a simple green salad. Pairs really well with a hoppy cold beer!
  7. dsc_0722

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