Herb lamb chops grilled over an open fire pit


Herb lamb chops grilled over an open fire pit
The summer in southern Italy can be brutally hot, scorching. During the height of this time usually mid August Italians usually head one of three places, their basement (not nessessarily glamorous), the vast and numerous beaches (which are often crowded and also very hot) or they head to the mountains where they seek shade and cooler temperatures.
If you choose the mountains you have made a wise choice. Cool temperatures, surprisingly scenic outdoors, wild flowers, berries and wildlife are abundant; pack your basket full of the essentials, wine, cheese, something to grill, wood, and of course some friends.
What to grill, we like lamb, and a nice bottle or three of fine Italian red wine.

5 pounds of cut lamb chops

4 tablespoons fresh basil

4 tablespoons fresh rosemary

4 tablespoons fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic (chopped)

4 teaspoons of salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 bottles of Italian red wine (each a different varietal)

4-5 dry wood logs


Without a doubt the most difficult part of this recipe is cooking over an open fire pit. If for no other reason than it is something we are not accustomed to doing on a regular basis. The idea here is to start the fire naturally and use the hot white coals to cook the meat. 

First step take herbs and oil plus salt and pepper and combine, then place on a flat plate, coat each chop in herb mixture then set in container and cover with plastic wrap. Place in cooler with ice to keep it cool until you arrive at the mountains. 

As soon as you arrive at your chosen mountain spot, usually a protected park area that allow camping and picnicking and is fairly lax with its rules and regulations, you will find there are virtually no park rangers or any type of supervision especially in southern Italy, find some large stones and clear a dry sandy area for a fire pit, make sure it is not close to a building or a dry tree or especially not close to pine trees as they light up like gasoline. Clear an area about 3 times as large as the size of the pit you will form with rocks (9ft). Form a circle at the center of the cleared area (3ft), then place rocks in that circle. Start fire with small dry pine needles, broken dry branches and small kindling wood, then place a tripod of larger logs on top, meanwhile keep feeding the fire with small sticks and branches. When the big logs catch, let them burn for about 40 minutes then add 3 large logs, when you see 2-3 shovel size portions of white hot coals at the bottom remove the wood that is not white hot and push to side. Then place chops on a grill top about 8 inches above the coals. let cook 4 minutes then flip. 

They are ready to eat!

Hopefully at some point prior to this you opened a bottle of wine. If you have not, open one right now!

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