Locally grown in North Dakota: Grilled Lamb Chops

I made my first ever lamb chops on Thanksgiving. It was local lamb. Yes in North Dakota, 50 miles northeast of me the lamb was raised and 40 miles from us it is processed. I cannot buy lamb at my meat counter in my grocery store. The only lamb I have found on the prairie for sale at any store was marked from New Zealand. Now New Zealand lamb would be awesome if I was in New Zealand or Australia or Tahiti. But New Zealand lamb in North Dakota seems like I am missing a lot of lamb raised closer to home.

I support buying food first raised in the United States, then in North America but for instance, bananas, coffee and chocolate I always assume are coming from far away places. And probably papayas and mangoes too. 

But the lamb is local, raised by my farmer friends Annie and John of Morning Joy Farm. I bought a lamb from them not because it was the cheapest or that I am a lover of lamb. I wanted to support farmers I know and have fresh meat in the freezer for the winter.

I have only had lamb prepared in restaurants, prior to last week. Making my lamb cooking debut on Thanksgiving was a bit nerve-wracking. I went to a chef for a recipe I had the opportunity to go on a farm tour with him and his wife in California and we have stay connected in social media. I have made several of his recipes before and they never fail. He’s a big deal. I expected his lamb chops to be a big deal too.
Ready to learn from him? You can use the marinade on any type of meat. 

 It’s Chef John of Food Wishes. If you don’t know him, you are about to because he does fabulous video blogging a few days a week with new recipes. Matter of fact, when I speak about social media I use Chef John as an example of the best video blogger in the world. 
8-10 lamb loin chops
1/2 cup plain yogurt
zest and juice from 1 large or 2 smaller lemons
1 rounded tablespoon ground hot chili sauce, like Sambal or Calabrian chilies
4 cloves garlic, crushed fine
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
*Marinate for 4 to 10 hours for best results
*Optional: season chops before grilling with salt and pepper to taste
I followed this recipe to the exact detail, except I doubled it to feed 16 people. 
Everything I now know about lamb chops came from watching this video multiple times. 
My husband grilled the chops and we pulled them off at the grill at 135F. They continued to cook and rise temperature as they sat to the USDA recommended temperature of 145F. For safe cooking tips on lamb, learn more here.

You might not always know your farmer. But knowing where your food comes from and finding ways to support all farmers is important, whether they are banana farmers, pinto bean farmers or lamb farmers. We support farmers at the grocery store. We support farmers by meeting them in a parking lot to pick up bags of frozen lamb like I did with Annie and John a few weeks ago.

No matter how you choose to purchase your food, think of the farmer behind the food. In this instance, it’s Annie, local lamb farmer. 

Do you purchase meat solely from your grocery store, a local butcher chop or also from local farmers?

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