Smoking lamb ribs

Times are tough. We all have to tighten our belts. Not everyone can afford a multi-million compound with a fire pool, a cattle kraal, a soccer field, a chicken run, and a tuck shop, and ten wives, and sixty-four children. (Unless, of course, you can get the gullible taxpayers to pay for it.)

I grew up in an age when smoking was healthy, and sex was safe.

We used to watch movies in cinemas filled with cigarette smoke. The flickering images that were projected had to penetrate thick blue clouds of billowing smoke hanging over the heads of the smoking moviegoers.

We smoked while watching movies of smoking actors and actresses who were advertising the joys of smoking. We watched movies of cowboys with smoking guns and Indians (not the Gupta variety – you can’t trust them) making smoke signals. Passive smokers became active members of the smoking community while watching movies.

Camel, Lexington, Marlboro, Stuyvesant, Chesterfield, Pall Mall – healthy tobaccos, all of them. Or so we were told.

Ushers and usherettes had to use handheld searchlights to find their way around the smog filled cinemas. I remember one incident where an usherette’s searchlight’s batteries gave out while she was directing moviegoers to their seats. A search team found her four days later. She was crawling around weakly on the cigarette-burnt carpets, still trying to find an EXIT sign in the dense, smoke-saturated, atmosphere.  

Sometimes, if you were lucky enough to find seating in the front row, you could actually see the screen, watch the movie, and follow the story. Most moviegoers just gave up and smoked while the movie was being screened. After the show was over, they would buy the book to see what the movie was all about.

People used to read a lot in those days…

Some kids started smoking because of peer pressure. I was fortunate. I never had my peers pressed – I started smoking because I frequently went to the movies and became addicted to the secondhand smoke. No pressure at all.

And sex was safe. Well, relatively safe anyway – unless you got caught at it. Then you would have had some problems. But at least we didn’t live like honeybees. Honey bees only sting once – and then die. Aids, the Great Leveler, didn’t exist in my halcyon days.

There were the drive-in theatres in those days.

People smoked at the drive-ins as well – mostly in the backseats of their cars. Some of them even got to see the movie. I wouldn’t know. I always went to the drive-in alone. And I sat in the front seat, so I could smoke in peace.

(It’s true, I tell you, Sakkie! Would I tell a lie?)

But enough of all the smoke and sex: Let me tell you about the lamb ribs.

Although I cannot afford my own compound, I can afford to buy lamb ribs. Ever since I was weaned, I loved roasted lamb ribs. There was a stage in my life when I was convinced that I could survive on roasted ribs and beer forever. Actually, I still do, although I’ve given up on the beer.

I firmly believe that roasted or braaid ribs are a sign from the Creator that He wants me to be happy on this Earth.

I’ve given up smoking, drinking, and swearing. But I’ll NEVER give up lamb ribs, or that other thing. (I can’t remember what it is right now, but not too worry, it will come to me.)

So, without further ado, let me share the recipe with you:

Slow Roasted Mediterranean Lamb Ribs

Lamb ribs are succulent and juicy when they are slowly cooked and then grilled on the braai. It’s best to cook them whole and then cut them in portions after they are cooked.


2 lamb ribs (about 1.2 kg), trimmed

5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp each of dried oregano, dried mint, dried rosemary

2 lemons, finely grated rind only

1 tsp chili flakes

175 ml olive oil


In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, dried herbs, and chili to a coarse paste. Add oil, stir to combine. Rub the mixture into the lamb ribs and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 150C. Place your ribs on a wire rack in a roasting pan, season to taste, cover with foil, and cook until tender (about 2 hours).

Remove from oven, and grill on the braai, turning once (3-5 minutes each side).

Cut into desired portions.

Serve with green salad and dry red wine. Or beer, or sherry, or Vodka, or whizzo.

After the meal, relax, and smoke a few cigarettes in the front seat of your car. It’s good for you…

PS     I’ve uploaded a photo of one of the lamb ribs I cooked last Saturday. Nice…