While OS X Lion automatically creates a recovery partition on your existing hard drive, many people have correctly pointed out that this does you no good if the hard drive itself fails. While many third-party solutions for creating a Lion recovery disk on an external drive have sprouted up over the past few weeks, there's now an official solution from Apple: Lion Recovery Disk Assistant.
According to Apple, "Lion Recovery Disk Assistant lets you create Lion Recovery on an external drive that has all of the same capabilities as the built-in Lion Recovery: reinstall Lion, repair the disk using Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup, or browse the web with Safari."
The program will walk you through the process of creating a recovery disk on an external USB drive. The assistant notes that the external disk will be erased in the process of creating a recovery disk, however, so if you were hoping to use this solution to create a recovery disk on a drive that's already loaded with other information, you might want to explore other options or find a dedicated drive that you can use instead.
Lion Recovery Disk Assistant is just over 1 megabyte and available for download now.