Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Prime Rib Roast, Part One

I like to astound, mystify and generally amaze people by my casualness about cooking a Prime Rib Roast. (Y'all know I'm kidding, right?)    So many people get totally intimidated by this cut of meat and while I can somewhat sympathize, I don't really understand it totally.   If anything, this is one of the easiest cuts of meat to cook.   The problem lies in the fact that it's really pretty pricey and that is scary in and of itself.    But if you find it on sale, and try to cook one, I think you would be surprised at how easy it is.
Prime Rib ready for the oven
Roast resting on some celery stalks and with mushrooms nestled beside it.

I've been making them for many years, and had a blast cooking these roasts when we were out camping in the wilds, away from civilization, (we didn't even have electricity or running water), just an RV with a large oven.   I insisted on the large oven when we bought our Motorhome and have never regretted it.  However,  I digress, or got sidetracked or ...

If you've ever cooked a roast, you can make a Prime Rib Roast, it really is that simple.   
I still don't know if I was fearless or stupid or ...  but the first time I cooked a Prime Rib Roast I cooked a 16 pound one.   And guess what?   It was fine.  In fact it was downright good.   And what made it even better, we ate it while we were camping out in the woods.   Just something about cutting into a big old hunk of meat, way out in the backwoods.  (sorry to any vegetarians who are reading this).    It was primitive and good, or is that good and primitive?    And it also made quite an impression on my fellow campers.    And when a local store happened to have a killer sale on the roasts a while later, I did it again,only this time I cooked two of those roasts, again while camping.   In fact for years, that's the only time I made Rib Roasts.  While we were camping.   And then watched everyone fighting over the rib bones that were left.    I'm not talkin' about the dogs either, sigh, what grown men will do when faced with something like a big ol' meaty bone.   Gets that primitive streak going, I tell ya.

At any rate, over the years I've refined and refined my technique and I think I finally have it almost perfect, at least til the next time when I make it a little different   tweak it some more.  

There are a few basic rules that I always follow.

1) Pick the most appetizing piece of meat that you can, if the butcher is impatient with you, tough, it's your money.   I don't like a ridge of fat running through the middle of the roast, and have rejected a lot like that.   For my taste, it makes the meat too greasy.   Take a look at both ends of the roast.   And my own personal preference, I don't like the meat cut from the bone.  (unlike the picture above, it was the best looking roast I could find that day)  While it may make the meat easy to carve, it also loses a lot of juice and I don't think the meat is as tender. 

2) Take it out of the fridge for at least 2 (two) hours before cooking, to warm up a little, it cooks so much more evenly. 

3) I forgive myself if it isn't perfect.  Life happens.

4)  I use my meat thermometer!  This is really, really important.  If you have one of the wired kind, like a Polder, great.  I monitor the roast constantly, I watch the temperature, and in the past adjusted the oven temp all the time.   But not any more, I finally got one of  the best, most perfectly cooked roasts  this week.  (and wouldn't you know it, I forgot to take a picture of it after it came out of the oven, sometimes I really tick myself off.)

5) Make sure you buy a roast that's big enough.    I usually figure on 1.5 lbs per person.  YUP, 1 1/2 lbs per person.    That is, if you're cooking a roast with ribs.  The rule of thumb for most people is that you get two servings of meat per rib.   So if you have a 4 rib roast, you have 8 servings of meat.  You can Google all the sites you like and they'll pretty much tell you the same thing.   But, they just don't know my family.   Some of the members like the " OH MY GAWD" cut, which is a little bit larger than life.   Trust me, I've seen them consume it and look for more later.   My BIL could make a decent dent in a roast, as does my DH.   I made a two rib roast the other day, and didn't have much left over.    I like having leftovers, so I will cook a roast just a little bit bigger than I think I need.   But I don't always get them.   

Since this post is getting a little long, I'll close for now and detail how to make the perfect roast tomorrow.   Or how I made it this last time.  

Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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