Okay, need to archive this for future Christmas dinners, because it turned out pretty nicely. I’m stuff chock-a-block full of prime rib, which was done pretty well, but I am going to add a suggestion or two for next year that I can refer to in the future, and possibly make it even better.
I purchased a 7.5 pound prime rib from Costco, kind of at the last minute. What I should have done is buy it several days in advance, unwrap it, rub it with a dry rub of salt, pepper and rosemary and let it sit uncovered in the fridge for at least a day. I didn’t have time for that, so instead, I remembered to pull it out several hours in advance of cooking it. It is important that the meat come up to roughly room temperature before you cook it, otherwise the inside will remain raw even the outside is overdone. I rinsed it, dried it with paper towels, and then made a simple rub of salt and pepper, and rubbed it in.
Previously, I had cooked prime rib by searing it in a hot pan or oven, and then putting it in a low oven until it came up to 120 degrees or so. But I am always willing to try new methods.
The Food Lab’s definitive guide to prime rib is well worth reading, and formed the basis of what I tried tonight.
Skipping a lot of what they prescribed, the basic idea is to start the cooking in a very low oven: I set mine for a mere two hundred degrees Fahrenheit. This low temperature allows the meat to cook evenly, until the center comes up to 120 degrees. If you are going to spend money on a prime rib, get a digital thermometer and use it. It took about three hours for this roast to reach 118, which I deemed okay. Next time, I’ll probably let it go another five degrees. While the meat was not “blue” (raw), it was a little more rare than Carmen likes it, and I could have tolerated a little warmer inside without affecting the taste or texture. You then pull the roast out, and tent it with foil, while you let the oven heat up to as hot as it can go (500 degrees plus), which should take 20-30 minutes. Then, a simple eight or nine minutes in the oven will crisp up the outside, making a nice salty crust that is one of the great parts of a prime rib.
The good news about this is that no part of the prime rib turns out overcooked and gray. Check out this picture (not mine):
This roast was cooked in a hot oven, so by the time the meat next to the bone got cooked, the top was overdone and dry.
My roast tonight? Delicious. Beautifully even in color from center to edge, and full of juiciness. Next time, I might let it go a few more minutes to get the center just a tiny bit warmer (I was impatient), and I might also let the “crustifying” phase run a bit more, but the texture and doneness were very good. Letting the roast dry age with a dry rub in the fridge for a couple of days would likely intensify the meat flavor and make it better too.
Sides? A simple lettuce and cherry tomato salad with lemon vinaigrette, and some mashed russet potatoes with butter. Yum.
And the best part, this meal will keep on giving. Tomorrow, it will get sliced and made into French Dip sandwiches on toasted rolls, and the bones will get roasted again and turned into beef stock for some future stroganoff.
Merry Christmas to all. You are in my thoughts.