Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prime Rib

When I go to a steak house, I almost always order the prime rib. It's thick and tender and just all around delicious.  When I think of prime rib I have an almost primal, Pavlovian response. It's a powerful cut of meat.

Filet's are petite, refined and dainty. A ladies cut. Sirloins and New York Strips are hearty men's fare. Then there is Prime Rib. It's served like a steak and looks like a steak but it's cut from a roast and an oven. It's marbled and covered by a layer of thick, gelatinous fat.  It's served with stain-your-shirt au jus and spicy horseradish. Before it's even cut into, it's almost vulgarly pink. It's wild and messy and intimidating and rich and juicy and utterly amazing. Prime Rib defies and defines exactly what a steak really is.

Until recently I had only ever had prime rib out, at restaurants. While at the market the other day I noticed they had small sections of prime rib roast on sale and there was no way I was walking away without one.
I choose a small 3 lb roast, since it's only my husband and I at home.  I got online and read a dozen different "recipes" for prime rib but they all studded the roast with garlic or onions, spiced it with pungent herbs or baked it too fast at too high heat. I knew none of those would do so I consulted the appendix of a few different cookbooks which gave me a pretty narrow field of cooking times and temperatures. I choose 350 degrees for 25 minutes a pound, and decided to season it with sea salt, coarsely ground pepper and just a few grinds from my steak seasoning grinder.
I wanted my roast rare to medium-rare (which is the only way to eat prime rib) so I knew the meat thermometer should read 120 degrees when it came out of the oven. When I did actually take my 3 lb roast out of the oven 75 minutes after I put it in, the thermometer read 121 degrees, so close to perfect I wouldn't change a thing. The seasoning ended up being just the right amount, nothing to detract from the natural flavor of the beef.
The "recipe" below is exactly how I prepared mine, au jus and all. Now you don't have to wait for a special night out to have perfect prime rib.

  • Don't use a lot of strong or pungent herbs or seasonings when preparing prime rib. They over-power the meat that you just paid so much for!
  • Don't trim off too much fat before baking the roast. The fat helps provide flavor and lock moisture into the meat. Trim it when ready to serve.
  • I find beef consomme closer in flavor to au jus that you find in a steak house than regular beef broth, though it can be substituted if needed.

Prime Rib

3-6 lb Prime Rib Roast,  tied with butcher's twine
Steak seasoning, if desired

Season all sides of Prime Rib with salt, pepper and steak seasoning if using. Place prime rib in a roaster or high sided pan and bake at 350 for 25 mins a lb (a 3 lb roast will cook for 75 mins a 6 lb roast for 2 and a half hours, etc). Remove from oven and tent loosely with foil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Remove butchers twine. Slice meat fairly thick and serve with au jus if desired (directions below).

Au Jus

Pan drippings from Prime Rib Roast
1 10oz can Beef Consomme

Pour pan drippings into a medium saucepan and add beef consomme.  Bring to a low boil. Serve warm.


Kristy said...

If my hubby was reading this post he would be drooling! He always orders this when we eat out, never knew Au Jus sauce was so simple! Thanks for sharing!!

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