Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to Make the Perfect Prime Rib

Originally posted 11-16-11.

The holidays will soon be here and for some, that means cooking a Prime Rib.  We tend to be turkey eaters for Thanksgiving and this year will be having ham for Christmas.  But, I thought I'd share with you my recipe to make a wonderful prime rib roast, just in case it's on your menu.

First of all, we have been so blessed to have in our freezer grass-fed, locally raised beef.  Starting with a quality piece of meat makes all the difference in the world.  If you don't already have a prime rib roast in your freezer, call your local butcher to order one.  This is not a piece of meat I would feel comfortable getting at a grocery store.  Will you pay more from a butcher?  Probably.  But we have prime rib only once or twice a year, so I'd encourage you to splurge a little to make sure you get a good cut.

Prime Rib & Yorkshire Pudding

Have your butcher trim some of the excess fat, leaving a layer of fat to protect and baste your roast as it cooks.

When choosing a prime rib roast select at least a three rib bone portion. Anything smaller is less forgiving to cook. A three-rib roast will weigh about 7 to 8-1/2 pounds and feed about six people. Count on feeding two people per rib.
  • Allow your roast to come to room temperature prior to cooking.  This will ensure your roast cooks evenly.  Allow it to sit out for at least 30 minutes, but not more than 2 hours.
  • Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  • Pat roast dry with a paper towel.
  • Rub butter on the cut ends of the roast.
  • With a knife, cut 1/2" deep slits on the top and sides of your roast.  Sprinkle roast liberally with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, granulated garlic and onion powder.  Rub the seasonings all over the roast. 
  • Place the roast in a heavy metal roasting pan, fat-side up / bone-side down.
Preheat your oven to 450°.  No matter what size roast you have, you will start it in a pre-heated 450° oven for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 325° for the balance of cooking time. Cooking times will vary depending on size of the roast and desired level of doneness. The following chart gives approximate times for to reach "rare" at various sizes.

IMPORTANT:  Having a good meat thermometer is the only was you'll be able to tell if your roast has reached the desired temperature.

Cooking Time for Rare (120°)
(3) Ribs, 7 to 8 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours at 325°
(4) Ribs, 9 to 10 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 1 ½ to 2 hours at 325°
(5) Ribs, 11 to 13 lbs. 15 minutes at 450°, Then 2 to 2 ½ hours at 325°
(6) Ribs, 14 to 16 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 2 ¾ to 3 hours at 325°
(7) Ribs, 16 to 18 lbs. 15 minutes at 450° Then, 3 to 3 ¾ hours at 325°

Every half hour or so, baste the ends of the roast with the drippings. Begin checking the internal temperature of the meat about 30-45 minutes before the expected end of the roasting time. Make sure to insert it in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the fat or bone. When the internal temperature reaches 120°, pull it out of the oven and cover with foil. Let the roast sit for twenty to thirty minutes. It will continue to cook during this time, reaching a temperature of about 125° to 130°. This resting period allows the juices and flavors to permeate the roast and will raise the internal temperature by 5-10°.

Rare meats measure in at 120° to 125° with a bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior. Medium rare meats measure between 130° to 135° and are characterized by their extremely pink center portion that grows brown towards the exterior. Medium meats have a light pink center, brown outer portions and readings of about 140° to 145°. Medium well is not pink at all and is achieved at 150° to 155°. Well done is reached at 160° and above and is characterized by a uniform brown color.

The last prime rib I made for Tom's birthday was 140° when it came out of the oven.  It was absolutely perfect for us.  It was moist without sitting in a puddle of bl**d (which to me is just beyond icky).

You can do it!
Thanks to Prime Rib Steakhouses for much of this recipe and the picture!

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