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Prime Standing Rib Roast

Is there anything more truly beautiful than a perfect prime rib? A deep brown crust crackling with salt and fat, sliced open to reveal a juicy pink center that extends from edge to edge, the faint but distinct funk of dry-aging permeating the room as it gets sliced.

 

Grading

Let's get the confusing part out of the way first. Is Prime rib a prime grade?

The term "Prime Rib" has existed longer than the USDA's beef grading system, which classifies beef according to its potential tenderness and juiciness into various grades. It's called Prime Rib because it's the best part of a given cow. After the USDA began introducing its labeling system denoting quality of beef and included the label "prime" as the highest quality, things became a little confusing.

These days, it's possible to buy a "Prime Rib" that is also "Prime Grade," but it doesn't necessarily have to be so. My local Whole Foods sells "Choice Grade Prime Ribs," for example.

To-Table offers both Choice and prime grade for Standing Rib Roasts. The prime grade is full of the marbling. Choice is leaner and yet still very flavorful.

Aging

The Food Lab had a panel of tasters test meat aged to various degrees and rank them in overall preference, tenderness, and funkiness. Almost everybody who tasted meat that's been aged for a couple of weeks—the period after which some degree of tenderization has occurred but seriously funky flavor has yet to develop—preferred it to completely fresh meat.

 

Recipes

#1

Food Network, Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Ingredients


2 heads roasted garlic
3 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 standing rib roast of beef (about 6 1/2 pounds), fat trimmed in 1 strip and reserved
1 1/2 cups red wine, plus 1 more cup if making au jus, optional
1/2 cup beef stock, plus 2 more cups if making au jus, optional

Directions


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Separate the heads of roasted garlic into cloves and squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peels. Place the garlic in a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork until mostly smooth. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the rosemary and thyme, and stir to blend. Pat this mixture evenly over the top and sides of the roast. Place the trimmed strip of fat over the garlic-herb mixture and tie with kitchen string in several places to secure the fat onto the top of the roast.
Season the roast all over with the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Place the roast in a roasting pan and add 1 1/2 cups red wine and 1/2 cup beef stock to the bottom of the pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and continue to roast to the desired degree of doneness, about 18 minutes per pound for rare and 22 minutes per pound for medium. Let stand at least 5 minutes before carving. De-fat the pan juices and serve alongside the beef.
If making au jus, place the roasting pan on the stove burners over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup red wine and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add 2 cups beef stock and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the solids before serving. De-grease, if necessary.


#2

This roasting method is an adaptation of the classic English approach, and who can argue with the Brits when it comes to roasting a joint of beef? This roast is cooked to medium rare; it comes out of the oven at 120? and reaches 130? to 135? as it rests before carving. If you like your meat cooked to medium, roast it to 130?.

Food and Wine, 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 5-rib 12- to 13-pound prime rib roast

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small bowl, mix the mustard with the garlic, thyme, pepper and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Set the meat, bone side down, in a roasting pan and season it lightly with salt. Roast the meat in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the meat from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°. Brush the mustard coating all over the top and sides of the meat and roast for about 1 1/2 hours longer, rotating the roasting pan 2 or 3 times for even browning. The meat is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast at the thickest part registers 120° (for medium rare). Transfer the roast to a carving board, cover it loosely with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Set the roast on its side and run a long, sharp knife between the bones and meat; remove the bones and set them aside. Turn the roast right side up. Carve the roast 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and transfer the slices to warmed plates. Pour any carving juices over the meat and serve at once. For bone-gnawing carnivores, cut down between the rib bones and pass them on a plate.

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