For meat eaters (like me) nothing beats a perfectly cooked roast beef, especially around the holidays. While various cuts of beef can be successfully roasted, the granddaddy of beef roasts is the rib roast. Often referred to as prime rib or standing rib roast, any grade of beef rib roast can technically be referred to as a prime rib according to the USDA.
The secret to a perfect rib roast is to look for one that is at least 5-6 pounds. The larger the roast, the easier it is to cook. Don’t be afraid to buy one larger than what you need. There are limitless ways to use the leftovers and with a little planning your purchase of a rib roast can actually turn out to be an economical cut of meat. A meat thermometer is the only piece of special equipment you’ll need if you want to make sure your roast is cooked to your liking.
If possible ask your butcher to cut a rib roast to order. You want a two or three rib roast that weighs in at a minimum of 5-6 pounds from the small end (the large end is closer to the chuck and not quite as tender or meaty). A roast of this size will feed 4-6 people generously with leftovers. A roast with the bone in will be easier to cook and create better pan juices for gravy than a boneless rib roast. It’s not difficult to carve a bone-in roast and those rib bones are so very good to chew on.
When you get your roast home, if not cooking right away, remove all of the wrapping, place on a rack in a shallow pan and place in the coldest spot in your refrigerator uncovered for up to 5 days. Beef roasts stored in this fashion receive a little bit of dry aging, something you pay for dearly in a good steakhouse. See my earlier post on dry aging beef if you want to do some serious home aging on your beef roast.
When ready to cook, remove from the refrigerator about an hour before you will be putting it in the oven. Rub all over with a highly seasoned rub. I like to tie my roast in two or three places as shown to help the roast maintain a picture perfect shape. Place the roast in a shallow roasting pan bone side down. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and continue to roast without basting for about
20 -25 minutes per pound or until your meat thermometer reaches 130 degrees for a medium rare roast or 140 degrees for medium).
Remove the roast from the oven when the thermometer reaches the desired level of doneness, place the roast on a large platter to rest for 20 minutes uncovered while you make the pan sauce (the “jus” in au jus). To carve, follow the shape of the bone with a sharp carving knife to release the meat from the bones. Carving the roast into slices from this point is a snap.
That is all there is to it…buy a good quality roast that’s at least 5-6 pounds, use a highly seasoned dry rub to season the outside and use a meat thermometer. Your roast will be a hit and with any luck you’ll have leftovers for roast beef sandwiches, roast beef hash, Caesar salad with roast beef and my favorite, prime rib chili.
A 5-6 pound bone-in rib roast cut from the small end
2 large cloves garlic, mashed
2-3 tsp coarse salt (or your favorite seasoned salt mix)
1 tsp freshly ground coarse black pepper
½ tsp brown sugar (helps browning and makes a tastier crust)
1 tsp soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp dry herbs of your choice (thyme is my choice for this)
Tie the roast in 2 places with kitchen twine. Make a paste of the seasonings and rub all over the roast, including the underside and the bones.
Place bone side down in a shallow roasting pan and put into a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and continue to roast about 20 a pound or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the roast reads 130 degrees for medium rare or 140 for medium.
Remove from the oven, place the roast uncovered on a large platter and let rest for 20 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast will continue to rise about 10 degrees during this time.
While the roast is resting pour off the excess fat from the roasting pan and add 1 cup of broth or a mixture of broth and red wine. Place on top of the stove, bring to a boil and scrape any brown bits into the sauce. Strain and keep warm while carving the roast. Serve the jus over slices of the prime rib
Serves 4-6 generously with plenty of leftovers