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Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Prime Rib Roast or New York Strip

Please read this recipe two weeks ahead. If dry aging you need to plan for the time it takes. Order you meat ahead of time so you have time to shop for a good price. Prime rib roast is available from grocery stores during the holiday season at a discounted price. The rib roast is available with or without bones.  When this roast has the bones in it is called standing rib roast.  Because the meat is always sweetest near the bone it is the preferred roast for prime rib.  Prime rib is an absolute favorite at my house for Christmas.  Prime rib is so good it needs very nothing more than salt-and-pepper and the right treatment.  The recipe is practically foolproof unless you plan to play a simultaneous round of golf or decide that this is a good time to finish off several bottles of wine. The New York Strip roast also is very tasty and is prepared essentially the same way.

Snakeriverfarms NY Strip Roast

A full rib roast  consisting of ribs 6 through 12 is often cut and sold as two separate roasts known as the first cut (small end) rib roast and the second cut (large end) rib roast. The small end rib roast includes ribs 9 or 10 through 12, which is next to the loin. The large end rib roast includes ribs 6 through 8 or 9 and is next to the chuck. The large end is very tender but its proximity to the chuck means that it is slightly less desirable than a first cut rib roast. A four rib roast should feed between 6 to 8 people on average. Each rib is approximately 2 pounds after trimming by the butcher. 

The words "Prime Rib" simply refers to a rib roast not that is graded "USDA Prime". Prime grade rib roast is rarely available to the generally public unless it is specially ordered. Most rib roasts sold in food stores are graded “Select". The next better grade is referred to as “Choice”.
Snakeriver Farms Standing Rib Roast
Wet Aged or Dry Aged, USDA Prime, Choice or Select Grades
 Dry aged beef is the best and available only through special order. Dry aging causes the beef to loose some of its weight while the meat flavor intensifies and is more beefy. Wet age beef is vacuum packed in plastic hence it is incapable of losing any of its weight to liquid loss.  Wet aging is inferior to dry aging but less expensive. USDA beef graded “Prime” is top quality and represents only about 2% of all the beef that is sold. Prime has the most marbling, which makes it the most flavorful and tender. USDA Prime Dry age prime rib is about $35 per pound. USDA Choice wet age prime rib is about $12 per pound and is still an excellent and tasty grade of beef. The typical grade found in most food markets is graded USDA Select which is much less costly than Prime and Choice but will not be nearly as flavorful or tender and is about $7 to 9 per pound but may be much less on sale during the holidays.

While some markets will hang your roast to dry age for free, many do not have the facility to do so. You can dry age your roast yourself for a 2 to 5 days uncovered in the refrigerator to bring out additional flavor and produce a more buttery texture. This allows the natural enzymes in the meat to break down some of protein and connective tissues in the meat. Trim off any dry spots before cooking.

The Slow-Cooking Method is the only one used here because it produces the best results. In the slow cooking method, the meat is seared at high temperature, then subsequently roasted at low temperature until its internal temperature reaches the degree of doneness.  When any cooked roast is removed from the oven, its internal temperature will rise.  For this reason, the roast is always removed at a temperature lower than the desired final target temperature.  The higher the oven’s roasting temperature, the greater this residual temperature rise will be. During the slow cooking method, the roasting temperature is only 220 F and the residual temperature rise is typically only five degrees.  (A roast cooked at 450 F may rise 25 F after removed from oven and it would be well done on the outside even if the inside were rare) The oven is initially preheated to 450°F for an initial searing of the roast. If you dry age your roast for a few days in the refrigerator, this initial high heat will ensure any surface bacteria is killed. 

Remove the roast from the refrigerator 2 hours ahead to allow it to come to room temperature. Pat it dry with paper towels and cover with plastic wrap. Adjust shelves in oven. Roast will go on lowest shelf. It is best to remove the upper oven shelf to get out of the way unless it will be needed for other purpose.

Remove plastic wrap from roast, pat it dry again, and rub with ample salt. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the roast in an oiled roasting pan, rib side down and fat side up, and insert a meat thermometer in the geometric center of the roast but insure it does not touch a bone. Roast on high for 15 minutes. Open oven door for a few minutes to dump excess heat. Reset the oven temperature to 220 F. Now roast 25 to 30 minutes per pound, depending on the size of the roast until the meat reaches 5 below the desired internal temperature. I like the meat medium rare (130-135 F). The outer pieces of the roast will be more done than the inner pieces just in case are some diehard holdouts that do not eat rare roast beef.  Let the roast rest for 20 to 25 minutes before carving. Pepper the roast.

Anything this good deserves the finest freshly prepared horseradish sauce and an excellent wine.

  1. The roast is done when the internal temperature of the roast reaches the target temperature minus 5 degrees.
  2. Some stores will dry age your beef for free if you prepay in advance. Ask.
  3. Roast go on sale before big holidays and may be many dollars per pound discounted.
  4. I let my guest pre-mix their own horseradish sauce by purchasing a hot grind and providing a premium sour cream such as Organic Valley or make your own cream fraiche.
  5. Suggested wines: Old vine Petite Syrah, Claret, Burgandy, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel. Choose a bold fruit forward version with strong tannins.