Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Best and Most Perfect Prime Rib that you will ever make!

For our Christmas Eve Dinner, this year, I took a detour from our more traditional German menu. At first, a few of my family members were disappointed-- until I said I was going to make Prime Rib.  It's pretty unanimous that Prime Rib is something my entire family loves to eat.  My husband-- not so much. He says that Prime Rib has a "rubbery texture".

Okay. I'll bite. I've made the mistake of ordering a Prime Rib Dinner at a restaurant that doesn't specialize in this expensive cut of beef. I agree. I've had some less-than-stellar prime rib that's tough and chewy.. 

There's a restaurant that is located not too far from our home. They make a Prime Rib dinner that costs $35.00-- not including a good bottle of wine, tax and tip.  I find myself craving this dinner every few months. It's Prime Rib perfection-- just the way I love it.  I like mine medium, please and thank you. I don't want all kinds of herbs and heavy doses of garlic. This place uses only salt & pepper...  and they aren't shy with the salted crust. O.M.G.  The crust is crunchy, and perfectly seasoned.  It's a dinner ecstasy, that only a Prime Rib lover can understand.

Making your own prime rib at home can be a little bit scary.  I say this, because it's an expensive cut of meat. Granted, it's not quite as expensive to buy as a quality grass-fed Filet Mignon.  Today's prices for a prime rib runs at about $16.00 per pound, and up.  This 3-rib Prime Rib roast cost about $80.00. I would hate to ruin this beautiful roast by overcooking it!

A few years ago, I tried the method of roasting a Prime Rib at very high heat, and then shutting off the oven.  It was a dismal fail, even though I didn't open up the oven for anything in the world. It was raw.  So dinner was delayed, and side dishes kept warm.  All turned out okay, but I wanted to see what other methods there were.

America's Test Kitchen came through with their version of "The Best Prime Rib".  This method is a bit different, in that we cut off the bone, and set it aside.

The fat cap is scored and two tablespoons of coarse salted is rubbed in.  The roast is set right back, on top of the bones, and then set into the refrigerator to dry age for at least one day-- up to four days. (Here, I've tied the roast together to dry- age, but that step isn't necessary.  I **ahem** didn't read the directions right.)

Nighty, night. See you tomorrow.

It's five hours before dinner should be ready.  I have removed the roast, and let it come to room temperature for a couple of hours.  The bones are set aside, and I have set a 12" skillet to high, with a bit of vegetable oil. Yes, we are going to sear!

The roast is seared, starting with fat side down, and all the way around-- with the exception of the bottom half that will be laid on top of the bones again.

Alrighty then... the roast is on top of the bones and I've tied them together (very easy to do, by the way...just slip the cooking twine underneath the bones and roast, and slide under-- kinda like flossing!) Add pepper, set atop a wire rack that is fitted on top a rimmed baking sheet-- and get ready to slip this into a 250F pre-heated oven.

NOTE: Can you add fresh herbs, olive oil and garlic? Yes, I suppose you could. See my TASTING NOTES at the end of this post for more info.

What method has America's Test Kitchen come up with and why? Here are their own words:

Why this recipe works:

The perfect prime rib should have a deep-colored, substantial crust encasing a tender, juicy rosy-pink center. To achieve this perfect roast, we started by salting the roast overnight. The salt enhanced the beefy flavor while dissolving some of the proteins, yielding a buttery-tender roast. To further enhance tenderness, we cooked the roast at a very low temperature, which allowed the meat's enzymes to act as natural tenderizers, breaking down its tough connective tissue. A brief stint under the broiler before serving ensured a crisp, flavorful crust.
If you don't own a reliable meat thermometer, I can assure that it's an investment that you will not regret.  I bought a Thermapen a few years ago ($96.00) and it has become my most dependable friend in the kitchen.  I can trust the internal temperature, which shows up faster than you can blink your eye!   Ideally, a thermometer that has a probe would have given me even more assurance that I wouldn't overcook the roast. But, mine had recently broken and I had ordered a new one...that hadn't arrived yet.

The goal was to slowly roast the prime rib until it reached an internal temperature of 110F.  Because I had to use my Thermapen, I removed the roast from the oven and quickly shut the door.  The roast was at 112F.  Whew!

Turn off the oven, and let this continue to cook-- obviously-- don't open the oven door!

4-1/2 hours later, my family had already arrived, and there was a lot of activity and lively conversation going on. I removed the roast and my thermapen registered as 127F.  I say a silent prayer of gratitude, and set the prime rib on a carving board to rest for 30 minutes, covered with foil-- while I finish up the Creamed Spinach with a crunchy Panko Herb Topping (recipe to come)...

 ...and the Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes. My 60-Minute Dinner Rolls are popped into the now vacant the oven...

Right before it's time to carve the Prime Rib, the broiler is turned on and I pop the roast underneath the broiler for about 3 minutes.  It comes out sizzling and crunchy... there are ooh's and ahhhhhh's  as I set the roast out to be carved. (I thought this was a brilliant step from ATK.  Of course the crust had softened, from the steam as the meat was covered with foil.) Broiling the outside, again, crisped it right up! As I cut off the twine, and removed the bone, I have to give props that carving is now a cinch. I don't have to deal with cutting the bone it's already been done!

Please forgive the overexposed photos. It's dark outside, and I don't have the room (nor extra time) to set up my props to bounce light...etc.  

All I can say is "yes, yes, yes!!!"   This is cooked exactly the way the majority of my guests love (save one, who quickly claims an end cut).

I am beaming with joy and gratitude that this recipe really works-- and I wouldn't expect less from America's Test Kitchen.

There were seven of us, and this large chunk of prime rib (leftover) was quickly hidden out of view. What? Believe me, everyone had plenty of food on their plate!  This, my friends, was destined for Prime Rib sandwiches, the following day.

I had a lovely white platter that I served the Prime Rib slices on my festively decorated dinner table.  As always, there was just to much excitement and activity going on-- that I just couldn't take photos of our plated dinner-- other than these.  But you get the idea.

TASTING NOTES:  Be sure that you buy a prime-grade beef, with an untrimmed fat cap (if possible). I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good meat thermometer, so you don't have to fret or guess if the meat is cooked enough-- let alone, overcooked!  If you follow these steps, exactly, you will end up with a tender slice of Prime Rib that is moist and perfectly seasoned.  Oh! My husband... he said it was tender and delicious and not at all rubbery! That's a great endorsement, if I ever heard one.
The only "downside" to this method, is that I didn't get lot of juices to make my own au jus.  Somehow, I managed to deglaze the pan to scrape off just a little bit of fond-- not much-- and using a quality beef stock, I got just a little bit of au jus.

ONE MORE NOTE: The bones-- they aren't roasted enough to gnaw on. All is not wasted. I'll be roasting these to make some beef stock.  Nothing went to waste. Win!

I've had Prime Rib that has been slow-roasted with rosemary, thyme and garlic. It's quite good. But, personally, I prefer to allow salt & pepper to be my only seasoning so that the prime rib is the star of this show. Your choice.

This method will remain my "go to" recipe for making Prime Rib.  In a way, this method is very similar to one of my most viewed recipes for "Slow Roasted Beef"-- which also comes from the fine folks of America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated.

I feel so blessed to be able to treat my family to a dinner like this. They appreciated every single bite. Christmas Eve, at our home, was a totally success!

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The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

The only time I ever made a rib roast I used the method of cooking it long and slow and then blasting it at the end. It could not have been more perfect. You are giving me such a craving now.

bellini said...

you have me craving some yorkshire pudding, whipped potatoes and gravy with some tender prime cut.

Joanne said...

Prime rib has definitely traditionally been a popular Christmas dinner item also!! Looks like you cooked it to perfection!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Oh Deb, This was truely a feast for my eyes! You cooked it perfectly and it looks and sounds amazing.I haven't cooked one in years because I'm stressed I will over or undercook it.I'll take your word on this one for sure!