We all love that moment when the Prime Rib roast comes out to the table to be carved. To any carnivore (and I suspect to many vegetarians) the sight of this holiday roast is enough to make your mouth water. To the uninitiated these roasts look like they would be hard to prepare. The fact is that they are among the easiest things to cook for any occasion. All you need is a roast (Bone in Rib Roast, Large or Small End – but small end is more tender), some salt and pepper and a little olive oil.
I learned a great technique for cooking these a few years ago from Alton Brown on the Food Network. (I used to LOVE his show and I really miss it). Most recipes tell you to salt and pepper the roast and then put it into an oven that is preheated to 450 – 500 degrees, dropping the temperature to 350 when you put the roast in. While this technique is fine, I’ve found that your roast will shrink dramatically due to fat loss. Fat is flavor and I’d rather not lose it and Alton’s technique works so much better that it is the only technique I use now.
Note in the picture above that the oven temperature is set to 220. I put the roast in the oven in the morning or early afternoon with the oven at 220 and I let it cook “low and slow” to an internal temperature of 140 degrees for medium rare. Cooking it this way gives the internal “tough bits” a lot longer to break down and it also brings the roast out of the oven at more or less the same size as when it goes in. Also, you don’t need to get the roast out of the oven before it comes up to temperature as the temp will only rise a degree or two after bringing it out. (all pieces of meat will continue to increase in temperature for a few minutes after you remove them from the heat – the hotter the heat source, the more this will happen).
Lastly, cook the rib as I have it in the picture above, with the bones on top. This protects the loin (lean) portion of the meat and causes the juices from around the bones to run down through the roast while it cooks.
A thermometer such as the one shown above is a handy tool. When you remove the roast from the oven let it cool before removing the probe (which I insert about an inch above the bones.)
To carve the roast, simply cut the bones off (together – and save them to make barbecue ribs, YUM!) and then slice the roast as you’ve seen a million times at buffets. Enjoy, and don’t tell your friends how easy this is.