QUESTION OF THE DAY

If you can help reader Restaurant Guy please leave him a message in the blog.

Hi Self,

I am trying to figure out how to make home-cooked Prime Rib for my mom’s birthday party this weekend. I have enjoyed it at local restaurants, for example Tee-Off, and don’t know what the formula is to make it so tasty and tender. I have heard that you need to cook for at least 3 hours, and start off hotter, then turn down the temperature somewhat for the long haul. I also have no clue as to what seasonings to use. What’s the secret to serving amazing Prime Rib?

Sincerely,
The Restaurant Guy

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22 Responses to QUESTION OF THE DAY

  1. Christine says:

    Check Chowhound for write ups by “Fourunder”. Very technical but great write ups. He’s done different ones over the years for different methods and sizes of roasts. If the party is this weekend you still have time to dry age the roast in your fridge for a few days prior to cooking, depending on the size of the roast. I’ve done the high-heat blast with long low and slow roasting and I think it’s the best. Only seasoning is fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, kosher salt (lots) and pepper in olive oil so it’s a paste. Good luck and have fun!

  2. David W says:

    I’m not a huge fan of her cooking, but Paula Dean’s recipe for prime rib is great. Turns out an excellent medium rare.

  3. Rocky says:

    Talk to Steve or Mike at Country Meat Market. Bone in is
    better than boned. Sharpen your knife.

  4. mike guthrie says:

    Start with Prime cut beef more money, but you will notice the difference. Salt the roast at least 24 hours ahead. Cut bone off roast retie bone on to the roast. Removing bone before cooking allows you to cut roast after cooking at any desired thickness. Before roasting either torch the outside or grill roast to brown the outside. I cook the roast for approx. 15 hours at 130 degrees ( remove roast at 115 degrees) The roast will be med rare across the roast, no gray meat anywhere. I have used this method and have always had success. Please remember the gravy your mother must love gravy.

    • Christine says:

      15 hours is a long time. How many bones in your roast? What if someone is doing a two or three bone roast? I think 15 hours would be way too long for those. Could you instead specify cooking time per pound?

      • Doug F says:

        Just keep checking with a meat thermometer until it’s done, and after the first try you’ll know the cooking time. Just don’t skip the step about browning the outside first.

  5. RexOfSB says:

    I hate to sound like an infomercial, but the best prime rib I have ever eaten was cooked in my Showtime rotisserie oven (“just set it and forget it.”) I rub the roast (bones in) with kosher salt, coarsely ground pepper and thyme, then do what they do in England and smear bacon grease over the whole roast. It then cooks in the rotisserie for 18-20 minutes per pound, and the finished product is tender, delicious, and cooked exactly right.

  6. John Dickson says:

    Thanks for all the great advice & info, I really appreciate it.

  7. Gerald Bostock says:

    I agree with talking to someone, it will give you
    confidence. Bone-in is the way to go, in my opinion; no need to cut
    out & re-tie. I always review and combine recipes and ideas
    too. Alton Brown is another go-to for good basics: Use a probe
    thermometer. Remember carry-over (resting) heat. You can slow roast
    and blast at the end to get a crust, instead of the beginning. If
    you have any problems or doubts, be sure you undercook rather than
    overcook! Rare 120°-127° Medium Rare 128°-135° Medium 136°-145°
    Toast 146° and up Scroll to Scenes 10 and 11, cooking method and
    pan sauce:
    http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season5/Roast/RoastTranscript.htm

  8. Bob says:

    And most importantly, let us all know how it goes.

  9. SL says:

    Slow roast at 200f or closest to that your oven can go and blast under the broiler after resting is the way to go. Removing and then tying with butchers twine while not totally necessary does makes things quick and easy when you are ready for service (ask the butcher to do it for you). The roast doesn’t need to be seasoned with anything other than salt and pepper. If you are using a nice piece of prime beef it will no doubt be awesome.

    it should only take 3-4 hours to cook to medium rare, use a thermometer! Ignore the 15 hour cook time advice unless you want to get your guests sick. Holding meat at such low temps for that long is exactly the environment the bacteria needs to thrive.

  10. Doug F says:

    Here’s a summary of all the recipes/tips listed in the above comments:

    • Low and Slow is the way to go.

    No matter how you cook it, the majority of cooking time should be done at a temperature as close to the final desired temp as you’re willing to go. Ie. if you want the roast at an internal temp of 130º (mid-rare), you could cook it like Mike does and wait a long time for a hardcore juicy roast. that’s pretty awesome, but you can still cook a very nice roast at 200º or even 250º. I wouldn’t go any higher than that unless you’re really pressed for time.

    • Brown the outside.

    It seems half of these people recommend searing the roast with extra high heat _before_ cooking, and the other half recommend doing it _afterwards_. Either way, it’s absolutely necessary, otherwise the outside of the finished product will look raw and fatty (plus you get all that extra flavor from the browning of the meat).

    I would recommend browning the entire outside of the roast _before_ putting it in the oven for two reasons (perhaps more, but of these two I’m certain): 1) it’s pretty rare that there would be harmful bacteria inside the roast, but it might not be too uncommon for some to find it’s way to the exterior. browning the roast first at a high temperature insures that you kill all that bacteria, and makes a roasting technique like Mike’s (which, yes, falls right in the temperature zone that bacteria love to reproduce) much safer than it would appear. 2) browning on high heat jump-starts the cooking process, so that when you put the roast in the oven, it’s already directing heat inward, instead of having to ‘warm up’. It seems to me like browning it afterwards just adds to the cooking time.

    • Salt is all that matters.

    You can get fancy with toasted rosemary, granulated garlic, thyme, or whatever you want, but those flavors are probably better used in a sauce. The roast itself only needs salt to bring out its awesome flavor. I would cover all open surfaces (if the bone is separated, which is often done to ease serving, get salt in the crevasse too) liberally with salt and pepper. You can’t really over-salt, I mean it’s not like most of it will really penetrate into the huge solid roast anyway.

    I think that’s everything. Again, salt, brown, then low & slow. Use a thermometer. Hope this wasn’t too long.

    • Doug F says:

      Also, a note about bacteria:

      All bacteria reproduces between the temperatures of 41º-135ºF, however, the reproduction rate doubles at 70º-120º. Bacteria is everywhere, and can be (ok, IS) consumed all the time, even the harmful kind. However, if harmful bacteria is allowed to reproduce to unsafe levels, then that’s when consuming it will make you sick.

      The USDA recommends that food not be consumed that has been in the 70º-120º range for more than two hours, or food that’s been in the 41º-135º for more than 4 hours.

      Strictly speaking, Mike’s roast method (though AWESOME) seems a little risky, as the interior of the meat will spend several hours in the temperature danger zone. However, I should stress again, that the harmful bacteria comes from outside the meat (otherwise we would not be able to age steaks), and blowtorching it first should either kill it outright, or at least ensure that the temperature on the outside of the steak is outside of the danger zone (browning it brings it to a temp of at least 330º, and if it’s then placed in an oven at 130º, any harmful bacteria that survives the browning will be stuck inbetween those two temps, which should be perfectly safe).

      Anyway, if you don’t have the juevos (or the special oven) to cook it at that temp, I’ve read that certain high-end restaurants will brown the roast, cook at 250º until the internal temp is 120º, and THEN reduce the oven to 140º for the remainder of the cooking process.

    • SL says:

      If your brown the meat ahead of time you are more likely to get the infamous grey band of overcooked meat around the edge of the roast. Cook low first, give it time to rest and let the juices settle ~30 minutes and blast it before carving and serving. Less of an overcooked band and also you don’t have to let the meat rest (meat has already been rested and a quick blast of the broil doesn’t warrant a second resting) after the final broiling ensuring your guests receive a hot and juicy piece of meat.

  11. Jennifer Noelle says:

    Paula Deen got this one right. However, I do that first hour at 400 degrees. Make sure that meat is out of fridge for a couple of hours before you begin. Do NOT open oven once you start.

  12. Gerald Bostock says:

    Thank you, Doug F. I’m not a pro, but know many. Good summary and safety points, though a roast compared to ground beef is extremely safe. But hey, I’ve never eaten stuffing, only dressing (a family thing) and will not eat hard cooked scrambled eggs or fried eggs unless the yolk is runny. :-)

  13. Gerald Bostock says:

    Hey John and all? I did cite Alton Brown, but these days I’d go with anything Serious Eats and Kenji Lopez-Alt does.

    The article:
    http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/12/the-food-lab-redux-perfect-prime-rib-for-the-holidays.html

    The recipe:
    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/12/perfect-prime-rib-with-red-wine-jus-recipe.html

  14. John Dickson says:

    Simply awesome suggestions.

  15. garfish says:

    The singe most important thing is to cook the rib on a rack!
    Otherwise the pan transfers the heat directly into the meat and it cooks way too quickly and the rib is colorless and has not had enough time to become tender as it reaches temp too soon.

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