In a world of casinos, hotels and casual restaurants making the switch to brined, seared or marinated rib roast, we’ve found our home is one of the few places we can still enjoy a true prime rib, also known as a rib roast. Somewhere along the line many have lost their passion or patience for this legendary piece of meat.
Perhaps you’re skeptical because it’s a “roast.” We often have the mindset it will take forever to cook, much like a pot roast. Culinarily speaking, it’s best to view a rib roast, or prime rib, as a large steak. I’m of the opinion that in the winter months, nothing says “I no longer miss my grill” more than sharing a juicy rib roast with friends and family.
Just give it a rub down with your favorite coarse ground seasoning blend and bake at 400◦F in an uncovered thick wall roasting pan until it’s done to your liking. That’s it! Note the larger the roast, the easier it is to cook because the window of time it takes to go from medium rare to medium well is longer. With small roasts, you really need to be there the very second it’s finished.
Many people challenge the recommendation to season the roast prior to cooking for fear the salt will draw all of the moisture out of the meat. Personally, I recommend seasoning prior to cooking because flavor and tenderness come from the natural breakdown of protein that’s achieved through the absence of water. Not only is it good, but in a sense it’s the very definition of “dry age.”
Seasoning before cooking is not to be confused with meat drying out due to the natural juices lost when a roast isn’t given at least 10 minutes of rest time after being removed from heat. Here’s why: during the cooking process muscles constrict. If sliced in this state, many of the natural juices will go right onto your cutting board or on the floor. If sliced in a more relaxed state, the juices will flow through the meat. No poking, prodding or slicing for 10 minutes. This is key.
Believe me, anyone that can grill a steak or bake a ham can be a star entertainer with a perfect prime rib. It’s really that simple. It will be on my holiday table this year. How about yours?
Michael Selby, executive chef