Christmas Standing Rib Roast
Thanksgiving is a holiday in which turkey really shines. Many of you would rather not deal with another turkey just four weeks after Thanksgiving.
Some of you might still have some frozen leftovers. The Christmas meal is a celebratory meal, and as such, celebration food is a natural at the Christmas dinner table. Enter, the standing rib roast.
Unsurprisingly, the standing rib roast is cut from the rib section of the animal. More specifically, it comprises 7 ribs - ribs 6-12.
If you were to cut the meat apart into steaks, you would have rib-eye steak. You can purchase rib roast in sizes ranging from two ribs up to all seven, although for more even roasting, you'll want to purchase at least a three to four-bone roast.
When deciding how large a roast you'll need (how many ribs), figure on 1 rib per every two to three people.
For example, if you'll be serving eight people, you will want to purchase a 4-rib roast to ensure generous servings. If you will be serving other meats at the dinner, you could purchase a 3-rib roast.
Buying a Standing Rib Roast
When buying the roast, ask your butcher to separate the rack of bones, trim the roast, then tie the bones and the roast together. It's much easier to have a trained butcher do this for you than to do it yourself.
Get the best piece of meat you can find and afford. Prime is the most expensive but will have the most marbling and therefore flavor. Marbled meat has thin lines of intramuscular fat running throughout the meat.
This may turn some people off, but this fat gives the beef extra flavor. Only 2% of all beef produced in the US is grated prime so it is hard to find and as I said, very expensive.
Your next choice is Choice. Most of your higher-end supermarkets and places like Costco sell Choice but be sure to look on the label to be sure. I recommend you avoid Select grade.
Dry Aged Beef
If you can find dry-aged meat and want to spend the bucks, you may want to give it a try. It has a distinctive taste that not everyone enjoys so I would recommend you try dry-aged beef for the first time on a small cut of beef and decide for yourself.
Since some bacterial action has started to break down the tissues, the meat will be very tender. The flavor will also be concentrated because some water will have evaporated from the meat.
Prepping the Roast
Remove the roast from the refrigerator about two hours before you are ready to roast it. You want the roast to be at room temperature before putting it into the oven.
Do not do much, if any, extra trimming to the roast. You'll want at least a ¼ to ½ fat cap covering the top of the meat. The idea is that the sear will happen to the fat and bone, leaving nothing but luscious, juicy medium-rare meat inside. Too much trimming will result in well-done meat near the surface, and you may as well have bought a less expensive piece of meat.
Season generously with salt and pepper.
Roasting Standing Rib Roast
There are many schools of thought when it comes to roasting a standing rib roast. Some people like to start low and finish high. Some like to start high and finish low. Still, others will instruct you to roast at an extremely low temperature for an extremely long period of time.
You choose the method that works for you. I like the British method of starting in a relatively high oven and finishing at a relatively low temperature.
My wife likes to serve a standing rib roast with Yorkshire Pudding.
Standing Rib Roast Recipe
- 1 bone-in rib roast
- canola oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Before roasting, take the meat out of the refrigerator for at least two hours to get to room temperature.
- Position the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven—Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Rub the meat all over, including the bones, with a thin coating of canola or other neutral oil.
- Liberally coat the meat - fat, bones, and all - with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, ensuring it is not touching the bone.
- Place the meat, fat side up, on an oiled rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast at 425° F for 20 minutes. Without removing the roast, reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.
- Continue roasting until the roast's internal temperature reaches 120° F. Remove the roast from the oven, loosely tent it with foil, and let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise, and the final temperature will be about 130° F. This will result in a nice medium-rare roast.
- If you like your meat more towards medium, remove the roast when it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135° F. Again, let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows for carryover cooking and the redistribution of the juices and will result in a moist roast.