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THE BEST PRIME RIB EVER

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Just in time for Christmas Season!

A stolen photo from Snake River's website. I like it just a little less rare.

Those of you who've been following for a while know that the quest for the perfect Prime Rib has been a priority of mine. I recently reached a plateau of excellence in this endeavor that I consider worth sharing.


FOR STARTERS, BUY THE BEST...

One of my favorite online meat purveyors– Snake River Farms – recently introduced a new line of products. They've long graded their Wagyu beef as either Black (significantly richer than prime-grade) or Gold (WAY richer than prime.) They now offer Wagyu "Silver," which is equivalent to prime grade and notably less expensive than Black and Gold. That means we can now get Wagyu flavor at a lower (but still hefty) price with an arguably more roast-friendly fat content... Win-Win!


From Snake River's website... "BMS" is the Japanese "more is more"

system of beef grading according to fat content.


For the fat content of steaks, more is generally considered superior; but with a Prime Rib Roast, I have found that fat content above a certain level simply converts to more liquid fat in one's roasting pan. And so Snake River's "Silver" Prime Rib hits a nice sweet spot at the intersection of optimal flavor and texture at a more affordable price.


But make no mistake... this roast is still quite expensive, at least as compared to the offerings at Walmart and Costco. HERE is a Snake River Silver Boneless 5-pounder for $250.... and if you just coughed up your coffee, consider the following: by purchasing a boneless roast, you avoid paying top dollar for bones; with the rich fat content, you would prudently serve more elegant (i.e. smaller) portions, meaning that this 5-pound roast would easily satisfy the appetites of six adults; and finally, this roast is surely about 100 times better than even a nice restaurant version for nearly the same price per person.


...THEN COOK IT PROPERLY.

Google "Prime Rib Recipes," and you'll likely find quite a variety of temperatures, cooking times, and techniques. Spoiler Alert: They ALL Work. But from my experience, I chose the following method:


Thaw the roast. (If you ordered from Snake River Farms or any other online purveyor, it will have arrived frozen solid.) I thawed mine overnight in a large pot of cold water, and my faith in the imperviousness of the plastic packaging to water was duly validated.


Pat the roast dry with paper towels, then sprinkle (noticeably but not heavily) with kosher salt. Place it on a rack over a pan, high enough so that air can circulate all around it.


Set up a small fan to blow on it, and occasionally re-position the fan to various angles in order to form a uniform crust. The blowing air will accelerate the essential crust-forming process that many recipes accomplish with a 24-hour stay in your fridge. Few refrigerators have that much extra space, and 6 hours of the fan treatment means that you won't need the "allow to warm to room temperature" step found in most recipes.


Pre-heat oven to 475ºF.


During the Fan Phase, cook a half-dozen or so onions until nicely browned. (See Cry, Baby, Cry for some Grumpy Old Mansplaining about onions.) Add chopped carrots, celery, and garlic to the nearly-cooked onions and stir until all the carrots are bright and fragrant. Place the veggie mixture in the bottom of a small roasting pan (like THIS one) along with a half-bottle of red wine (tips HERE) and an equal amount quality commercial beef stock. Put the roast on the rack, the rack in the pan, and the pan in the hot oven.


20 minutes (max.) at this high temp will get the crust started while the veggie-wine-stock mixture will catch the drippings to help make a fabulous sauce. Remove the whole set-up from the oven and drop the temperature to 200ºF. (An open oven door will of course minimize the transition time.) For the low-temp. phase, insert into the thickest part of the roast a proper monitoring thermometer (like THIS one.) As the liquid in the roasting pan diminishes, replenish periodically wit stock, wine, and/or water.


Allow the internal temperature of the roast to reach 115ºF for rare (like the photo above) or 120ºF for medium-rare. Your results may vary slightly depending on the dimensions of your individual roast, so keep in mind that under-cooked is a lot easier to fix than over-cooked. Here you can remove the roast and crank the oven back up to 475ºF and then give the roast a final crust-enhancing blast (10 minutes max.)


Allow the roast to rest on a cutting board while you strain the liquid from the roasting pan. Use a Fat Separator to isolate the natural nectar that results from roasting. If you took my advice of several months ago and made a whole season's worth of Faux Jus, this is where you put it to its best and highest use. I combined a few spoonfuls of faux jus with the de-fatted pan juices, touched up the flavor with dashes of liquid aminos and Worcestershire sauce, and then lightly thickened it with potato flour roux.


The result, served with Heavenly Mashed Potatoes, was fantastically, ridiculously delicious. And yet... I figured out something important: this meat was so delicious the next day that I might consider making it a day ahead the next time we have this. (Gently reheating slices in clarified butter did the trick beautifully.)


Please let us know how your Prime Rib turns out, and feel free to reach out with any questions.


* * * * * * *


NOTES:


Snake River Farms frequently offers discounts and special pricing. I never pay full price for anything; you shouldn't either. Pro-Tip: go to the website and put a roast in your cart. You just might receive a "Still thinking about it?" email offering you a discount.


Wine, you ask? While charcoal-grilled manly-man steaks cry out for big, powerful reds with high alcohol and rip-roaring, full-frontal fruit, rib roasts pair nicely with somewhat tamer tipples. Old-World wines (from France, Spain, Italy, & Portugal) work just fine. I like a nice Californian Pinot Noir, but really any red wine you like is okay. Don't overthink it.









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