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Prime Rib Roast of Beef

My method of roasting beef is a bit odd, certainly not one I’ve ever read about in a book. It works — really well. You get evenly cooked meat, without that unappealing brown outside inch that often surrounds the lovely rare middle. Try it, it’s easy (you don’t even have to preheat the oven!). I have convection ovens both at work and at home, so I am guessing a bit at the non-convection temperatures. Let me know if I’m right!

  • A good quality bone-in “prime rib” of beef, any size (2 bone, 3 bone, etc.)
  • Several cloves garlic, depending on size of roast and garlic cloves and your taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Sauce ingredients: depending on your desire, a cup or more of good quality beef broth, half a cup red wine, and/or one tablespoon flour

If you can, have the butcher cut the rib eye off the bones, then tie them back together again. This makes your carving task, later, much easier. A bit of nepotism: my son in law's store, Star Meats on Claremont Ave. in Berkeley, carries Niman rib roasts, and will cut and tie for you. 

Remove the meat from the refrigerator 2 - 3 hours before cooking, allowing it to come closer to room temperature. Peel the garlic, slice it, and using a sharp pointed knife, poke slivers of garlic into the roast in various places. If you don’t like garlic in your meat, skip this step. Season it well with salt and pepper Chop some fresh rosemary needles and strew over the roast. Seasoning may be done a day in advance, and the meat refrigerated, well covered, however you can also do it at the last minute. Both methods work, despite the strong opinions in either direction that you may hear.

Place the meat, bones-down, on a roasting pan. Place in an unheated oven, and turn it on to 300°F. (convection) or 325 °F. (no convection). Start by roasting until the internal temperature is 100°F.  A loose way to figure out how much time, is to start at 14 minutes a pound—if the meat is not cold. So, a 7 pound roast with probably take about 1 3/4 hours to get to that point, but it may take longer, or less, time based on the accuracy of the calibration of your oven, and your starting temperature for the meat. When you get to 100°F,  increase the oven temperature to 375-400°F. Roast the meat at this temperature for 10-30 minutes more; it will brown nicely. Check the temp as it cooks, and for rare, remove the meat at 115°F, and set aside to rest for 15-30 minutes in a warm spot. The temperature will rise about 10-15 degrees as it rests. For medium-rare, take the meat out at 118°F; for medium, 125°F. Resting the meat is very important, so that the temperature at the outside equalizes with the temperature in the middle, and the juices stop moving from the heat, relax back into the muscle and create a more flavorful, tender roast — and one where all the juices don’t all run out when you carve it.

While the meat is resting, make your sauce or gravy. You have some choices. You can make an au jus, a wine sauce, or thickened gravy. Each starts with the pan drippings, but has a slightly different process:  For a simple au jus, spoon off the fat, and deglaze the drippings with a cup or so of beef stock, stirring over high heat while you loosen all the flavorful bits with a flat wooden spatula.  For a wine sauce, the process is the same, but start with half a cup of good, drinkable red wine, cook that down to syrupy, and then add stock and continue to cook for a few minutes. For old-fashioned, slightly thickened gravy, leave a little fat in the pan, and if you're planning to use a cup of broth, start by mixing in a tablespoon of all-purpose flour into the fatty drippings,  so that there are no lumps. Then add the cold beef broth and cook, stirring to be sure the flour and fat don’t lump up, until lightly thickened, about 4 minutes. If you want more sauce or gravy, just double my measurements of both flour and broth. 

A final word: I never waste a good gravy or sauce. Take the leftovers, place in a plastic container, label and freeze. Next time you make the same kind of roast, you'll have a "starter" for the sauce.