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~ Mel's Perfect Prime Rib Roast (Standing Rib Roast) ~

Prime Rib Roast #9 Let me start this post by saying:  cooking a prime rib roast is really easy, so if you've been avoiding trying to roast one, exhale and relax... I'm going to share as much information as I have with you and I'm pretty sure by the end of this post the only hesitation you'll have is the cost, and I'm here to tell you a rib roast is one pricy cut of beef.  The good news:  it feeds a lot of hungry people... up to fourteen if you are preparing a full roast (pictured above), which contains 7 ribs and weighs between 15-16 pounds (although I have actually cooked one that weighed in at 22 pounds).  You don't have to buy an entire 7 rib roast, although I always do, and, in my opionion anything less than 4 ribs is a compromise in the end result (aka... a waste of time, hard-earned money and energy).  Besides... I've never had anyone turn down the great leftovers.

A bit about "prime" rib:  The term "prime rib" is often incorrectly used and/or misinterpreted as a label for a rib roast or a standing rib roast.  "Prime" refers exclusively to the highest grade of USDA beef.  The label "prime" is only given to the finest beef that is hallmarked by even marbling throughout a cherry-red roast that is topped with a thick, creamy layer of fat.  Sadly, very little prime beef makes it beyond better hotels or restaurants.  The best grade of beef generally found in supermarkets is USDA "choice", which is an excellent grade of beef.  All I'm saying is:  although "prime" is how rib roast is often labeled, it is more than likely "choice" beef that you are buying.  I have the pleasure of cooking both prime and choice rib roasts and there has never been any disappointment associated with a store-bought choice roast.

What makes it a standing rib roast?  All this means is the bones are in/on the roast and it stands by itself on a rack in a roasting pan.  That said, you can buy a boneless prime rib roast, which at the end of the day does make slicing and serving easier, but in my opinion:  it is the bones that contribute a lot of the flavor to this very special roast, so it's not my recommendation to buy a boneless one.  That said, I should mention that when a boneless prime rib roast is cut into steaks, they are labeled as rib eyes or delmonicos.  In the event you do decide to go with a boneless prime rib roast, follow all of my directions below and it too will come out just perfect.

A bit about purchasing a prime rib roast:  The absolute best and first piece of advice I can give you on this is:  always pre-order your roast and plan to cook it the same day or the day after you pick it up.  I am not an advocate of freezing a prime rib roast for any reason,  so you'll get no advice or comment from me on this issue, except: "don't do it" and "I told you so".  Second:  when ordering your roast, request it to be "first cut" or taken from "the loin end", which will give you more meat, not to mention leaner meat, then ask him to "properly trim it, 'French' the ribs and tie it".  Third:  if you ask, you might find you are dealing with a butcher who can get you a dry-aged prime rib roast or will dry-age one for you.  Aging allows natural enzymes in the meat to break down some of its proteins.  I warn you, this will cost you more, so make that decision yourself.  You can successfully dry-age a roast in your own refrigerator, but it takes knowledge/expertise, time (7-10 days), tools and a lot of refrigerator space (not to mention another post on my part), and I don't recommend this process for most home cooks.  Last of all:

Prime Rib Roast #3 (First Slice) USE  A MEAT THERMOMETER!!!  If you do not have one, stop!  Do not pass go!  Go buy, beg, borrow or steal one!  Come back and read the rest of this post when you have one in your hand!

You've invested $$$'s in this roast and you want it done to your liking.  Mine is rare to medium-rare which is between 125-130 degrees.

Prime Rib Roast #5 (Ingredients) For the "prime" or standing rib roast:

1  15-16 pound, bone-in, prime rib roast, properly trimmed and tied, at room temperature (this will take about 3-4 hours)

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

For the au jus (the French term for "with juice"):

4 1/2 cups beef stock, preferably homemade (but canned stock works just fine)

3/4  cup port wine (a sweet, fortified red wine)

6  tablespoons Pickapeppa sauce (a Jamaican steak-type sauce), or your favorite steak sauce

6  tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

For an optional and exciting accompaniment:

freshly grated fresh horseradish root or your favorite horseradish sauce

Prime Rib Roast #6 (Six Cups of Au Jous) ~ Step 1.  To pre-mix the au jus:  In an 8-cup measuring container, stir together the beef stock, wine, Pickapeppa sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  You will have 6 cups of total liquid.  Set aside.  Note:  Technically, au jus is meat (usually beef) served with its own natural juices.  Every time I made a prime rib, there were barely enough of those to please everyone so I decided to give nature a hand.  At the end of the day, we now have 2-3 cups of great, flavorful au jus.

Prime Rib Roast #7 (Ready for Oven) ~ Step 2.  Place 4 cups of the au jus mixture into the bottom of 2, 20" x 12" x 4 " disposable aluminum pans that have been doubled to form one sturdy pan.

Place a 12 1/2" x 11 1/2" sturdy cooling rack into the pan and place the room temperature prime rib roast on the rack.  Lightly salt the roast with freshly ground sea salt.  Do not over salt.  Liberally, grind peppercorn blend over the roast.  Feel free to over pepper the roast as much as you like.

~ Step 3.  Roast the prime rib on center rack of preheated 500 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Immediately, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast for 2 1/2-3 hours, or until an instant-read meat thermometer placed several inches into the thickest part of the meat (and in several different places throughout the length of the roast) reads 120-125-130 degrees.  Do not overcook.  This will produce the ideal rare/medium-rare cooked roast.  Remove the roast from the oven.  Remove the roast from the pan and tightly seal/wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil.  Do not be inclined to cut or taste even the smallest of pieces or bites... any cut you make in the roast now will result in a loss of a lot of juices.  Set aside to rest, 25-35 minutes (no longer than this as carryover heat will continue to cook your roast more than you want it too).  While meat is resting, to prepare the au jus:

Prime Rib Roast #11 (Au Jous in Pan) ~ Step 4.  Place the remaining 2 cups of au jus mixture in the bottom of a 10" chef's pan w/straight deep sides.  Pour all of the juices from the roasting pan into a fat/lean separator.  Pour the juices from the separator into the au jus mixture in pan.  Discard the fat from the separator.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer rapidly for about 10-12 minutes.  Mixture will have reduced by about 1/3.  When you open the foil of the roast, add any juices that have accumulated in the foil to this mixture and continue to simmer rapidly another 1-2 minutes.  Carve the roast into slices of desired thickness (read the next paragraph) and doneness (the outer slices will be medium-rare while the slices closest to the center will be rare). 

A bit about carving a prime rib roast:  From a  seven-rib roast like the one I did today, you can serve anywhere from 6 to 16 people, depending upon how you choose to carve it or how your guests want it, meaning:  to serve 6, simply slice between the rib bones and serve very thick, "double cut" Flintstonian portions; to serve 16 people, cut thinner slices and serve them alternately "one on the bone", "one off the bone".  Using a pair of kitchen shears, I snip and remove the strings as I work on carving the slices.  Be sure to use a long-bladed (12"-14"), very-sharp knife and use long, smooth strokes to carve... do not use back and forth sawing motions that rip, tear, and cause jagged edges!  Serve immediately (Note:  the picture below is a double-cut slice, while the earlier/second picture on this post is a single-cut, off-the bone slice.):

Prime Rib Roast #4 (Exit Picture with all the Trimmings))Mel's Perfect Prime Rib Roast (Standing Rib Roast):  Recipe yields 6-16 servings and 2-3 cups of au jus.

Special Equipment List:  8-cup measuring container; 2, 20" x 12" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pans, doubled to form one sturdy pan; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" cooling rack; 10" chef's pan w/straight, deep sides; instant-read meat thermometer; heavy duty aluminum foil; fat/lean separator; large carving board; long-bladed carving knife; carving fork; kitchen shears; cheese grater or microplane grater for grating horseradish (optional)

Cook's Note:  I like to serve a small bowl of hot au jus next to each freshly carved slice of prime rib so my guests can choose to spoon or pour it over their meat, or, just dip each and every tender and juicy bite into it.  As for the fresh horseradish:  this white, pungently spiced root should be peeled and kept refrigerated right up until serving time.  Let your guests grate their own at tableside.  You have just served a prime rib roast at home, complete with the au jus to the side, guaranteed to rival that of any expensive steak house in America.

Potatoes Gratin #1-a (Intro Picture Closeup)Extra Cook's Note:  Once I get my prime rib into the oven, I like to prepare my recipe for ~ Perfect Potatoes au Gratin (Scalloped Potatoes) ~, found in Category 4. They just go "oh so very well" together.  On several occasions, when I have served this dynamic duo for dinner, a guest or two ends up sending me flowers the next day!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)


Roasting Pans! Thank you so much. Writing this post was a labor of pure love!

You, definitely, know what you are talking about in achieving the perfect Prime Rib Roast...from terminology of prime rib, tips for purchasing, preparations of the meat for a roasting pan with rack, recipe of seasonings, roasting temperatures and time with the use of a meat thermometer, resting time, preparing the au jus,and highlighting with fresh horseradish...this is one of my husband's specialties as you have described for a special evening of hosting friends for a wonderful dinner mouth is watering just talking about it.

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