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~ How & Why to Tie Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork)~

IMG_0679When I was growing up, and, into the better part of my adult life, I never encountered vacuum-packed meat of any kind.  Meat and poultry, and, fish and seafood, were freshly cut and/or processed, on a daily basis.  This happened at mom and pop butcher shops everywhere and on premises at all grocery stores.  At a very young age, I learned by listening to my mother, how to "talk shop" with a butcher. When my mother ordered a primbe rib roast for the holidays, she would say, "eight ribs, Frenched, trimmed and tied".  If it was a boneless beef tenderloin she wanted, she'd say "five pound tenderloin, trimmed, wrapped and tied".  In short order, she'd have a bone-in roast with the meat removed from the rib bones for a pretty presentation, or, an entire beef filet wrapped in bacon to add a flavorful fat layer.  When she ordered steaks, Walt would ask, "how thick", then he'd turn the bandsaw on and cut them on the spot and spot on.  

Many grocery stores don't even have a butcher on site anymore, and, it saddens me to watch people shopping today's meat cases.  You'll find lots of them forageing through the case containing vacuum-packed, time-saving, pre-marinated, pre-rubbed, infused and/or injected inferior protein -- spending their hard-earned money on over-priced fake flavorings.  It makes me want to take them by the hand and walk them across the isle to the case containing real-deal cuts of meat, but, even if I did, they wouldn't know what to do with it if they bought it.

ImagesFor example:  Last week I had an entire vacuum-packed beef tenderloin in my hand -- they were on sale at Sam's Club.  A thirty-something turned to me and said, "I bought one of those for Christmas and it was terrible". I, of course, inquired "why." "There were skinny ends that burned, it was tasteless, and, the skin was tough and chewy."  It was obvious she had never roasted one before, and worse, never once entertained the idea that she might have to trim it and tie it before (over) cooking it.

Tying various bone-in and boneless cuts of beef, lamb and pork isn't done just to make them look pretty.  This is man's method for ensuring it holds its shape during the cooking process, which ensures it cooks evenly.  In a nutshell:  tying adds needed form and structure to the cut.

IMG_0619I cooked a standing-rack of bone-in Bershire pork for New Year's Day. The first thing I did when I got it, besides trimming it, was "French it", meaning:  remove the meat from the rib bones to cleanly expose them. You can get the detailed instructions for ~ How to: French a Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork) ~ by clicking on the Related Article link below.

Even if I hadn't Frenched my roast (it's not a requirement for cooking a great standing rib roast), and, even IMG_0642if my roast had been boneless, it still needed to be trimmed and tied prior to roasting it.  I think it's important for people to know that, which is why I'm writing this post!

A bit about the string:  Referred to as "butchers  string" and "kitchen-safe string", it is an all-natural product, made from cotton or linen, which will not burn during the cooking process.  It's also a bit heavier than those labeled as "kitchen twine", which makes it very easy to maneuver, tie and clip.

IMG_0648~ Step 1.  Count the ribs on your roast.  Mine has 10.  This means, I will need nine pieces of string (one less than the number of ribs), each long enough to wrap securely around the roast and easily tie.  My lengths today are 18".  Error on the side of a bit too long.

~ Step 2.  The ribs on this pork roast are about 1" apart, so, I arranged IMG_0650my lengths of string 1" apart across the top of a large cutting board.

~ Step 3.  I placed my roast, bottom side up (boney side up) on top of the strings.  Bone-in or boneless, this means fat side down -- it's important  By pulling each string back and forth a bit, I easily positioned each one evenly in the center between the bones.

IMG_0660 IMG_0663~ Step 4.  Working your way from one end of the roast to the other, begin securely tying, knotting and clipping each string.  Tie each string tight enough to compact the roast into one uniform shape but not so tight that it "cuts" into the meat.

Properly tied the bottom side will look like this:

IMG_0670Properly tied the top side will look like this:     

IMG_0694Next Up:  ~ Mel's Perfectly-Roasted Rack of Berkshire Pork ~

IMG_0729How & Why to Tie a Rib Roast (Beef, Lamb or Pork):  Recipe yields instructions for properly tying a bone-in or boneless rib roast.

Special Equipment List:  butchers string; kitchen shears; large roasting pan w/rack insert

6a0120a8551282970b0147e13c129b970bCook's Note:  This ain't my first time at the old rodeo.  You'll usually catch me Frenching, trimming and tying my recipe for ~ Perfect "Prime" Rib (Standing Rib Roast) ~.  You can get the detailed instructions by Clicking into Categories 3, 11 or 21!

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

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015) 


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