Everyone should know how and feel comfortable making Prime Rib…It is Perfection! The process for this “perfection”, is what’s referred to as a “reverse sear”. It produces an incredibly delicious slab of meat. We’re talking salivatingly delicious. Those folks over at seriouseats.com are brilliant. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…brilliant! This is how they recommend cooking prime rib. They’ve done the testing, and I’ve been preparing what I refer to as Perfect Prime Rib, and it is. The recipe and method have served me well…served many a fine piece of meat, indeed. But, you know The Goddess. She can never leave well enough alone. No, she can’t. She’s always in search of a “better way”.
Anyhoo, this cooking method is referred to as the “reverse sear”. Main idea—bring the hunk of meat to room temperature (this was a 3.85 pound hunk, with bones attached—2 ribs), season the meat (I used Smoked Tea Rub for Meat), roast at low, low heat, let it rest for at least 30 minutes, then just before serving, into a blazing hot oven for 8-10 minutes to crisp the hunk up (and who doesn’t like a crispy hunk?), slice it and serve it immediately. Simplicity itself, right? Now you’re thinking, ‘I’m pretty sure this crazy woman has told us incessantly to let meat rest after it comes out of the oven’. And you would be right. That’s the beauty of this. The “rest” is that period after the initial long roasting. You’ve let it sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. So the juices will have already redistributed themselves. The last high-heat cook isn’t enough to make the juices roam around again. Look at that picture; there’s no juices on the cutting board, but doesn’t that meat look juicy? Fantastic, no?
The béarnaise sauce is one of the Mother Sauces—same principle as a Hollandaise Sauce, but with a seasoned vinegar reduction, instead of lemon juice. And tarragon! I absolutely love, love, love tarragon. It’s a grossly underutilized herb, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you haven’t had it, it has a subtle anise/licorice flavor profile. You simply simmer shallots, tarragon stems, white wine and white wine vinegar and peppercorns down to a couple of tablespoons. I do that earlier in the day and just set it aside. Then, emulsify egg yolks and butter, just like for a Hollandaise. This can be done while the roast does its final few minutes in the inferno oven, as this sauce doesn’t keep. It needs to be used immediately or you can put the béarnaise in a thermos-type container for up to 30 minutes. It doesn’t reheat well. If you plan to use leftover béarnaise, I have found that if you reheat the meat, then spread the cold béarnaise on the hot meat, it works okay. It’s not the same as fresh, but it does work much, much better than trying to reheat the sauce.
Prime Rib Perfection
This is all about room temperature meat, and giving the meat time to cook, rest and then sear. But, it’s well worth the math!
- 1 3-12 pound beef standing rib roast (prime rib)
- Smoked Tea Rub for Meat
- 1 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- Béarnaise Sauce:
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 3 stems from 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup cold butter
Preheat the oven to 170°F. Remove the meat from the fridge and rub with the Tea Smoked Rub; bring the meat to room temperature. Place the meat in a cast iron skillet, ribs down and fat cap up. My roast weighed 3.85 pounds; I roasted it for 4 hours and the internal temperature was 125°F. Let the meat rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. Just before serving, heat the oven to 550°F (some ovens will only go to 500°F). Return the meat to the oven; roast for 8-10 minutes. Just the very outside of the meat will roast and crisp up. Remove from the oven; slice immediately and serve with béarnaise sauce, roasted baby potatoes, and whatever vegetables that appeal to you.
In a small saucepan, combine the shallots, tarragon stems, white wine and white wine vinegar and peppercorns. Bring to the boil; lower the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced to a couple of tablespoons. I do this earlier in the day; stain, pressing on the solids, and set the reduction aside. While the roast does the final crisping, combine egg yolks and the reduction liquid. Whisk it up together. Place over medium-low heat; whisking constantly. The moment you see a little wisp of steam, and butter, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk until each piece of butter is almost melted. Keep adding and whisking until the mixture is thickened. Add the chopped fresh tarragon leaves; serve immediately. Use immediately or you can put the béarnaise in a thermos-type container and hold for up to 30 minutes. Do not reheat. Serve over slices of prime rib.
NOTE: Remember to remove the meat at least 1-2 hours before you intend to roast it. It must be at room temperature to cook properly. If your oven will go no lower than 250°F, then the meat will cook in about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
Cooking method adapted from http//:www.seriouseats.com.