Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perfect Prime Rib

Monday night I had a few friends over for a meat feast. Literally, so much meat. Mike has been talking so much about the Christmas Eve Prime Rib we're having at his Mom's house, that the craving became too much for me to bear.  I've always wanted to try making my own, so I thought a festive pre-holiday dinner was in order.

Cooking a large, expensive cut of meat can be intimidating, but it really is super simple.  You absolutely must have a meat thermometer, or it will be very easy to over or under cook.  Mine is similar to this one and I really prefer this type because you can monitor the temperature of the meat from outside the oven, without constantly opening it and releasing all of the heat. 

This ended up being one of the easiest dinner parties ever.  I just popped the meat in the oven, made creme brûlée the day prior, and my friends brought a delicious salad with homemade asian dressing, Ina Garten's Cauliflower Gratin (which will easily convert even the most strong-willed cauliflower haters), and mashed potatoes.  For an appetizer, I spooned some of my leftover bacon jam on some brie and warmed it in the oven, served with crackers. 

I kept the table pretty simple.  I filled a trifle bowl with party crackers (which really make any holiday party better) and candy canes for the center piece.   

 For the table setting, I used my Pottery Barn reindeer plates, and C.Wonder jingle bell napkin rings (sold out but similar options at Williams-Sonoma). 

I used the Pioneer Woman's suggestion for cook times and, as usual, she did not disappoint!

Ingredients (serves 8-10, total cook time about 2.5 hours):
*8 lb. boneless rib roast
*1 stick butter, at room temperature
*1 heaping tbps. fresh rosemary, chopped
*1 heaping tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
*1 tsp. garlic powder
*1 tsp. onion powder
*salt, pepper

Au Jus
*2 c. beef broth
*1/2 c. red wine
*1 tbsp. soy sauce
*5-6 dashes worcestershire sauce

Let the meat come to room temperature for 30-45 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the herb butter.  Combine butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder in a bowl.  Pat the meat dry and rub the herb butter all over it.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 500 and move the rack to the lowest position.  Roast the meat for 45 minutes (I would suggest leaving the oven closed - the butter will smoke a lot as it cooks, which helps create a nice sear on the meat).  

Reduce the oven temperature to 300. Insert a meat thermometer sideways in the beef.  Return to the oven and cook 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the meat thermometer reads 128 (the PW recipe says 120-135 degrees, so I chose 128 and it rested to the perfect temperature!).  Remove the meat from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes, or until it reaches 135 for medium rare*.  

To make the Au Jus, remove the meat from the roasting pan and drain off most of the fat, leaving just a thin layer.  Add all ingredients for Au Jus recipe and set over a burner on the oven.  Bring to a boil, whisking often, and continue to boil for 5-10 minutes, or until it reduces by about a third.  Serve on the side.  Enjoy! 

*I found 135 to be the perfect temperature, with rare pieces in the center, and a few medium pieces on the end. 

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