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How To Cook Prime Rib Roast

Cooking a prime rib roast can be a daunting task for the inexperienced cook, but in fact it is very easy thing to cook.

The prime rib has a lot of flavor, so there is not much that can go wrong. Perhaps the only thing that can go wrong is, if you accidentally overcook it. But don't worry, here I'll tell you how to avoid that.

Ingredients: 1 entire prime rib roast, 1 onion, 1 carrot, several stalks of celery, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. coarse sea salt, 1 tsp. cracked black pepper, 1/4 cup steak seasoning, 3 bay leaves, 1 tbsp. whole peppercorns, 10 oz. dry white wine. You will also need a large roasting pan, a sheet of aluminum foil and a properly calibrated food thermometer.

Prime rib roast photo

Prime Rib Roast

This last thing, the food thermometer, is actually a very important tool to have, if you want your prime rib to be cooked perfectly. To calibrate a food thermometer is very easy. Fill a water glass with ice to the top, add water to it and insert the thermometer in the glass. It should be pointing to 32 degrees F. If it doesn't, then find the nut under the dial and turn it to show 32 degrees F.

If you have an underliner, you can use it underneath the prime rib roast. Underliner is a grate the size of a roasting pan, that allows the meat to stay above the drippings and fat while cooking.

Yorkshire puddings for prime rib

Yorkshire Puddings

Trim some of the fat cap and place the prime rib roast in the pan, or over the grate (underliner). Don't remove all of the fat cap, because it is needed for moisture during cooking. Brush the prime rib with the olive oil and sprinkle it with the salt, cracked black pepper and seasoning. Press down the seasonings to form a crust on all visible surfaces of the prime rib roast. You can use other spices if you want, such as ground pickling spices, roasted red pepper and garlic seasoning, etc, but I find that the excessive seasoning is not necessary, because the prime rib is full of its own flavor. If the prime rib has a very thick fat cap, you should trim this a little bit before applying the seasoning. Place the rest of the ingredients in the pan, except the white wine, and put it in a preheated oven, at 450 F for 10 minutes, in order to sear the prime rib roast. After that, pour the white wine in, cover the prime rib roasting pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, and reduce the temperature to 275 F. Roast for 2 hours more at 275 F, then uncover the prime rib carefully (steam coming up from the pan can burn your fingers) and measure the internal temperature. In order to get the correct temperature, the tip of the thermometer must be exactly in the middle of the prime rib roast. If the temperature reads 115 F, the prime rib is rare. This is a good time to take it out of the oven, unless you know that the people who are going to enjoy the prime rib want it more cooked. Cook it until the internal temperature reaches 120 F for the prime rib to be medium-rare. Medium is 125 F. After you remove the prime rib from the oven, keep it covered in a warm place for at least 15 minutes, before cutting. If the prime rib is for a dinner special or for a catering, you can keep it warm like that for up to 4 hours. If you keep it more than that, you might be able to serve it only medium-well after that, because it will cook itself on the inside. If our prime rib roast is rare, we can cut it a-la-carte, and heat up servings to the desired temperature. It doesn't take long to make a rare prime rib steak to medium, for example. If someone wants medium-well or well done, you can serve them the end pieces.

Before you start serving the prime rib, though, you may need to make some Yorkshire puddings. I'll give you my own recipe for Yorkshire pudding.

Ingredients: 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 3 tbsp. bacon fat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, poppy seeds (optional).

Recipe: Beat the eggs lightly and add the milk, salt and sugar. Pour the mixture slowly in the flour and mix it into a smooth batter. Add the bacon fat and mix well. The consistency of the batter should be similar to a pancake batter. Grease a muffin pan with some butter and pour the batter. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 300 F or until the puddings are golden brown and puffed up. Even if the Yorkshire puddings collapse a little bit after cooking, this is ok and is normal. Serve one or two Yorkshire puddings one each serving of prime rib. De-fatten (I hope this is a word. I mean remove as much fat as you can) the drippings of the prime rib and pour some over the Yorkshire puddings and prime rib servings. For a nice prime rib sauce, you can thicken the beef drippings with some flour or starch.

Additional tips for cooking prime rib roast: The underliner's purpose is to keep the prime rib roast above the drippings during cooking. As you may know, liquid conducts heat 10 times faster than air. Therefore, by using underliner, you can cook the prime rib slower, which means much more tender finished product.

Aging the prime rib: If you are a real enthusiast, you can age your prime rib before cooking, for better results. The aging is not as essential here, as it is for striploin steaks, but nevertheless it is desirable. You can age it by leaving the prime rib in a clean container in the fridge, loosely covered, for 1 or 2 days before cooking. Remove the blood and wipe the prime rib with clean tissue paper every 12 hours.

Another important thing you should do before start roasting is to bring the prime rib to room temperature. Keep it out of the fridge for 2-3 hours before putting it in the oven. This will ensure more even cooking and tenderness of the prime rib roast.

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Chef George Krumov
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.

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