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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roast Beef Rib

It's been getting cold lately.

Gray, and wistful, the beginning of the end of Autumn.  My favourite season.

I've been holding on to a large beef rib which I've been waiting to bring out and roast for a while, and today seemed as good a time as any.

I don't profess to know the best way of roasting meat.  But I do OK.  What I do is a mix of what my old german house frau relatives have done for decades, and what I myself have picked up over the last decade.

There are some absolute musts, I've learned.

The meat must be at room temperature before you begin.

Rubbed rather than marinated.

And it absolutely MUST be seared for a bit before slow cooking.

The trick - which actually makes a lot of scientific sense, if you just think about it for a second - is to brown the meat at high heat, in order to develop all that rich flavour, for a very short time, and then cook it for a very long time at low heat.

Most people understand this concept, to some elementary degree, but I've started to take this to an extreme degree.

If I have the time, I will actually cook the meat for about 5 or ten minutes at extreme heat - like 500°, and then cook for a really long time at a ridiculously low heat - like 250°.

I'm pretty sure my German house frau relatives would NEVER have even heard of cooking meat at such a low temperature.


I took my rib out and rubbed it with a mixture of green peppercorns, rosemary, and a pinch of gray sea salt.

I let it sit out at room temperature long enough to warm up.

Then I heated up my oven to 500°, and set up my roasting pan with a wire frame insert.

This insert actually belongs to my slow-cooker, but it fits just perfectly in my Le Creuset cast iron roasting dish.

The best way to brown a cut of meat, at high heat, is to expose as much surface area as possible, and ensure that the hot air has a good chance of circulating all around it.

I didn't come up with the whole propping it up like this... but it is certainly a great idea.

When roasting a rib, like this one, prop it fat-side up.

Roast for about 10 minutes on super high heat.

In the meantime, prep some veggies (in my case, some white onion, and some whole garlic cloves) for accompanying the roast.

Once the roast is browned, take out the insert, and lightly oil the insides of the roaster with some olive oil.  Then spread out your root veggies on the bottom, and lay the rib sideways right on top.

I also wanted to roast some mini potatoes to go with this, so I threw those in on top.

I made sure to sprinkle more of the rosemary-green peppercorn mixture on the potatoes.  Then put the lid on the whole thing and it's ready.

Turn the oven all the way down to like 250° or 275°, pop the roaster in the centre, and then relax for the rest of the afternoon.

Because the done-ness of your roast can make-or-break the entire dish, I've learned to just take all the guesswork out of it, and use my digital thermometer/alarm thingamajig to go off when it's ready.

For medium-rare (which was what I was going for here) that's only an internal temperature of 140-150.

So you can see it doesn't take much.

Anyway, after a couple hours, the alarm went off, and I removed the rib, and covered it with some foil for a few minutes.

The potatoes got placed in a dish and went back in the oven to stay warm.

But the delicious, greasy, leftover gribblies and onion and garlic?

That gets turned into my rich beef gravy.

A cup of water, and a healthy dose of the immersion blender later...

And we've got an awesome gravy base.  Add a little bit of salt and pepper, and a spoonful of corn starch (pre-mixed), and it's ready to go.

By the time I sliced the beef, it had gone from medium-rare and nice and pink in the centre, to medium, and just lightly pink throughout.   Proof that it still keeps cooking for a bit after you take it out.  But, I actually counted on that a little, and medium is actually just how I like my beef.

This rib roast was exceptionally fatty, and part of the reason I was so excited to roast this bad boy, was because I expected it would make an exceptional stock.

And it did... but that's a story for another posting.