Dry Aged Prime Rib

New Years Eve!  Sure it’s a little bit of a made-up event, a self-selected arbitrary point in the space-time continuum.  No other life on earth seems to notice the change from one year to the next, but maybe that’s the point!  Whatever your beliefs on how we got to this point, there is no disagreement that we humans have the gift (curse?) of self-awareness, and New Years Eve seems like perfect time put that gift to its best use.  Some of us make resolutions to better ourselves, some make plans for the betterment of the world around us.  Me?  I like to roast a big hunk of meat and savor a bottle of fine wine.   Sorry world, you’re on your own for one night…

There are so many great New Years Eve dishes, but prime rib is absolutely my favorite.  I don’t think I’m alone, because a quick Google search for prime rib recipes gave me 4.2 million results.  That seemed a bit much, so I pointed my browser to the Food Network site, where the same search yielded 49 recipes. I could work with that. They were all fantastic, but the Dry Aged Prime Rib Roast from Guy Fieri was the clear winner for me.  I was eight days out from the big night, the perfect amount of time to do my own dry aging, so I got right to work.

If you look at the recipe link above, you’ll find that Guy provides a nice 3:17 minute video where he demonstrates his technique.  It’s very helpful, and I highly recommend you take a minute or three to watch.  I found the process of dry aging to be quite simple.  I simply rinsed our five pound roast and patted it dry, then covered it in cheesecloth and left it alone in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  At that time I removed the cheesecloth, which had soaked up quite a bit of the juices, covered the roast with a fresh layer of cheesecloth, and put it back into the fridge.  There I let it sit undisturbed for another eight days.  At the end of that time (on New Years Eve) I removed the prime rib from the refrigerator and it looked fantastic.

So far so good!  Guy was right, it had a real weathered look at this point, but we trusted him when he said that’s exactly what we wanted.  We trimmed a little of the fat cap on top to remove the excess, and then it was on to the next step, covering the roast with a spice rub.

Full disclosure, our roast came with a seasoning packet, and after a little discussion we decided that we’d just use this rub rather than making the rub Guy lists.  It was purely a matter of convenience, and I certainly intend to try the recipe at some point.  From the ingredient list it looks fantastic.

On to the seasoning.  For this, my daughter – and skilled assistant – Kelly helped me to cover the roast with the seasoning rub.  The scent of the salts and herbs was intoxicating by now.  We took our time to ensure that we covered every square inch of that roast with the rub, and when we we were finished, our mouths were literally watering.

Finally, we’re ready to roast!  For this we peeled and cut our carrots and onions, layering them on the bottom of the pan.  The meat was placed carefully on this bed of vegetables, and then I added two cups of water to the pan.  As noted in the recipe, I was careful to watch the level of liquids during the roasting process, as they would be needed later for the au jus.  I’m well aware that a great au jus can elevate the prime rib experience to something sublime, and I also know that a bad au jus can put a damper on the entire meal.  This was New Years Eve and so I wanted to do it right!

After placing a meat thermometer in the heart of the roast, I placed it in the oven which had been preheated to 450 degrees F.  We’ve had this oven for many years, and so I knew that a good long pre-heat would be necessary to get it to a legitimate 450 degrees.  I held that temperature for 45 minutes beforehand, so ensure that we’d be cooking as prescribed by the recipe.  After 40 minutes at this temperature, I left the door closed and reduced the cooking temperature to 275 degrees F.  After nearly two hours the meat thermometer showed an internal temperature of 135 degrees F, and the roast was removed to a cutting board, and kept under tented aluminum foil for 15 minutes.  During that time I prepared the au jus per the recipe, and the results were fantastic!  The spice rub carmelized in the inital heat to create a slightly crunchy crust of flavor, while internally the meat was perfectly pink and medium rare.

In my mind New Years Eve is a special night, and should be spent with family and friends.  I believe in making the event memorable, and this recipe fit perfectly with that intention.  It required some forethought and care, but the results were well worth the investment of my time.  I’d gladly prepare it again, and probably will!  We savored it with a bottle of 2006 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino which I’d been holding for a special occasion such as this, and the pairing was sensational.  I hope your New Years Eve was special as well.  All the best to you in 2012 and beyond.

Ingredients:

  • 6 rib beef roast, bone in, approximately 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 package cheesecloth, cut in half (approximately 1 yard)
  • 1 sheet pan
  • 1 roasting rack to fit in sheet pan
  • Special equipment: Space in back of refrigerator for up to 10 days

Seasoning Mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons freshly cracked tri-color pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated onion
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, toasted and cracked
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, washed, ends trimmed and cut into large (3-inch) chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups water

Au Jus:

  • Pan drippings from roast, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation:

For the roast:

Remove roast from packaging, rinse well. Pat completely dry, wrap with 3 layers cheesecloth. Place on a rack on a sheet pan in back of refrigerator, fat side up. After 24 hours, remove, unwrap, discard cheesecloth and wrap with a fresh piece. Place back in refrigerator for 6 to 9 days undisturbed.

Remove roast from refrigerator. Remove cheesecloth, cut away the fat and trim the ends and any discolored parts of roast.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place roast on a rack in a large, heavy roasting pan.

For the seasoning mixture:

In a medium bowl, combine spices and mix well. Be sure to crush the larger spices well for a uniform rub. (You can use mortar and pestle or large wooden end of a pounding mallet in non-glass bowl.) Rub roast with olive oil, then rub with seasoning. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Prepare vegetables, make a bed in the roasting pan with the vegetables and pour in the water. Be sure to check the liquid level in the pan occasionally and add additional water, if necessary. (You will need this liquid to make the au jus.) Place roast on top of vegetables and place in hot oven. Roast at 450 degrees F for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, reduce heat to 275 degrees F and continue to roast for approximately 2 hours, or until internal temperature (stay away from the bone while checking temp) reaches 135 degrees F. Remove from oven, remove from roasting pan, loosely tent and allow to rest for 15 minutes while making the au jus.

For the Au Jus:

Strain drippings from roasting pan, skim fat from drippings. Place roasting pan over 2 burners, heat on medium high and add in drippings, stir to deglaze, add in wine and stock, reduce by 1/3, about 5 minutes on steady boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add in butter. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Strain once more into serving vessel.

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One Response to Dry Aged Prime Rib

  1. cathincolor says:

    This was one of the best tasting meals I have ever eaten! I vote for this every New Years Eve! Great job hon!!

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