Finding and Cooking the Perfect Prime Rib for Christmas

Local markets have the meats you want.

Prime rib is a very expensive "company's coming" cut of meat, and typically it only goes on sale around the holidays. 

Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons each have sales on roasts through Christmas Day and you can find more expensive roasts at Grow: The Produce Shop, $16.99 per pound and up, and Manhattan Meats, $15.99 per pound for Harris Ranch Choice [each is selling Harris Ranch meats] and Bristol Farms (call first since smaller stores may have limited supplies.).

Ralphs is offering a USDA Choice Beef Ribeye Roast at $4.88 per pound. Vons is selling its Rancher's Reserve Beef Ribeye Roast for $5.99 per pound, and Albertsons has Albertsons Beef Ribeye Roast for $4.77 per pound.

Select a roast that is "marbled" with bits of fat "speckled" in the center of the roast (ask their meat manager to help you select if you have a question). This "marble" will give the roast the best flavor and ultimately the juiciest texture as the fat dissolves into the slices when baking. 

Another option is the "Semi-Boneless" Prime Rib. This cut does not have the large individual beef rib bones (it only has one or two). The regular prime rib bones add flavor and hold the shape of the meat while it cooks (this is important). 

Or you could choose a boneless beef ribeye roast. If you are going with this option, I would ask for the roast to be sliced into steaks as it is excellent for boneless ribeye steaks. (Albertsons has has boneless beef ribeye steaks in a max pack for $6.99 per pound; Vons has bone-in beef ribeye steaks in an extreme value pack for $6.99, and Ralphs has boneless USDA Choice ribeye steaks for $7.99 per pound.

Believe me when I say that it is not difficult to roast a perfect prime rib, so long as you have a good, heavy cast iron skillet and a good digital meat thermometer that has a probe attached to a long cord that plugs into the side of a digital thermometer.

Yes, you can use a traditional meat thermometer (stick), but repeated opening of the door of the oven will drastically affect your cooking time and oven temperature. It is better to invest in a quality digital meat thermometer.

First, preheat the oven to 200 degrees (yes, 200). Season the outside of meat (Montreal Steak Seasoning is the best for this). Pat the seasoning into the sides of the meat.

Sear meat on top of stove in the cast iron skillet (you can use a heavy skillet, but the cast iron is the best choice as it gives it the best crust). You will have to sear each side separately, about three-to-five minutes per side at high heat. Keep turning until all the sides are seared. Sear does not mean burn, just brown it and turn, as cast iron can heat up to a very high heat. Beware that you cannot be distracted while you are doing this step—you must pay attention and keep turning it and searing.

Insert the digital meat thermometer probe into thickest part of the roast (don't hit the bone with the probe) and place it on a broiler pan, bone side down, and roast at 200 degrees until the temperature reaches 130 for bright pink (medium rare). If you like it a bit closer to medium, go to 135 but I wouldn't go beyond that as it will start to get well done. It will take about 45 minutes per pound up to a maximum of four to five hours. Be sure to go by the temperature, not the time.

Next is the most important step in roasting: let it rest about 20 minutes before slicing. This assures you will have a very juicy roast. Use a large knife to slice off the bones, then slice into slices as thick as desired and serve with ground horseradish.  

Leftovers make a superb prime rib hash when combined with fried potatoes.

TELL US: What will you be cooking for your holiday dinner?

Travel December 26, 2012 at 06:36 AM
I have been buying my prime rib roasts at Manhattan Meats for many years and they have been wonderful! One year for some reason (can't remember) I got one at Vons. Not good. I also use Melinda Lee's recipe (MelindaLee.com) and it has never failed. The leftovers make a fabulous hash with onions, potatoes, and Worchester sauce.


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