It is the time of year we all want to make something special for family and friends. It is also the time of year holiday shopping can pinch the wallet. Wouldn’t we all love to serve prime rib dinners for our celebration? I would. But perhaps the price tag on that rib roast exceeds your budget, especially if you are feeding many people. So what to do?
What’s the difference and if both are good, why pay the heavier price tag? Well – the less expensive cuts of meat need more care and time (24 hrs+) to produce the mouth-watering results. The more expensive are wonderful and can be served and cooked to your preference – rare, med-rare, med, etc.. and takes less time (same day) to put that roast from supermarket to table and achieve that wonderful flavor.
Why does the lower cost meat need more time? Because it comes from the part of the animal where the muscles are worked on a regular basis or have multiple muscle groups with connective tissues. This can make for a very flavorful cut of meat, but also very tough. To break down the fibers and make a “fall-off-the-bone” delicious roast, you need to either marinate, brine or cook it low and slow. The low and slow is really the best way. It just takes time. More of a weekend effort than a week day effort. But don’t be fearful of serving this tender piece of meat to your guests, done right, it will get raves over even the most expensive cuts of meat. Why? With the expensive cuts, you run the risk of over cooking and ruining the cut of meat. Too dry, too over done, too under done, etc… With the low and slow – there is no dry, no over done or underdone. Just great food!
Now to give praise to the rib roast. I LOVE RARE MEAT. I love it slathered in garlic and perfectly roasted with a great tasting sauce or pan juices poured over it. I love picking at the fat layer that is now crispy and very well seasoned. Can’t beat it.
So on to the Splurge:
Rib Roast Bone In
1 TBS Kosher Salt
1 TBS Pepper
2 Heads of garlic, peeled or if you are lucky to have a store that offers pre-peeled garlic – 1 cup of garlic cloves
1 – 2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary, stripped from the stalk
3 – 5 Pound Rib Roast (~3 rib bones)
2 – 3 TBS Olive Oil
You can also take about 5 cloves of garlic and slice into 4 – 5 pieces, cut slits into the meat, and put a sliver of garlic in the slits. This adds more flavor, not necessary, but still good.
1 can low sodium beef broth
2 Garlic cloves diced
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
First things first. Marinate the meat in the rub overnight or at least 3 hours in the fridge. then 2 hours at room temperature. Be sure to plan to start in the morning for a great evening dinner by 5pm.
Put the garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and olive oil in a blender, chopper, etc.. and mix to a slightly chunky paste. If you don’t have any of those electronics, no worries. Chop the garlic and rosemary together, then in a bowl mix with the salt, pepper and oil.
Using a small utility knife, poke holes on the sides and top of the meat everywhere, about 1/3 in deep. Your best guess is fine.
Massage the garlic mixture all over the meat on all sides, pressing some of it into the holes you created. Then put the roast in the fridge uncovered for 2 – 3 hours. Remove it from the fridge about 3.5 hours before you plan to eat to bring it to room temperature and allow the rum to further penetrate the meat.
A 5 pound roast will need about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours to cook to medium rare (~130 degrees internal temp, rare is ~120 degrees to remove from the oven), then about 7 – 10 minutes to reset before slicing (It will continue to cook, so remove it about 5 degrees below your desired temperature). If you prefer more well done – so be it. But if you paid top dollar for such a tender beautiful piece of meat, cooking past medium rare wastes your money. These cuts of meat actually get tougher the longer they are cooked opposed to the cheaper cuts of meat that love low and slow cooking.
Lets get this baby in the oven!
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Place the roast into a roasting pan. Fat side up to allow the fat to melt and baste the meat during cooking. Cook at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees F. And cook for another 45 minutes for rare and 60 minutes for med-rare. Be sure to check the temp a few minutes before it is done to make sure you don’t over cook. If it is not at the right temperature, but it back in the oven for 3 – 5 minutes intervals until the correct temp is reached. Remember you want to take it out of the oven 3 – 5 degrees less than the desired temp as there will be carry-over cooking (It will continue to cook for a few minutes while you let it rest).
Once you pull it out – as tempted as you are to dig in – resist the temptation so the juices will re-distribute in the meat so you have a juicy roast. If you cut it too soon, all the goodness will be on the cutting board.
This can be simple or complex. Lets go for simple since there is a ton of flavor on the meat already.
Combine the au-jus ingredients in a small sauce pan. Let simmer on med-low heat until the meat is done. Once the meat is done, remove it from the pan and put it on a cutting board to sit. Pour the au-jus into the pan the meat cooked in and stir bringing to a simmer for about 5 – 7 minutes while the roast is resting.
That is it. Carve the Roast into 1/2 – 3/4 in slices and serve with the au-jus on the side or on top.
Additions to the au-jus: Add 1 TBS prepared Horseradish; or 1/2 cup red wine; OR 1 TBS Dijon Mustard; Or 1 – 2 TBS Brandy, 1/2 TBS Dijon and 1 TBS Sour Cream; Fresh Rosemary, Thyme or Oregano.
Now for the lower cost roast option:
Boneless Chuck Roast
Chuck roasts can be a tough cut of meat if not properly prepped and cooked. It takes time so plan for this meal a few days in advance. The wait is worth it for a mouth-watering very tender roast.
~5 LB Boneless Chuck Roast (or Eye-Round Roast – less fatty), select on that had lots of marbling (FAT) as this will give a ton of flavor.
~ 1.5 – 2 heads of garlic, peeled and finely diced
3 – 4 TBS of extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS of salt
1.5 TBS of ground black pepper
2 TBS rosemary (fresh or dried), roughly chopped
2 cans low sodium low/non fat beef stock (you may only need one can, but having an extra on hand is a good idea)
1 cup red wine (optional)
water, as needed to thin out the sauce
4 Med sized Yukon Potatoes, cut into a large dice or quartered (or you can use the baby ones and leave whole or cut in half)
1 med onion, halved then quartered
2 – 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 rounds
4 garlic cloves, smashed
Dry Age the Roast:
2 – 4 days in advance: Purchase the Chuck Roast, unwrap it. Line a large plate with paper towels and place the roast on top of the paper towels and place in the fridge unwrapped for 2 – 4 days (no longer than 4 days), changing the paper towels each day and rotating the meat.
Met Rub and Marinating the Roast:
The night before but no later than 4 hours before cooking, remove the roast from the fridge. Using a carving knife, thinly slice off the dried, leathery-like layers of the roast. If you have a dog, it makes for a nice treat. Otherwise, discard the layer you removed.
Take a small utility knife and poke holes all over the roast. This will allow the rub to penetrate into the meat better. Now prepare the wet rub. If you have a min-chopper put the garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and oil into the container and chop until garlic is at a fine dice. If not, dice the garlic and rosemary by hand as small as you can, then combine in a bowl with the salt, pepper and oil.
Rub the mixture all over the meat and press into the holes you made as best you can. Let sit in the fridge on a clean plate over night and remove 2 hours before cooking to let sit at room temperature. Or refrigerate on a clean plate for 2 hours, then remove and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.
Cooking the Roast:
Pre-heat the oven to 225 degrees. In a roasting pan that is oven safe and stove top safe, add about 1 – 1.5 TBS of oil and heat the pan over med-high heat until the oil starts to shimmer. Brown the roast on all sides, about 3 – 4 minutes per side. Remove the roast, add 1/2 can of the beef broth and loosen up all the bits that fell off during the sear (don’t forget to add any rub that remained on the plate). Add in the roasting rack to the pan, and place the roast on top of the rack. Add in the vegetables around the base of the roast (if using) and place into the oven uncovered.
Let cook until the internal temperature reaches about 115 degrees for med rare (or 125 for med) (about 1 hour and 30 minutes). If the liquid has evaporated from the bottom of the pan. add the rest of the beef broth or 1 cups of water.
Once it has reached the desired temperature, turn the oven off and let sit another 50 – 60 minutes. Check the temperature after 30 minutes, leave in the oven if not yet done. Once the temperature reaches about 130 (med rare) or 140 for Med, remove from the oven, move it to a cutting board, cover loosely with tin foil and let rest.
Be sure to check the vegetables. If they are not done when the roast is done, the you can finish them off on the stove top as you make the sauce.
Making the Sauce:
With the roast safe on a cutting board, Place the roasting pan on the stove top, remove the rack. Check the vegetables for doneness. If they are done, remove them with a slotted spoon into a serving bowl. If they are not done, leave them in the pan while you continue.
Depending on how much liquid is on the bottom of the pan, you can add a 1/2 of a can (approx 1 cup) of beef broth, the 1/2 cup of red wine (if using) and bring to a simmer while scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the pan. Taste. If too strong (or salty), add the remaining beef broth or another 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer again. Simmer for about 3 – 5 minutes and taste again. If you are happy with the flavor you are good to go and start slicing that roast and dig in!
If not (too weak), let it simmer for another 3 – 5 minutes to reduce and concentrate the flavors. You can add a TBS of butter to help soften the sauce.
This is meant to be a runny thin sauce. If you want it thicker, then mix about a 1 TBS of flour with 2 TBS of water to create a slurry. Add it to the sauce while it is simmering and whisk well. As the flour heats up, it will thicken the sauce.
NOTE: This goes for both recipes:
If you do not have a pan that is safe for the oven and the stove top, you will need to use two pans. One for the oven and one for the stove top portions. Just be sure to deglaze the pan with water or beef stock so you can transfer all the goodness between pans. De-glaze is just adding a luke warm liquid to the pan while it is hot. It looses up all the bits stuck on the bottom of the pan.
Enjoy these great roast recipes for special occasions or the Low Cost roast anytime of year.