Prime Rib Roast Adventure
The very first meal I cooked on my Kamado was a prime rib roast that we got from our supermarket. It was ok, but just ok. Lauren was not impressed.
18 months later, I thought it was time to try it again. This was partially the result of a small nagging in the back of my brain that kept telling me that I could do better with it. The other part was a couple of messages in the Guestbook and forums where folk were asking me how I handled this cut, and noticed that I didn't have a web page about it.
So, rising to the occasion, I set upon a Prime Rib Adventure.
I did a lot of searching on the internet and found recipes that used all sorts of different techniques. So, there was no particular consensus on how to cook this... so I was on my own.
Click on the photos for larger images.
For this attempt I decided that I really wanted a great cut of meat, so I asked my prime butcher to prepare the roast for me. We told him that we were trying to feed 3 adults and one child. He provided us with this 3 rib, 6 lb. roast. We specified that we wanted the bones intact.
He trimmed and trussed the meat nicely. I sliced several large cloves of garlic, then poked slits into the meat with a paring knife and inserted the garlic slices into the slits.
I prepared a rub by putting black peppercorns, kosher salt, and garlic powder into a spice grinder. I ground the mixture until it was fairly fine and applied the coating liberally to the meat using a shaker can.
I decided that I wanted to sear the meat over high heat in a cast iron pan, and then move the pan to the Kamado, and finish cooking over lower heat. So, I preheated the pan over a high flame, and put the roast into the pan, fat side down... to render some fat into the pan for browning. It only took a minute or two per side. The photo above show the roast after it was flipped once. Care must be taken to sear all sides. The searing adds lovely flavor and a crust to the meat, and is worth doing.
The reason I decided to sear in the pan, and not just use the Kamado at high heat is that I wanted the cooker to be at low temperature for the bulk of the cooking. If I'd cranked up the heat in the beginning, it would have taken a very long time to bring the temperature back down. Some people do just the opposite. They cook at lower temperatures, and turn the heat up at the end of the cooking for searing. I've tried this technique with poultry, but didn't want to try it on an expensive roast.
When all sides of the meat were seared, I moved the pan to the Kamado that was preheated to 275 degrees F. Some apple wood chunks were added for smoke.
After one hour of cooking, I put some potatoes (coated with a little oil and salt) on the grill, inserted a thermometer probe (the meat was at about 80 degrees by then), and let it go for about another hour. We like our meat rare to medium rare, so I took the roast off when the internal temperature was 120 degrees. While the roast was "resting" for about 20 minutes, I cranked the heat up on the Kamado to about 550 and finished off the potatoes.
When I sliced into the meat, I found it tender and succulent. My sons were vying for the end pieces because of the nice crust.
Each plate contained some slices (and perhaps a rib bone), a potato, and some grilled white asparagus.
As mentioned... Lauren was not predisposed to like this meal. However, when she tasted it she said "This is the best prime rib I've ever eaten, and now I want to eat this again!".
So, this little adventure worked out very nicely. Folk sat around the table... cutting slices, or gnawing on wonderful bones... while the dog sat and watched intently (hoping for anything to drop to the floor).
For New Years Eve 2002, Lauren and I were invited to our neighbors' house to celebrate the event. There were three couples all together, and the menu was to be quite a feast.
My assignment was to cook a prime rib roast for the main course. We ordered the meat from our local prime butcher, who was pretty impressed with this particular roast.
We erred on getting a roast larger than we needed, and wound up receiving a 13.5 lb, 5 rib roast.
I quickly realized that this size roast would not fit into the cast iron pan that I used to sear the smaller roast shown at the top of this page. So I got a cast iron griddle that covers two burners on my range.
After seasoning the roast and pushing garlic cloves into slits, I placed the roast onto the griddle for searing.
It dawned on us rather quickly that unlike using a pan with high sides, that we'd have to deal with the fat that was being rendered during the searing to keep it from running over the small troth on the griddle. So during the searing, Lauren and I were frantically using a bulb turkey baster to siphon the liquefied fat from the griddle. We were quite surprised to see that 2 cups of fat were rendered during the searing.
I then transferred the roast to the Kamado, which was preheated to 250 degrees F, and added some apple wood chips for smoke. A drip pan was placed on the lower rack to catch any additional fat that would be rendered.
The roast took about 4 hours to come to an internal temperature of 122 degrees. After resting, it reached 134 degrees, which was a perfect rare doneness.
I don't have any photos of the sliced roast, as we forgot to bring our camera to the neighbors' house, but the slices were wonderful, evenly pink across the meat.
One of the benefits of cooking the roast at 250 degrees is that the doneness is even throughout the roast. Even 3/4" in from the seared ends, the meat was rare, with no cold spots (undercooked) anywhere in the roast. This is quite different from so many roast I've seen that were well done on each end of the roast, grey/brown towards the outside of the middle slices, and pink in the center or the slice.
So, regardless of how you like your roast (rare, medium rare, medium, etc), the low temperature method pretty much guarantees an evenly cooked roast.
I have two advantages with this particular meal:
It would be a shame to ruin such a wonderful (and yes, expensive) piece of meat. Our friends were delighted with the results, and we took home about 1/2 of the remaining roast for a New Years Day party at our house to accompany a brisket and some paellas that were on our menu.
We rang in 2003 well fed!
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