If you are looking for a way to delight your diners on Christmas day, try a standing rib roast. This delicious cut of beef is usually only found this time of year in most stores, so now is the time to enjoy it. If you are feeling intimidated by this roast beast, I recommend watching Alton Brown's Good Eats episode on the standing rib roast. Below you will find some of the highlights from the show. For the full episode, try searching for it on YouTube.
Before you cook the roast you have to select one. Alton gives tips on how to choose one. Meats are given different grades, prime, choice, and select. The choice is the middle in price and in quality, so it's the one Alton would buy. As for the cost of these roasts, check out my list of prices selling standing rib roasts in Michigan for 2010. Even if you don't live in Michigan, this will give you an idea of what this might cost you in your area.
The next tip given is to dry age the meat. This is a process that most high end steakhouses do. Dry aging is all about water loss. If the meat has less water, then it will taste more beefy. Alton does this by placing the roast in the fridge for 72 hours. He encloses it in a plastic bin with holes in it. It's a simple step that will improve your final product.
Next up on the to do list is making sure your oven is clean. The junk on the walls of a dirty oven will absorb some of the heat that should be going to your food. This results in uneven cooking. Also you are going to be cooking this roast at a high temperature at the end and if your oven is dirty, particles are going to burn and fill your kitchen with smoke.
Now it's finally time to cook. These roasts have plenty of flavor on their own, so only canola oil, kosher salt, and black pepper are added to exterior. Alton recommends cooking it at 200 degrees to begin with and then turning the heat up to 500 at the end to create a nice crust. As for knowing when the roast is done, a probe thermometer is the best tool.
When the roast is finished, Alton turn the brown bites in the bottom of the pan into a sauce. He does this by using water and wine to deglaze the pan and adds a few leaves of sage for additional flavor. Then boil off half the liquid. As for cutting the roast, an electric knife is your best friend.
This is a great option for a Christmas dinner. I can't think of anything else that is this flavorful, yet this easy. Make it a Christmas tradition in your home.