Cast Iron Christmas Roast
A Cast Iron Christmas Roast pairs the king of meat with the king of cookware for a great traditional family meal. There are a number who have been put off at cooking this wonderful cut of beef not only because of the cost, but from fear of ruining it. Cooking techniques abound for making the perfect roast, but we’ll share a technique that we have used ever since we discovered it. Based on Paula Deans foolproof recipe from the food channel, it’s just about the best way to approach making a Prime or Standing rib that there is. So here’s our step by step with some pictures for you to consider.
Step 1 – The Beef
Selecting a good standing rib should be pretty straightforward allowing for seasonal availability. They tend to blossom during the fall as does the price the closer you get to the holidays. While we’re not advocates of freezing meat under any circumstances, some times you have to do what budget allows. If you do happen to find a great deal on the meat and have to freeze it wrap the hell out of it in plastic wrap, followed by foil, followed by more plastic. And don’t leave it the freezer any longer than necessary (figure Thanksgiving to Christmas time frame). Pull it out of the freezer and into the fridge at least 3 days before cooking. A 5 Lb. roast ( 6-8 people) should do nicely.
Step 2 – Prepping the Roast
Room temp for at least an hour or two. Salt it with good Kosher or Sea salt. A lot. If it looks like it got caught in a January snow storm, it’s probably about right. Or you could use a salt pepper and garlic mix and rub it into the meat. Let it sit for a bit. I prefer the snow storm approach as I think it makes a nicer crust on the meat. Heat the oven to 375. If you have an oven thermometer go with that instead of the dial.
Step 3 – Cooking
Here’s the tricky part. Well, maybe not tricky, but it involves time and temperature and a certain degree of attentiveness if you want your roast perfect. Oven temperature 375. In goes the roast for for 1 hour. I’ve done this before without a meat thermometer (see below) and it’s turned out great. If you use one buy one that doesn’t require opening the door to check the temperature. This is important because after an hour, turn the oven off. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES OPEN THE OVEN DOOR FOR AT LEAST 2 to 3 HOURS . You’ve been warned. Shoot for 125 internal and leave it be. 30 to 40 minutes before serving, reheat the roast at 375 keeping an eye on the temperature. DON’T OPEN THE DOOR TILL IT’S READY TO SERVE. Pull it out of the oven and let it set for 15 minutes before cutting.
Step 4 – Carving it Up
If you’ve done your homework right, at this stage you should have a perfectly done medium rare to medium roast with pan juices begging to make gravy with. Take a sharp knife and trim the rib bones off and set aside for stock. Slice the rib lengthwise at the desired thickness to feed your crowd. If some like their’s a bit more done, a handy pot of hot beef bouillon can be used to dip for a minute or two. Serve immediately.
Step 5 – Serving it up
Time to enjoy the fruits of the labor. The sides of course are up to you. Restaurants oft times add some of the Au Jus with the meat, but I like to let this great cut of beef stand on it’s own merits without embellishment. I’ll give you a little hint I learned from the renowned Graham Kerr when serving beef. Get a little bottle of prepared horseradish and put a dab on the side of the beef. Take a bit of that with a bite full of the beef to open up the nose. You’ll never have better.
An Speaking Of Meat Thermometers
Here’s a nice little digital thermometer that we use a lot. Inexpensive comes with 2 probes and good for indoor as well as outdoor cooking. Available from Amazon.