by June Hersh,The Kosher Carnivore, (St. Martin's Press)
There isn’t a more impressive or savory main course than a standing rib roast. It's sheer size and presence is awesome, and it requires such little attention to achieve greatness. The standing comes from the bones that the rib roast rests on, and serves as a natural rack for the meat while it cooks.
1 (6 - pound) standing rib roast, (3 ribs), room temp
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves or 1/3 teaspoon dried, optional
1 to 2 cups beef stock
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat the meat in the olive oil and then season with the salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme, if using. Try to work a little seasoning where the meat is tied to the bones. Place the roast in a roasting pan (no rack needed, the bones provide stability) roast at 450 degrees, for 20 minutes. After that time, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and pour 1 cup of beef stock into the roasting pan. Baste the meat every 20 minutes with the accumulated drippings, adding water or stock if needed. Continue to roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into a thick portion of the meat (don't let it touch the bone), reads about 125 to 130 degrees for medium rare. Remove the finished roast to a platter, cover loosely with foil and place the roasting pan on the stove. Heat the drippings, scraping up any bits that have collected in the bottom of the pan. Untie the meat from the bones for easier carving and present the sliced meat, with the bones and gravy spooned on top.
Yield: About 6 servings
Start to Finish Under 2 hours
There are other cuts from the standing rib roast that are worth noting. The layer of meat that envelops the rib is called crescent steak or butcher's surprise. I was most surprised by the price tag, but have to admit the flavor of the grainy fat and meat is intense and rich. You can buy this separately and roast or cook it in a pan like a steak. Additionally, you shouldn’t overlook the “baby back” ribs of medieval proportion, which comprise the rack from a standing rib roast. Irving, our St. Louis rib man notes that these are the ribs we watch people gnaw on in fancy restaurants. They can be roasted or grilled and enjoyed as a meal on their own. Have your butcher remove the silver membrane on the back of the rack, this will help your seasoning permeate the ribs, also makes them easier to cut and eat. Roast them in a hot oven or on the grill until medium rare. You don’t want to have your guests fighting over the bone so plan on at least one bone per person.
Behind the Counter:
For the meatiest piece, have your butcher cut the roast from the short end, where the eye is larger. Not only is there less fat, but the bones are shorter, adding less weight and more bang for your buck. When portioning, figure 1 rib for every 2 people. For easier carving have your butcher separate the meat from the bones, and then tie them back together. Ask the butcher for the weight of the meat alone. You want to calculate cooking time by the weight of the meat only, figuring 15 to 20 minutes per pound for medium rare. You can substitute a boneless rib roast (-$), which gives you more meat for your money, but you sacrifice the flavor the bones impart flavor.