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Friday, December 17, 2010

Dry aged Standing Rib Roast/Prime Rib

Hey, Folks, Last year we made a delicious Standing Rib Roast. This year, we're taking it over the top by dry aging our magnificent hunk of beef. Ever wonder why your prime rib at home doesn't taste as savory, earthy, and utterly delicious as your favorite steakhouse? Um huh... dry aging. There's no big secret here regarding technique. You do not need a giant hook in a meat locker. You do need some clean cotton towels or some cheese cloth, a sheet pan, a rack, and a cold place in the fridge.

Let's go shopping. Rib roasts are plentiful and cheap during the last two weeks of December. Here in Colorado Springs, they are on sale for less than $5.00 / lb. (One grocery here is even throwing in 5 pounds of potatoes free with each rib roast!)
I am expecting 12 guests for dinner, so I got a 6 rib, 13 pound roast, cut from the loin end. (Just ask the butcher at your grocery to cut it for you). Figure 1 rib per 2 adults. I also got two additional roasts, 2 ribs each, also cut from the loin end to stash in the freezer for later. 
As we are dry aging, we need a good cut of meat. "Choice" (most widely available), and "prime" (restaurant quality) are the only options here. You'll pay at least double for "prime" grade, (saw them at Costco),  but with the dry age process, you'll get a delectable prime rib with the "choice" option.
Here goes:
Get yourself a nice rib roast, like this one here.

 You want one that's well marbled in the center.That's what gives it flavor and makes it tender.
 Now, when you get it home, rinse it off really well in a clean sink.

 Dry it thoroughly with some clean kitchen towels.

 Really, thoroughly dry it off. Your roast will not dry age unless it's dry, it will simply get slimy and rotten, and will ruin your holiday cheer. And make you weep. And stink up your fridge. Then you'll end up going out to Chinese on Christmas. (Like in "The Christmas Story". Remember that?)
At this point, get yourself a sheet pan and put a rack in it. This is necessary so any drippings that come out won't taint your roast. Cover the roast up with a thick layer of cheese cloth.
So, I didn't have any cheese cloth, so I used a couple of kitchen towels. It works just fine. Put the roast in the coldest part of your fridge, usually that's on the bottom rack in the very back. I put mine in the fridge in the garage, as it's opened less frequently.
24 hours later, take it out of the fridge. This is what my kitchen towels looked like.
At this point, re-wrap your roast in clean cheese cloth, (or a kitchen towel), and stick it right back in the fridge.
If the cheese cloth becomes moist, change it every 2 days. If it remains dry, leave it alone for another week or so. It can dry age up to 3 or so weeks. I'm aging mine for 14 days. If you haven't picked up your roast until the day before you plan to cook it, no big deal. Using the above directions, dry it overnight.
This is what aged beef looks like. It becomes almost a burgundy color. It should not smell.
Before you prep your meat for cooking, cut off any super dry, leathery looking stuff.
Make the herb paste, using this recipe:
Be sure to factor in the time it takes to bring the roast up to room temp prior to cooking. Get your roast out of the fridge 2 - 4 hours before cooking.
Season it up with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Smear your herb, garlic, and olive oil paste all over the roast.
Chop up a couple carrots, celery, and an onion to put in the bottom of the roaster.
 Since I made such a small roast, only 2 bones, I cooked it in a cast iron skillet.
In years past, I've always gone with the 500 degree blast it right off the bat, then turned low. This year, I used a reverse procedure after watching an Alton Brown "Good Eats" episode. He used a flower pot with a bowl kind of thing stuck in it, but that's a little too weird for me.
Since all of my racks are too big for my skillet, I made one with forks.
And, presto! Skillet rack achieved. All we need to do here is elevate the roast off of the bottom of the skillet, so it will not braise in the liquid we put there.
Pre-heat the oven to 250 degrees.  Place your veg in the skillet, and add 1 cup of water.
Stick a meat thermometer smack dab in the center of the roast, making sure to avoid any bones.
 Just before putting the roast in the oven, turn the temp down to 200 degrees (F).
Roast covered, ( I used a second cast iron skillet for cover, as it left an opening for the cord of the thermometer to go through),  until meat thermometer registers 118 degrees.
At 118, take the roast out of the oven and cover with foil. Let it rest until the internal temp comes up to 130 degrees. While it's resting, crank up your oven to 500 degrees.
Place the roast back in the oven, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, until desired crust and color is achieved.
The roast should be perfectly pink (medium rare) throughout.

For the Au Jus, strain the vegetables and drippings from the pan, add 1 cup red wine and 1 cup beef broth to the drippings. Boil until reduced by about 1/2.
Serve on a warm platter garnished with rosemary sprigs.

Merry Christmas!


  • (1)  5-13 pound rib roast from the loin end of the roast.
  • Kosher salt, about 1 Tbls
  • Fresh ground pepper, about 1 Tbls
  • Paste:
  • (1) Head garlic, cloves separated and peeled.
  • (3) sprigs EACH rosemary and thyme
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil, about 1 cup
  • Veg in roaster, all washed and rough chopped:
  • (2) carrots
  • (2-)3 stalks celery
  • (1) onion
  • Au Jus:
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • pan drippings
Dry age meat as described above.

  1. Remove roast from fridge 3 hours prior to cooking.
  2. Chop onion, celery and carrots. Put them in the roaster.
  3. Place a rack in the roaster for the roast.
  4. Pour 1 cup water over veg.
  5. Place roast on the rack.
  6. In a food processor, buzz up herbs and garlic. Add olive oil in a slow drizzle to make a paste.
  7. Put Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper all over the roast. Rub it in.
  8. Slowly pour garlic herb paste all over roast, using your hands to press it in.
  9. Place a meat thermometer in the center of the roast.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees (F).
  11. Roast covered in a 200 degree oven until meat thermometer reads 118 degrees (F).
  12. Remove roast from oven and cover tightly with foil. Rest until internal temp reaches 130 degrees (F).
  13. Turn oven to 500 degrees.
  14. Return roast to 500 degree oven, uncovered, until fully browned.
  15. Remove veg from roaster.
  16. Place roaster over 2 burners on top of the stove.
  17. Heat over medium/high heat.
  18. Add beef broth and red wine.  Reduce by 1/2.
  19. Pour any juices accumulated on the cutting board into the au jus.
  20. Serve sliced roast on a heated platter.


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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.