Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Bolek Family Standing Rib Roast

The centerpiece of the Bolek's Christmas dinner is the standing rib roast, which is a truly amazing cut of beef.  A full rib roast is seven ribs, from the sixth rib to the twelfth rib of the cow.  Each rib will have enough meat to serve about two people and the full standing rib roast is about fifteen pounds. And it is called a "standing rib roast" because the beef "stands" on the ribs while it is roasted.

Traditionally, when we order a rib roast, we should ask for the butcher to separate the bones from the meat and then tie everything back together.  The separation of the bones from the meat will make the carving of the roast much easier when it is done.

For years, my mother made the rib roast and every year she would make an excellent roast.  The origins of this recipe come from a butcher at a local grocery store, who used to work for a local steakhouse.  The butcher told my mom that, at that steakhouse they would use dried french onion soup mix, like Lipton's, during the cooking process.  More specifically, after searing the meat at a high temperature, you take the out and use the dried onion soup mix as a rub, thoroughly rubbing the mix all over the meat.  You return the roast to the stove at a reduced heat to cook.  The result is that the soup mix will create a very tasty crust.

When I started making this roast, I decided to add some additional flavors to the onion soup mix.  I usually add fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, fresh or ground garlic, and other herbs and spices. 

A Bolek Family Recipe
Serves 10-15

10 pounds of standing rib roasts, with bones
3-4 packs of dried onion soup mix
1/2 package of fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1/2 package of fresh thyme, chopped finely
1/4 cup of fresh garlic, minced or 3-4 tablespoons ground garlic.
Ground pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

1.   Sear the rib roast.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  At this point, you want to sear the meat to lock in the juices for the long, dry heat of the cooking process.  Place the rib roast in a roasting pan, with a little water on the bottom of the pan, and put in the oven for about forty minutes. When you pull out the roast, you want to see the roast stating to brown.

2.  Prepare the rub for the rib roast.  While the rib roast is searing in the oven, it is time to prepare the rub.  Combine the packs of dried onion soup mix, rosemary, thyme and garlic, along with ground pepper and salt.  Make sure that everything is mixed thoroughly. 

3.  Add the rub to the rib roast.  Remove the roast from the oven and place on top of the oven.  Take small handfuls of the rub and begin to rub the all of the meat.  Be careful when doing this because both the rib and the roasting pan will be very hot.  Use all of the rub and try to get the rub on all sides.  

4.  Continue to cook the roast. Lower the temperature of the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Return the rib roast to the oven, covered, to cook for about three hours.  I usually try to cook it for about two and one-half hours initially, and then check the temperature.    About once per hour, you should baste the roast with the juices; however, do not keep the roast open for long, as that will prolong the cooking.

5.  Let the roast rest.  When the roast has reached about 125 to 130 degrees, which between rare and medium rare, I pull the roast out and let it rest for about fifteen minutes.  The roast will continue to cook and increase about ten degrees.  (I like the rib roast to have a good pink center to it.)

Generally speaking, 120-125 degrees is rare, 130-135 degrees is medium rare, 140-145 degrees is medium, 150-155 is medium well and 160 plus is overdone (at least in my opinion). I have to say that when you cook with a gas range, as opposed to an electric one, the cooking times may be a little less and you may want to check the roast more often during the cooking process to make sure that it does not overcook.


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