DIY Prime Rib
Prime Rib may sound intimidating to try at home. After all, restaurants can charge an upwards of $35 (think Lawry's) per cut. But it is one of those dishes where once you get the timing right, it's really easy, and a huge deal. Instead of spending $35 a person, you end up spending less than $10 per person.
Now, I am aware that there are places that serve Prime Rib for less than $35. But I like my meat medium rare, and that means quality matters…a lot. It needs to be tender, juicy, and flavorful. It's hard to find a restaurant that charges much less and is able to really deliver. Vegas is the exception, of course. But since I don't live there, the best thing to do for the taste buds and the wallet, is to make it at home.
This recipe was tweaked from Alton Brown's Dry Aged Standing Rib Roast Recipe. He's a little more specific with the dry aging and oven process—we don't use a rack for the dry age nor a planter in the oven. He uses salt and pepper for seasoning, where we use Lawry's seasoning salt. And we don't make our own Au Jus. We've tried, several times with several different recipes, but we still like using Lawry's Au Jus mix (found in most supermarkets). We do scrape whatever drippings we can get off the roasting pan, but it's not much, and might look a little scary to guests.
The Rib Roast
We buy our rib roasts at Costco. It's about $8-$9 per pound. When you're trying to decide how many pounds to get, a good rule of thumb is about 3/4 pound per person (give or take 1/4 pound depending on size and appetite). This is also taking into account that you will have a few sides with the meal.
This is definitely not something you can make for 1 or 2 people. A small rib roast can feed about 5-7 people. The large ones (the ones you have to knock on the glass and ask the Costco butcher for) can feed 20+. We've done large and small following the same procedure and it always comes out just right.
We discovered this to be key to getting a truly tender piece of roast. Alton recommends doing this for 3 days. We normally do about 24 hours. I do remember that the one time we aged it for 2-3 days, it was super tender. But we just usually don't get a chance to get the rib roast 3 days in advance and the 24 hours make a big enough difference.
Take the roast out of the packaging. Place the roast on a plate on top of a few layers of paper towels. Put this in the back of your refrigerator (the coldest, driest part). Our frig temperature is at about 40 degrees. It shouldn't be any higher than this. Change the towels and flip the roast every 12 hours.
Let the roasting begin
Set the oven to 250 degrees. Take the roast out and rub with olive oil and sprinkle with Lawry's seasoning salt . Sprinkle enough to get the whole roast, but not so much that you can't see the meat anymore. Place on a roasting pan. Stick a probe thermometer into the center of the roast and set for 122 degrees (medium rare). Roast until the alarm beeps. It'll take a few hours.
The perfect crust
When the roast reaches 122 degrees, take it out and turn up the oven to 500 degrees. While waiting for the oven to heat up, cover the roast loosely in foil to keep it cooking. When the oven is ready at 500 degrees, place the roast back in (remove the foil) for 10-15 minutes (you'll hear some popping/sizzling sounds). Remove and cover with foil. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it (this would be a good time to make the Au Jus).
You can also wait until you're 30 minutes away from serving to blast it at 500. Sometimes we overestimate how long it would take so we let the roast sit out covered in foil for an hour or two before we put it back into the oven for the crust. Just remember that it'll take some time for the oven to get up to 500 (at least for our old oven) and you'll need to give time for it to rest before cutting into it.
That's it! Enjoy!