December 25, 2002
Standing Rib Roast

Unlike Nadia, my family doesn't prepare traditional holiday meals. Oh sure, we have a nice meal on Christmas day but usually it's something more like a Thanksgiving dinner. While in the past we have treated Christmas dinner almost exactly like Thanksgiving and gotten a turkey, we all thought that we should do something different this year for a change. Ideas were floated of other poultry such as duck or goose but in the end we settled on a standing rib roast. (Heh, "settled" indeed.)


As I had both watched and read Alton Brown's preferred method of roasting this cut of meat, I took on the responsibilities of cooking. The idea of the recipe is that the finished roast should have as much of the meat cooked to medium rare (or whatever your preference) as possible. In addition, there should be a nice crispy and delicious crust on the outside. To achieve both of these goals, the roast is cooked at two different temperatures. The first cooking, at 250°, slowly cooks the meat until the center has reached something close to (but well below) the desired temperature. At this point, the temperature of the meat shouldn't be up too high since you have to take into account the fact that there's more cooking to be done and that the roast will continue to cook even outside of the oven. Once this low and slow cooking has done its job, the roast sits, covered, outside the oven and continues to cook. After a while, you put the meat back into your now 500° oven to brown and crisp the outer layers. (You did remember to turn up the heat, didn't you?)


As you can see by the pictures, the plan worked perfectly. (The actual recipe calls for the roast to be cooked while enclosed by an overturned flower pot to promote more even heat distribution but I couldn't find one big enough to try it out.) The roast was medium rare almost all the way through, and the entire thing was covered with a delicious browned crust. Also, the next day, I re-roasted the ribs in a very hot oven and gnawed on their crispy bits until I was satisfied.