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Beef has thirteen ribs, and usually seven of those are contained in the "rib" cut. The chuck contains the first five ribs, while the thirteenth rib is usually left on the short rib at the packing plant. The primal rib cut normally contains the sixth through the twelfth rib. Those ribs closest in proximity to the short loin are the most tender, while the ones nearest the chuck are less so.

When purchasing a standing rib roast, ask your butcher for the smaller end of the rib portion. The ribs should be trimmed so that they are no more than 7-8 inches in length. The back strap, chine bone and feather bones should be removed. This makes for easier carving at the table. Allow for 2 portions per rib. A four rib roast should provide an adequate serving for eight people. Avoid using anything less than a 3 rib portion as a roast unless you prefer a well done roast. Smaller cuts are best used as steaks.

Season the roast liberally with coarse sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and garlic powder several hours in advance (or overnight) to allow the spices to permeate the outer layer. Keep refrigerated until one hour before use, then leave roast at room temperature for 60 minutes prior to roasting.

If a crisp crust is desired, sear the roast in a preheated 450F oven for 20-25 minutes, then reduce the heat. The most accurate way to judge if the roast is done is to use an instant read thermometer. If not using a thermometer, allow approximately 15 minutes per pound for rare, 18-20 for medium, or 25 minutes for a well done roast.

An alternate method of roasting which causes less shrinkage in the total weight is to roast the meat at 325F throughout the entire cooking time, in which case, allow 20 minutes per pound for rare, 25 for medium, or 30 minutes for a well done roast. Doneness may also be judged by pressing on the roast; the firmer the resistance, the more well done it is.

Place the roast fat-side-up on a rack in a shallow sided pan. Make small criss-cross cuts in the fat and push half cloves of garlic through the incisions (lean salt pork or pancetta strips may also be used for added seasoning).

Place in a 300-325F oven until the internal temperature is slightly less than that for the desired degree of doneness listed in the chart below. Allow roast to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving, during which time the temperature will continue to rise several degrees. If the roast being cooked is very large and a very rare roast is wanted, the oven may be turned off and cracked open when the internal temperature (of the roast) reaches 120F. Cover the roast with foil, checking frequently until it reaches the temperature desired. Meanwhile, prepare pan gravy from the meat drippings which have accumulated in the bottom of the pan. Mirepoix can be added to the pan juices, or rib roast may be served simply "Au Jus" (with juice - the juice from cooking the meat).

The following chart can be referenced when using a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the roast, while carefully avoiding touching fat or bone.


130F - very rare
140F - medium rare
150F - medium
160F - medium well done
170F - very well done

To serve, use a long, thin slicing knife to carve serving sized portions in the desired thickness for each serving. Serve Au Jus, or with pan drippings enhanced with mirepoix and accompanied by Maitre dHotel Butter or Horseradish Sauce.

Submitted by: CM
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