Best standing-rib roast recipe method
From Nov-Dec 2002 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, stripped to its essentials:
1. Take the roast out 2 hours before starting the process.
2. Pre-heat oven to 250º.
3. Using kosher salt, salt and pepper the roast all over. Kosher salt makes a difference, so seek it out. Best: Diamond Kosher Salt. Look for it. (Your supermarket undoubtedly has it in the salt section.)
4. Take a heavy 10-12” skillet (cast iron is ideal) and heat it on medium for 5 minutes. Put the rib roast in, fat side down, and brown it for 12 minutes. Then turn the roast onto one side for 4 minutes, then the other side for 4 minutes. This is all the browning the roast gets, so do a good job.
5. Put the roast in roasting pan (or simply use the skillet), ribs down, and roast at 250 degrees until temperature inside is 135-140º (that’s my preference, anyway).
6. Remove from the oven and tent with foil to rest 10 minutes before carving.
Serve with this horseradish sauce.
UPDATE: Nowadays, I find the horseradish sauce at the link goes better with, e.g., smoked fish. It seems too rich for the standing-rib roast, which I now will have with grated fresh horseradish—or very thin julienne strips from the tender layer of fresh horseradish.
UPDATE 2: I just spotted this in the LA Times:
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon freshly grated horseradish
Combine the crème fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour or as long as overnight.
Sounds tasty, doesn’t it? — later: I tried it. It’s great.
UPDATE 3: This year (Xmas 2007) I decided to try dry-aging the roast. From the November-December 2002 issue of Cook’s Illustrated (page 14):
To dry-age a prime rib, buy your roast up to one week early. Pat it dry and place it on a wire rack set over a paper-towel-lined cake pan or plate. Set the racked roast in the refrigerator and let it age until you are ready to roast it, three to seven days. (I left one in the refrigerator for nine days; the cooked roast was meltingly tender with big flavor.) Before roasting, shave off any exterior meat that has completely dehydrated. Between the trimming and dehydration, count on a seven-pound roast losing a pound or so during a week’s aging.
I’m not sure that this was worth the trouble. The problem is that the roast got cooked to a higher temperature (150º) than usual (145º), so it’s unclear whether the results were due to temperature or dry-aging or a combination. The roast was less juicy, which one might expect with the aging. The flavor didn’t seem to be that much more intense. So the jury’s out.