Tuesday, July 20, 2010
the term "prime" in rib does not refer to its grade....ever. if i had a prime graded prime rib i would have no choice but to sell it as prime prime rib or a double prime rib. it is one of the 8 cuts of a steer that we call "primal cuts", or whole cuts in their most whole forms, cuts that are processed further to get the cuts of steak and ground beef that you find in the grocery store. i cook a rather fair amount of these. on a busy wedding laded Saturday i will cook up to 10 of these, which for the price we pay for them equates into a cartful of pressure. i rub them with a blend i have worked on for a few years at least 24 hrs in advance, temper them for at least an hour, cook at a relatively low heat setting for a few hours. i pull them on the rare side as they will carry over due to their size, or continue cooking, for at least a half hour after they have been removed from the heat. also i often will have to hold them hot for up to a few hours, so the rarer the better usually is what we have to be looking for. people find great value in prime rib, making it a very popular option for weddings, Christmas, and Easter. classically it is always served with horseradish, and au jus, i also try to serve it with a homemade tea roll as well. in all honesty i dont really like prime rib. i think the cut is much more apt to a quicker cooking style, and while there is no doubting its goodness, the steak you cut from a prime rib is much better than a standing roast.
If you cut a prime rib into steaks you have what is called a "rib-eye" steak. one of the most popular steak cuts in restaurants all over the country. it is one of my favorites cuts of beef. i think it takes and "age" better than any other cut (a process at some point we will learn more about-i could write a essay about it) and is highly desired for its fat content. this is where it gets a bit sticky. the prime rib has an eye of fat in it, and eye that gets bigger working up the animal. i have seen them mostly in the quarter size range, but up to half dollar sized on a big steak cut from a "prime" graded animal. some people like myself love it, some dont. if you are one of the people that doesn't then stay away from the cut in general. we used to have a absolutely gorgeous 16 oz prime graded rib-eye on the menu. i took a ton of heat on it as people would order it and then send it back as it was "too fatty". comment cards began saying things like "buy better meat" or "steak was too chewy" and i would fly into a frenzy attempting to defend our menu and purchasing to anyone in the kitchen that was willing to listen, or in all honestly even around me at the time. bottom line is this isnt a cut of meat for the faint of heart, so buyer beware (if you dont think it is right for you there are a plethora of other options with little to no fat- stick with tenderloins, or sirloins) at the same time please dont ruin it for everyone else. i was at my local buy n large store the other day and almost had a heart attack when i approached the meat section to see prime graded rib eyes that actually had the "eye" cut out of them. honestly i thought about it and couldnt even figure out how i would cook it (it wouldve fallen apart on the grill). i am 100% positive that the removal was due to the feedback from customers much like we had at the restaurant. an absolute disrespect to the animal that lost its life for the steak and the people who raised, cared for, harvested, transported, and butchered this animal.
my all time favorite steak pairing is avocado, and my favorite steak to do that with is a rib-eye. you see by taking the fattiest cut of beef money can buy, and then using the fattiest piece of produce money can buy, you basically can send a guest or customer into fat overload. when fat hits your tongue it coats it, leaving the taste of what you just had to linger on your palate for longer (think of a really good cheese, or salami and how you can still taste it 30 minutes later) by grilling a nice rib-eye then coating it in a puree of avocado, my hope (it works) is that i can send a guest to the parking lot still smacking their lips together while all that charred, fatty, meaty goodness just hangs out. its the meal that keeps on giving.
(the pictured prime ribs look darker than they are. roasted to a perfect 105 degrees, one of them is at least 4 pounds lighter than the other, causing a whole other problem for roasting)