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Prime Rib Question

  • b

I understand that a Prime Rib Roast cut from the back end, which consists of ribs 9-12 (also called "the first four ribs" for some reason) contains the largest part of the eye muscle and is the most desirable. Ribs 6-9 then, while still an excellent piece of meat, is a little fattier, less regularly formed, and not quite as tender.

I'm having 15 people for Christmas dinner. Is there enough of a difference in the two cuts described above that I should get 2 of the 9-12 roasts? Or should I just get 1 6-12?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated before I re-mortgage the house to buy it.

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  1. It's all good. Because the two halves would not be quite the same size, you might have a more difficult time timing the roasts simultaneously, and would have to spend a bit more time searing them (two more end-sides than if whole). I would imagine you get better control if whole. Besides, it would look much more impressive.

    1. I agree with Karl that one large one will be easier to handle and more impressive-looking, assuming you have a large enough oven and roasting pan to accomodate.

      (BTW, are you sure that 6 ribs is enough for 15 people? I usually allocate 1 rib per 2 people...)

      The one thing, in my experience, that you have to watch out for on the larger roasts is that the bigger the piece of meat, the more carryover cooking. For 6 ribs, you're looking at like 15 degrees' worth, at least. You'll need to factor that in when planning your cooking time.

      5 Replies
      1. re: dude

        And that means the longer the time you need to take it out of the fridge before cooking it. Maybe 3 hours? 3 hours is often recommended for a half leg of lamb, and I would think a large rib roast would be similar.

        1. re: Karl S.

          I never even thought about leaving out more than an hour- good idea.

          1. re: dude

            As you know, after-cooking is inversely correlated with the amount of time given to remove the chill before cooking. So more of the latter gives you more control of the former.

            1. re: Karl S.

              Well now I do! Thanks. That's my non-work-related thing learned for the day!

        2. re: dude

          good point about the substantial carryover with a larger piece of meat....this is also affected by the temperature at which the meat is cooked. the higher you cook at the more you have to deal with carryover. I'm a fan of low temperature cooking - cooking the roast at 250* will result in less carryover than if you cook it at 375* Added bonuses are less shrinkage, more tender meat and if your schedule for dinner changes you have a bigger window of optimum serving temperature.

        3. While a whole roast would look impressive, it is not the same size throughout. One end is narrower than the other, which means the narrower end will be ready before the bigger end. Julia Child suggests ordering two roasts for a large group,ordering each of them to be from the "small end", which is (I guess) what you are saying ribs 9 through 12 are. This would give you 8 ribs, which should be fine for 15 people.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jeremy Newel

            Point well taken, however the benefit to this sort of situation is that some of the meat will be on the medium-well side and some on the medium-rare side. So various guests will be able to have servings cooked to their liking.

            1. re: Dorothy

              All well and good if some of the partakers like medium well done beef. That sort of partaker doesn't exist in our family. We have only rare and medium rare partakers, so need a roast of more uniform size. Whatever works!