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Slow roasting vs. searing for rib steak/roast?

Hey Guys,
I am planning to serve a grass fed standing rib roast for my annual New Year's dinner. I am choosing between a couple of suppliers who have been producing superb grass fed beef all year. (I have spent about 6 months working on cooking grass fed beef effectively and I am set on using a grass fed product for a lot of reasons so I'm not looking for a corn fed vs. grass fed discussion here).

Anyway, I found both rib steaks to be slightly tough but I've been told that an identical cut will be more tender when slow roasted than when it is seared in a skillet. That never occurred to me but I guess meats of all kinds are often more tender when they are slow roasted than when they are pan seared in steak form.

I guess I'm wondering if you guys have noticed a differences between say, a seared rib steak vs a rib roast, or a filet mignon vs. a tenderloin roast. You guys get the idea. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Thank you. This is really helpful. What are your thoughts?

    2. Make sure the roast is at room temperature before cooking. Make sure your sear is super hot so that it only lasts for seconds per side, then slow roast with lots of moisture. You'll be as tender as possible. Certain cuts can only get so tender.

      1. Jeremy:
        A seared-slow-cooked steak--cooked with some type of moisture--like putting a cover on the pan will come out like like pot roast. The crust on the outside of the steak will be soft and not crispy. Try coating the steaks in a generous amt of olive oil. Cook them in an extremely hot cast iron pan in a very hot oven. Good luck.

        1. I've done a 3-rib roast twice and both times it came out perfectly cooked to med-rare.

          Ideally it's good to have a meat themometer probe with a remote that will beep at you when a specified temperature has been reached.

          I saw this on one of Ina Garten's programs.

          After oiling and coating with lots of s&p, blast the roast (bone-side down) at 500 degrees for 45 min. Then turn the oven down to 325 and roast for another 30 min., then back up to 450 for 15 - 30 min - until the roast reaches 125. You MUST have a meat themometer to ensure the proper doneness. Remove, cover and let rest for 20 min. Note: The meat will continue to cook even after the 20 min, so it needs to be sliced once it reaches your desired doneness; or at least remove it from the blazing hot, oven-like bone.

          Side note: Have you butcher remove the bone then tie it back on. It allows for cooking with the bone to keep in the moistness and flavor, but after cooking knife skills and slicing is made so much earsier - unless of course, you plan to serve the meat "on the bone".

          2 Replies
          1. re: CocoaNut

            CocoaNut, you absolutely KNOW what you're talking about. You've successfully debunked the usual myths about "searing in the juices" and adding liquid to the pan to make the meat juicy. And your techniques for handling and roasting are impeccable. Listen to this chef, folks!

          2. Congrats on doing a grass fed roast. They are the best, most natural beef product out there in my opinion.

            On a large roast like that, searing will not have much, if any, impact on tenderness. The searing is to start the browning process and add flavor. You don't want to roast with moisture touching the meat, you want it elevated on a rack like a turkey. We're not braising a standing rib roast here and if you are, I'll personally come over and make fun of you for wasting time and money! ;-)

            Moisture in the pan will have negligible effect on the moisture content of the finished item, but it can prevent juices in the pan from over-browning (burning).

            When in the oven... Do. Not. Cover. Ever.

            Tenderness also is a result of intramuscular fat. Grass fed beef has fat, but not much, and especially minimal intramuscular fat. Cooking grass fed beef to medium rare is as far as you should go. I very strongly support the use of a probe thermometer here. Also room temp beef is a very important aspect. And when I say room temp, I mean take the thing out of the fridge and let it sit for 4 hours. This roast is far too nice to overcook on such a celebratory day!

            1. For me, the Delmonico/Rib Steak is the most flavorful and desired cut of meat. If you have found your steaks to be tough, it's possible you simply got some bad beef.....or you may have not allowed the meat to rest so the juices could redistribute throughout the steak. Whenever I cook Delmonico steaks, I prefer it to be a large thick cut of 1.5 inches minimum to 2.5-3.0 inches if it is for more than one serving. The steak is seared in the pan, but always finished in the oven.

              For the holidays, in my home, we always have a slow roasted rib roast cooked @ 225*. This method works well for both beef and pork roasts of any kind.....and also legs of lamb. I have cooked this way for years and have never experienced a poor result. Lamb Racks, Filet Mignon Cuts and Tenderloin Roast, I prefer high heat cooking.

              For seasoning.......Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper the crust.......I tried all the fancy recipes including: Fresh Herbs, Garlic, Horseradish and Cajun........the simple Salt and Pepper Crusted Roast was always the consensus favorite, so no more experiments.

              1. Thanks you guys. These tips are all helpful. I've made many rib roasts and I agree that the slow roasting (maybe after an oven sear) is a good idea. I will make sure to take the roast out long before cooking to make sure it comes up to room temperature.

                I've never overcooked a rib roast but I've never made a grass fed roast this large. I will probably watch it a lot more carefully as I've found grass fed steaks cook in about half the time of their grain fed counterparts.

                I also love the advice about keeping the outside simple. Never underestimate Kosher saly and cracked pepper.

                Thanks again.


                1 Reply
                1. re: JeremyEG

                  Sounds like you've got it under control. I'm a big fan of grass fed myself and you're right, the fat content (or lack thereof) makes it cook rather quickly. As long as you watch that probe thermometer, you'll be fine.