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Dec 8, 2008 08:45 PM

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!