I have a 4 lb cross rib roast and some questions
A friend gave me a frozen 4lb cross rib roast from a cow share they had bought, and i'm not sure what to do with it. I'm assuming I should roast it (new territory for me), but I'm open to braising and other cooking methods. The questions:
Can I easily split this down into two portions while frozen, so I can leave one in the freezer (I live alone), or would I need a power saw?
How long should I leave it to thaw in the fridge?
Any marinade suggestions? Jim H suggested this one:
but I'd like to try something a little more Euro. How long should I leave it to marinade?
Finally, should I follow the Cooks Illustrated method for cooking nicer roasts (prime rib) at low temp, or is there a way I can do this without a roasting pan? (I don't have one).
I do mine in my gas grill on a rack over a pan of beef stock for au jus. I season all over with lots of garlic, pepper & thyme, pull it out at 120 degrees and let it rest before slicing very thin. I've done the same in the oven, start out at a high temp (425) until it is nice and brown then reduce to 325 until done. If you have to do the whole roast I've also frozen left over roast and reheated wrapped in foil in a low oven or sliced thawed roast thinly for french dips or hot beef sandwiches.
Seems like there's two ways to go with this, either braised as for pot roast, or slow roasted, like 200* style slow roasted. A cross rib roast is a tougher cut of meat than a prime rib, and is not actually a rib roast anyway, it's chuck, shoulder clod, it has many names, as is usual for cuts of meat. If you roast, you should plan not to cook it much past medium rare, for maximum tenderness, about 140*, less for rare. If you prefer your meat well done, braising it pot roast style is your option.
Cutting frozen meat usually requires a hacksaw, upper body strength and time, not necessarily a power saw ;-) unless you have access to a band saw.
However you cook this cut you'll have shrinkage and won't get a 4 lb yield. I suggest cooking the whole thing, however you choose to do it, then portioning and freezing the leftovers for later sandwich use, rather than try to cut the roast while frozen.
A 4 lb roast should easily defrost overnight in the frig. You can give the defrosting a head start by leaving it out for a few hours without any detrimental effect.
I don't know if you need a marinade for roasting, as this roast has some flavor, but a nice rub (if you're planning to roast) would include kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, thyme, garlic, and some dijon mustard. Insert numerous garlic slivers into the meat, rub on your seasoning and slather with mustard, top with bread crumbs and chopped parsley, as for a rack of lamb. I'd turn the heat up a bit towards the end of cooking, just to get a nice exterior crust. Old school but pretty Euro.
To marinade for braising, use any good pot roast style marinade, preferably one with red wine, garlic, thyme, bay, onion, carrot and peppercorns. A 4 lb roast is not going to marinate through, but you'll have nice flavor if you marinate it at least overnight, to up to 2 days, turning occasionally.
You can use a sheet pan (cookie sheet with a lip) to roast on, or buy a use-and-toss aluminum roasting pan Obviously, you'll need a dutch oven if you braise.
This cut, being chuck, has really good flavor and slow roasted, should be pretty tender, not filet or prime rib tender, but sliced thinly it'll be very good. I really can't tell you what I would recommend for this, maybe marinating and braising, but it's up to you.
Let us know how it comes out. Hopefully your roast came from a young tender heifer cow.