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Jus and other sauces for Prime Rib

Ordered bone-in prime rib for holiday dinner and decided on Cook's Illustrated low and slow cooking method, which is supposed to keep the juices in.

But how do I make au jus with no juices?! (Honestly, I'm not sure how even with the juices unless I get a mix which doesn't sound very Chow, now does it?)

Also, I've made the horseradish cream before (I think it was just horseradish and sour cream) but it didn't go over that big. Does fresh ground horseradish make a huge difference? Any other suggestions for making the horseradish sauce?

Or maybe some other sauce to serve with it?

I think I'm just going to do plain baked potatoes and a green salad so I could do something a little richer than au jus but generally my family likes things that are familiar and I'll have to have au jus.

Thanks in advance, guys!

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  1. My first post on Chow!

    Sometimes to increase my au jus I will add meat to the roasting pan, normally shank. Then to deepen the au jus I do add a bit of quality beef base. The beef base trick is something I can not give up as it just makes the beefiness explode.

    As for the horseradish sauce I like to add a bit of mayo, normally 1 part mayo to 4 parts sour cream, and a dash or two of worcestershire. This rounds the flavors out a bit without losing that nice horseradish bite.

    The meal sounds fantastic! What time we eating?

    1 Reply
    1. re: gbque

      And a great post it is!

      So maybe I should call the butcher back and ask for a shank to throw in as well.

      Also my grocery store has beef base but not sure how good the quality is.

      So do you just use the prepared horseradish for your sauce? I can't remember if mine had mayo in it before or not but if not, it should.

      I'm thinking sticky toffee pudding for dessert. So yeah, come on down!

      Thanks for the helpful reply!

    2. 'Au jus' just means 'with juice', it isn't a sauce. So I am confused by the question. Do you want the meat to render more juice?

      8 Replies
      1. re: Peg

        Well, I guess I misspoke calling it a sauce - I suppose I call any juicy wet thing you eat with something else a "sauce."

        And no I really don't want it to render more juice because then the meat will be less juicy. But I'm concerned about having enough drippings to make the au jus.

        1. re: Bliss149

          The 'sauce' you are referring to is called "jus" -- the French word for juice (the word "au" simply means 'with'), which I think is Peg's point.

          That said -- I often extend my pan juices with white or red wine, sometimes mount with butter or add a touch of light cream and/or mustard depending on the meat.

          I've made a port wine fig reduction from mostly ... well, port wine and fig jam, with a bit of duck jus mixed in.

          1. re: linguafood

            Okay - jus not au jus. I will edit the title.

            So i can:
            1. get more juices by adding a shank to the pan while I could the prime rib
            2. make high quality stock ahead of time using beef bones, celery, etc.
            3. extend existing juices with wine, butter, and/or light cream if needed

            This is all becoming clearer.

            1. re: Bliss149


              I am concerned with the 'low & slow" you will not get a lot of juices from a shank either. you may want to roast that seperately a day ahead with a rough chopped carrot, onion, celery, a few cloves of garlic. Then deglaze that mixture after deeply browned with some white wine, put all into a stock pot for a while with some water and good beef base (better than buillion is always in my fridge), and use that to give you Jus for your roast.

        2. re: Peg

          A lot of restaurants serve a 'jus' that is in fact a constructed sauce mixed with meat drippings. Gbque's answer was pretty reasonable.

          A good homemade beef stock is pretty clutch for making a high quality jus. Take a look at this thread:

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Thanks for the link. I did do a search before posting but didn't find this link which I needed.

          2. re: Peg

            Peg - I think Americans often refer to "au jus" in the way that we Britons might just refer to "jus" (if we're wanting to use a French phrase) or, even, "gravy" made from the pan juices (if we're not wanting to use a French phrase).

            1. re: Harters

              Not this American. It is correctly "jus" in our family.

          3. My Horseradish sauce is made with processed horseradish that is squeezed dry in paper towels. Add 1 cup cream, whipped to a fine stiffness, 1/4 tsp. white pepper and 2 T red wine vinegar. Fold all together to form a stiff spread. Chill and serve slathered on your beef slices. This is from an old British cookbook and it really makes a terrrific addition to roast beef. Also, I can recommend " More than Gourmet" bases for your au jus. They're expensive, but the best on the market, imo as they don't kill you with salt. What time did you say dinner will be served?????

            1 Reply
            1. re: amazinc

              Squeezed dry in paper towels! And real whipped cream. Oh, this is sounding yummy!

            2. What about good old American gravy? Pour pan drippings into fat separator, add some fat back to pan over medium heat, add flour to make a roux, Turn off heat, whisk in appropriate amount of water, turn heat back on, whisk, being certain to scrape up fond, season with s&p. This is what my mother always served with standing rib, and the only change I've made is to pass a dish of freshly grated horseradish for those who like it (I do).

              1 Reply
              1. re: pikawicca

                Oh we are way too fancy for gravy, pikawicca.

                Just kidding of course, I'm so dumb I've been saying "pass the au jus please" and "Do you want some au jus with that?"

              2. For a great au jus - cut up some onions, carrots and mushrooms and put in pan with roast. Add some port and beef broth and a piece of bone with marrow. Roast as usual and keep replenishing the liquid with beef stock as it dries out. Strain and de-fat - makes a great, rich au jus.

                4 Replies
                  1. re: Bliss149

                    It makes an amazingly rich au jus - it is a great classic accompaniment to a prime rib.

                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                      It sounds amazing. I'll have to make it this weekend with some free range beef bones that are taking up space in the deep freeze!

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        Wincountry is right on; secret is deep browning and the marrow bones! The marrow ads geletin and richness without heaviness so your Jus has great body without you having to 'thicken' it - Yum!

                  2. I've used fresh horseradish mixed with sour cream the past two years. My guests did not like it as well as the horseradish in the jars. I tend to agree. I don't think really great rib roast needs a sauce.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Rhee

                      "My guests did not like it as well as the horseradish in the jars. I tend to agree."

                      I find that amazing. It is almost mandated that I only serve freshly ground root. Regardless of who is in the crowd, the fresh horseradish is vigorously consumed. Personally, I can't get enough of it.* Requests for the leftovers are the norm.

                      It is worth noting that not all fresh roots are equal and those that have been sitting around too long will lose pungency. The horseradish should not be soft to the touch. I believe the flavor is stronger when grated by hand and the addition of a small amount of vinegar helps to "trigger" the heat.

                      *Admittedly, I typically serve it plain, simply adding a few drips of white vinegar and salt, but even in a sauce it's intensity is overwhelmingly preferred to the jarred version.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        I may have to try this...what do you grate it on?

                        And you add just a touch of like a white wine vinegar to it? Salt?

                        1. re: Bliss149

                          I use either a microplane or the finest side of a box grater. I add white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would be fine too. I prefer the white for neutrality and color. A pinch or so of coarse sea salt is added before stirring and then I let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes tightly covered with plastic wrap. I tend to judge by taste more than measurements.

                    2. Lotsa good idears above.

                      I was in a pinch, serving roast beef, but with no au jus. I simply did not prepare for it.

                      So I turned to a buddy (I call him "small dice" since he sliced off the end his little finger when dicing veggies for me - but thats another story...) who was trained as a chef in a previous life.

                      "No problem, just get me beef base, garlic powder, and black jack." (black jack was his term for gravy browning, like this http://i.ebayimg.com/t/GRACE-JAMAICAN...).

                      So he boiled water, added beef baste to his liking, added garlic powder to taste (background note), and darkened with gravy browning liquid

                      "voila, au jus"

                      Can you get a more complex flavor profile from pan juices? or from boiling roasted beef bones? or sauteing finely diced shallots in the roast pan followed by deglazing with red wine and beef broth? Yes, yes, and yes. By all means do this!
                      However, in a pinch, almost any jus'll do.

                      I repeated his method a few times, adding Montreal steak spice to the boiling water before the beef base (straining it out later) and beef Bovril before the black jack. I also thickened this mix sometimes with a starch mix if I wanted more of a gravy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: porker

                        Good to know and probably a lot better than the McCormick's packet.

                        Any Jus'll Do LOL

                      2. I keep it simple-2 parts beef stock(the boxed kind is fine,just make sure it is stock and not broth) to one part red wine. The roast is on a rack in the pan, so the liquid reduces nicely. Replenish liquid a couple of times as it reduces. The meat juices and a bit of salt and pepper from the rub flavors it nicely.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sherriberry

                          So you put this in the pan with the meat? Then you just pour it up and serve? This seems like the easiest of all possible ways.

                          1. re: Bliss149

                            exactly. I actually got the idea from an emeril lagasse recipe on the food network web site. never had any complaints. the early reducing of the liquids lends a deep flavor to the jus.i'd provide a link, but am hopelessly inept w/ such things.

                        2. I made prime rib for Thanksgiving dinner and served horseradish sauce with it that everyone enjoyed. I used about 1/4 cup prepared horseradish, 3/4 cup sour cream, a generous dash of hot sauce, a pinch of salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. I may have also added a squeeze of lemon -- I don't recall if I did or not. We like the burn of the horseradish, so I made the sauce fairly strong. I didn't make jus on the side though -- it's not a must have for us with prime rib, and I also used a low heat method that kept the juices in the meat and not in the roasting pan.

                            1. For excellent jus without artificial enhancement, I make rich beef stock in advance and freeze it. After the roast has been removed from the pan, add the homemade stock and reduce it while stirring up the browned bits, if you have any. Flavor with a bit of fresh minced garlic, freshly ground pepper, and a splash of soy sauce - this will give you the classic jus flavor from the old-time fancy steakhouses. Degrease as needed/desired.

                              The other suggestions here which include things like mushrooms, veg, red wine, etc., look great as well. I'm not a fan of beef bases, dry seasoning mixes, etc. - these to me are an insult to a delicious, expensive cut of meat on the holiday table.

                              1. We just had prime rib last night for dinner (only $8.99/lb at Costco!). We made a horseradish cream, jarred horseradish, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a touch of dijon mustard. The cream sauce tastes better if you can let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.

                                1. For the real thing, have on hand some home made beef stock. (You do have some in the freezer, right?) Sauté three minced shallots in oil (or in fat from your roasting pan if there is some,) until soft then add two cloves of garlic paste for 30 seconds. Add one-half cup of red wine. (I like those little bottles that come in a four-pack at the supermarket.) Reduce until the skillet is almost dry, then add 1 1/2 cups of beef stock. Reduce to one cup. Mount 5 tablespoons of butter, one at a time. Serve. One cup doesn't sound like a lot, but this is a sauce; you are not serving soup.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: richshewmaker

                                    This is basically what we do at home so the roast really just adds a few tbsps of fat but the rest is stock and wine.