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Dec 23, 2011 09:15 AM

Standing Rib Roast ; Another Vote For "low and slow"

I've cooked 2 or 3 standing rib roasts for Christmas dinner for well over 10 years now. I typically buy 2-3 roasts from the small end about 6-9 pounds each--depending on how many we are feeding (usually 10 or more). I ask in advance who like med rare, medium, or med-well. I over buy because we all like left overs. I buy the roasts 3-4 days before Christmas and dry age them in my beverage fridge in the bottom drawer on a backing rack over a bed of rock salt at 33-36 degrees. I but a couple of my wine fridge thermometers in thbe fridge to make sure I hold that low temperature without freezing the meat.

The afternoon before cooking, I turn the temp up to about 45 to start warming the meat toward room temperature. I get up early and take the meat out to continue warming it to room temp.

I rub the meat with olive oil and season it with fresh ground black pepper, rock salt, a little crushed garlic, a sprig of rosemary and thyme, and a couple sage leaves and place them on a rack in a large uncovered shallow roasting pan.

I insert electric meat thermometers in each roast and start roasting them at 200 degrees and plan for approximately 50 minutes per pound to get medium rare.

I target 123 degrees for med rare, 138 degrees for medium and 150 for medium well (too well). The roasts go in at about 7:30 AM for a 6 PM dinner. I plot the temperatures ever hour to see if I'm on track based upon a spread sheet from the last 5 years. Note that the temp raises much faster per hour in the early hours and then much slower in the later hours.changes ( a function of thermal dynamics and the delta between the meat and oven temperature)

Anyway, don't panic if it appears to go up too fast. As each roast reaches it's goal temp, I take them out a rap them with two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil to rest. Note that the core temp will continue to rise 5-8 degrees, and then start very slowly dropping (not to worry if dinner is still 2 hours away).

After all the roasts are done and rested at least 30 minutes and about and hour from dinner, all go back into my oven at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes or until my kitchen smoke alarm gos off. By then they are all ver dark brown on the outside, but uniformly perfect throughout the center.

I rap them back in their aluminum foil to rest until sliced for dinner. My wife makes a great gravy at this point in the roasting pan by deglazing it with red wine and beef broth.

Hope this works for you.


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  1. Thanks, Craiglv. I am just getting ready to cook 2 roasts for the first time. I was trying to figure out whether I plan my cook time based on total weight or on each individual roast's weight (I understand that temp is what matters but you do have to have a plan for time). You indicate you put them in at 7:30a for 6p dinner and you plan for 50 minutes per lb. It isn't clear to me whether you are really allowing for 10.5 hours cooking time or you put them in early to ensure they are ready and you use a lot of standing time (it looks more like the latter). I am hoping you or fourunder can tell me an estimated cook time for 2 roasts, 1 is 6.18#, the other is 7.4#. You both have posted really helpful tips.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ninaburrell


      Some questions....

      * what time is dinner

      * what temperature would you like to roast at 225 or 250.....I recommend 225

      * what temperature are you shooting for for each roast rare, medium-rare or medium...I remove at 118-122 for medium-rare

      * will you need to free up the oven for sides...and how long will you be able to rest the meat during holdover time.......I have found resting 30-60 minutes, warming up In the oven for 20 minutes at 250 after resting and a high heat blast for 5-8 minutes @ 450-500 for 5-10 minutes (smaller roasts) improves the tenderness and results in almost zero bleeding when sliced.

      * generally, the second roast can usually increase the cooking time 30-60 minutes more than a single roast. There are variables to consider, e.g. size of roasts, bones fitting together in the oven and accuracy of the oven.

      Alto-Shaam, a major player of low temperature ovens
      says you would calculate 10 minutes per pound for the first roast (75 minutes) and 30 minutes per pound for the second (180) for a total of 255 divided by 60 = 4.25 hours @ 250*.....

      Hold Temperature setting: 140 deg F
      Cook Temperature setting: 250 deg F
      Timer Setting: 10 minutes per pound for the first roast and 30 minutes for each additional roast
      Final Internal Temp: 130 deg F

      if you roast at 225, expect an additional 45-60 minutes, but start monitoring closely one hour before your expected target temperature. I would expect to go 4.5-5.5 hours roasting time with a one hour holdover resting period, warm up for 20 and a 10 minute high heat blast....for a total 6-7 hour process.

      Try to have as much separation as possible between your two roasts for best air and heat circulation.

      Rotate your roasts halfway through cooking time to ensure even cooking.

      * If you have not done so yet, remove your roasts from the refrigerator now.

      1. re: fourunder

        Thanks for all the great tips. I did take my roasts out this morning earlier. Dinner is about 6:30 and I am cooking at 225. I am shooting for medium rare and thought I had seen to take it out when it reached 128 but I will use your suggestion and take them out at 122. They went in at 11:00 and have been in 4.5 hours and the smaller one is about 122 now so I will take it out soon and let it stand. I think I started a little early so it will be standing more than 60 minutes when I go to reheat. I hope that doesn't totally mess things up. You have posted some great information and prompted others to do the same.

    2. Craig,

      Nice job and thanks for sharing.

      1. After thoroughly reviewing all of last year's temp data and notes, I'm cooking this year's roast slightly different. The medium-rare 9 pound roast is cooking for approx 7.5 hours at 200 until 127 degrees. The med-well7.5 pound roast is cooking about 8.5 hours or until 142 degrees (my notes say this was perfectly med-well last year). Based upon last year's cooking time, I'm not sure my outdoor roaster/smoker is really at 200 degrees (may be a bit lower based upon the time it's taking). I bought a good oven thermometer to see what temp I'm really getting when set at 200. My bet is it's probably 10 degrees low.

        Note, the roasts went in at 7:30AM and are initially going up at about 15 degrees per hour (1st 2 hours). This rate of temp increase will slow considerably at the difference between the oven and meat temperature narrows..

        1 Reply
        1. re: Craiglv

          LOVE the data analysis. You MUST be an engineer or scientist.

        2. I would like to cook my 8.9 # Roast at 250 to medium rare
          I want to leave it out for about an hour, maybe less, then blast it at 500 for the 10 minutes;
          Very nervous.
          PLEASE ~ about how long will the roast take to reach temp ?
          I just need a close estimate.....
          Thanks in advance.

          I should add that I have been reading so many different recipes that
          I am going absolutely bonkers already !!!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: oooYUM

            On Christmas Eve I roasted a prime rib roast low and slow. It was a 11.5 lb roast. Brought it to room temp,it took about two hours. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, crushed garlic and olive oil. It rested on a bed of carrots, and onions. I roasted it at 225 and it took 4.5 hours to reach medium rare.
            I calculated that it would take about 5 hours to reach medium rare. I did a check with my temp thermometer at hour 4.25 and it was already at rare. I took it out double wrapped it in tin foil. It rested for an hour. In that time I did my sides. I put it back in the oven for a 500 blast for 8 min. Crust was perfect and the roast was very good. I wish I would have checked the temp earlier. I like the roast to be more towards rare, but it was still very pink and flavorful.

            1. re: Living4fun

              Weight is only one factor when calculating time. Other variables to consider ate bones, size and shape (flat as opposed to more rounded). A good rule to follow is to start checking the temperature of the roast one hour earlier than expected finish time. For medium-rare, many opinions like to pull the roast at 122-125....but like you, I prefer to pull closer to Rare, so I pull the roast at 118-122. rest, warm up and blast.

            2. re: oooYUM

              Start checking 2 hours and 45 minutes into roasting. At 250*, I use 20-22 minutes per pound as a guideline for a prime rib roast.

              Before cooking, I would estimate 3 hours to reach my target temperature.

            3. I love this thread about low and slow for evenly cooked roast with a crust. I would salt at least 1 day ahead of cooking to flavor and moisturize the meat to the center.

              1 Reply
              1. re: phantomdoc

                I do not recall where I read about the duration of the final high heat blast, possibly @ seriouseats, but my experience of 500-550 for anything more than 10 minutes caused the meat to bleed when sliced after a short 15-20 minute resting period.. When I held for 30 minutes, then blasted for 10, there was slight bleeding. At an hour resting , warmup for 20-30 minutes and then a blast for 10, there was zero bleeding. My preference is to follow the longer resting period, warmup and blast.