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Grissly Prime Rib - Method error or poor quality meat?

The first "prime" (actually choice) rib I made turned out wonderfully. I dry aged it a few days, rubbed with rosemary and garlic, and started with a 500 degree oven for twenty minutes. Turned the oven down to 200 until internal temp was about 125. It was a perfect pink from one end to the other and no chewy grissle.

The last two PR's I've bought have been grissly. If I start with a low oven and or just do low and slow the whole time, will that melt the chewy tissue? Or are these just poor quality roasts?

We like it a good medium rare from end to end. Will slow roasting provide that or will the ends be more cooked?

We're talking about a 3 rib roast, here. After last year I decided no more roasts for Christmas but here we are again and I'm craving it.

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  1. Sounds like everything you did was correct.....low and slow will not produce ends that are more cooked than the rest of the roast....except for the outer edges from searing or browning in the oven.

    Any connective tissue should melt ..or be soft to chew when it reaches 140*

    Here's a similar roast I made last year similar to your method and you can see the results in pictures.


    1. If you bring the meat up to a high enough temp to melt collagen/connective tissue, you'll have well done meat. I would assume your last two roasts have just not been of great quality. Prime rib will have some internal chunks of fat, but there shouldn't be a ton of gristle involved.

      1. There is no more gristle from 1 roast to another. Gristle is the fascia that surrounds each muscle. It is present in each and every rib section, regardless of grade or quality, in roughly the same places.

        A tougher rib can be identified by its color. The redder it is, the tougher it will be. That is a matter of age, the less age a beef primal has the tougher it is. Look for beef with a pale brick hue.

        As far as you "dry aging" your own meat, don't bother. You will see little benefit as true dry aging requires a whole primal with intact fat, near freezing temperature, high humidity, and weeks of time.

        End cuts will always be more "done" than cuts toward the center.

        1. I doubt your cooking had anything to do it. The gristle is present in the meat when purchased, and if it could be dissolved through long, slow cooking, it would take hours--like the amount of time it takes for a pot roast or pork shoulder. And one wouldn't wish that cooking treatment on a very expensive cut of meat. Just try to examine the meat more carefully at the market, or find another source. I experience the same thing with ribeye steaks, some have more gristle than others.

          3 Replies
          1. re: janniecooks

            I find that a rib roast from the chuck end has more gristle (fascia) - but it also has more fat, which is nice. In Paris I have come across a butcher who offered to remove it and then retied the roast expertly, so that it was super-easy to carve and eat later.
            At home I just tell my guests to eat around those bits...

            1. re: ZoeLouise

              Thank you! Always wondered why some ribeyes have so little gristle compared to others; is it appropriate to ask my grocery store meat department for the . . . what? What is the "opposite" of the rib roast from the chuck end? Do I ask for the first couple of ribs?

              1. re: janniecooks

                As far as I know, a rib roast goes from rib 6 through 14 and you start counting from the front of the animal. I don't know what the end opposite of the chuck would be called, but you can definitely see the difference and simply have the butcher cut your roast from the leaner end. This is also where the bones become shorter.

          2. Salt overnight, at least.

            1. Where did you buy them? I haven't sourced meat from them for several years, but I recall large cuts like prime rib and full tenderloins from places like Costco were often very poorly trimmed.

              1 Reply
              1. re: splatgirl

                I bought them at HEB. It's a very common grocer in Texas. Tons and tons of prewrapped prime (or choice) rib to be had. They have some dry aged stuff behind the counter as well as black angus in the refrigerated section and behind the counter as well. It gets kind of confusing sometimes.

                Thanks, Zoe for clarifying. It does seem, to my memory at least, that the two roasts with gristle had larger bones. I do remember thinking that, "Hmm, these bones seem bigger than the last ones."

                That info helps a lot. :-)

              2. The fat cap will have gristle & fat and can be chewy but to many folks its the best part of the roast.

                Generally speaking, younger "A" maturity animals will be more tender. The eye should be light cherry color with fine texturing & the fat should be white. Stay away from dark cherry colored meat , meat with a very coarse texture & fat that looks yellowish.

                Proper aging is also very important. Boxed beef is very efficient and it can arrive at the chain stores very quickly and then be cut up and sold before the enzymes have had the time to do their job. Ask what the box date is. I age my primals at least 3 weeks.

                If in doubt, try an independent butcher. They know what to look for and its their reputation on the line. If they can't put out a nice center cut standing rib roast they won't be there long.