June 29, 2006

Of prime concern

The recent news that a second high-end restaurant was finally going to open in the former Blue Ribbon space got me thinking.

If over-priced restaurants aren't your thing, you could do as I do. Just go to Jerry's Market, tucked away in a residential neighborhood at 1609 17th Street, Moline, and get yourself a real, live, USDA Prime grade roast or your favorite steak cut to order. (for those of you who care, Jerry's sells wet aged beef, as opposed to dry aged, which is arguably better but more costly due to the fact that dry aging results in about 18% weight loss due to loss of moisture (which concentrates the flavor) and requires extra trimming. More here.)

Prime Rib is probably my all-time favorite dish, and Prime roast at Jerry's went for $11/lb last time I was there, but that's cheap compared to this place. (someday, I'll indulge my fantasy and buy a Wagu roast) The roast pictured above was about 9 lbs.

Have Jerry cut the ribs off of the roast and tie them back on. You cook the roast with them on for flavor, and it saves you the trouble of cutting them off a huge roast before carving. I always ask for a nice layer of fluffy fat to be tied on the top of the roast. Don't think that's gross. It bastes the roast and provides flavor, and there is nothing more delicious than the thin layer of seasoned, perfectly browned fat when the roast is finished.

Rub the roast with good olive oil, coarse salt and some fresh ground Tellicherry pepper, tuck a few cloves of garlic into slits if you like, (or inject some marinade with an food syringe. (Try simmering some garlic and rosemary and/or taragon and a touch of good burgundy wine in some beef stock until it's really concentrated, then strain.) stick in a good meat thermometer, put the thing in a rack in a thick 3" deep roasting pan, crank up the oven to about 450, and sear that sucker for about 25 minutes per pound, then cut back the heat to 325, and cook until medium rare. (or more done, if you have no appreciation for flavor.)

Pull the roast out when the thermometer says it's done, let it rest for a half hour or so to resorb the juices, take off the ribs, and then whip out your carving knife and have at it. (of course, you can also make some outstanding gravy out of the drippings, if you'd like)

And you can feast on the left-overs for days. Nothing like fresh sliced prime rib sandwiches. MMMMMMMMMM.

Another method I've tried calls for heating up a cast iron skillet VERY hot and then searing all sides of the roast before putting it in the oven. This works... as far as searing goes, but it fills your kitchen with smoke unless you have an industrial strength exhaust fan, and unless you want to hold the roast while is sizzles and smokes for some time, the sear doesn't go too deep. I've found that I prefer the over seared method.

Just don't open the oven during the searing phase or smoke will instantly start billowing out of the oven, setting off your smoke alarms and kind of putting unecessary stress into what should be a pleasurable task.

The oven searing should produce a nice flavorful browned outer layer on the roast, and allow more of the inside to remain medium rare. Rather than a gradual change from very done on the outside to rare in the middle, it creates about a 3/4 inch layer of medium well on the outside and a perfect, moist medium rare throughout the center if done right. (the injected stock helps add flavor and moistness as well)

I like to have Prime Rib with mashed potatoes (with a dose of heavy cream, a dab of mayo and sour cream) and some fresh cut green beans with white sauce or maybe some asparagus with bearnaise. Stuff that couldn't be simpler, but are really good.

Needless to say, those of you who are very afraid for your health and subsist on sprouts and tofu will want to steer clear of this meal. It's sort of a heart attack on a plate. (If you eat it every night for a few years) But hell, if you can't enjoy it now, you sure won't be able to after you've kicked the bucket. If I were a condemned prisoner, I think I'd have Prime Rib and all the fixin's for my last meal.

Which allows me to end with this question:

What would YOU order for your last meal?


At 7/03/2006 9:42 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

I am with you on Jerrys Market. Excellent meat for grilling.

Just enjoyed some myself!

At 7/03/2006 3:19 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

OK, but what's on your menu for the 4th?

Here at Casa Dook it's Kotopoulo Riganato tis skaras (grilled chicken oregano) and a green bean salad with green beans from the Casa Dook garden.

What's on your menu for tomorrow?

At 7/03/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Normally, I'd probably swing through Hardees and make a snap judgement at the speaker as to what I'd like, (sometimes very hard when nothing looks good) but I just happened to get back from the store with a side of back ribs and a porterhouse. This means there's meat in the house.

I hate to let stuff like that spoil (too much), so I imagine I'll have to break out the smoker, get a good charcoal fire going under a pan full of 1/4 apple juice, 1/4 water, and 1/2 orange juice, with some orange slices tossed in, throw some well soaked hickory chips and a few hunks of mesquite onto the coals. Apple wood works well with pork too. And if you don't want to throw the chips directly on the coals, you can wrap 'em in an aluminum foil envelope, poke some holes in it and toss that on. Works well.

Then put on a side of back ribs (pork, of course) brushed with some toasted sesame oil over the pan of citrus juice and out of direct heat, shut the door and let 'em smoke low and slow for two or three hours. (maybe more)

Then mop on some Jim's hot sauce in the last few minutes, let that carmelize a bit and .....

Indulge until I'm sitting there in an animalistic daze, sauce on my face and hands and that warm, weird, and wonderful buzz you get from eating lots of smoked ribs smothered in Jim's hot sauce.

After a proper time to enjoy it, I'll eventually recover and come to my senses, wash up and probably take a nap until the fireworks wake me up.

And no, I'm not sharing. ;-)


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