Okay, so this post isn’t about lions, but it is about Bunneh and one of his forays into cooking large pieces of meat (Even though we are working hard at adding more vegetarian meals to our rotation, there are days when a good steak is a happy thing). This is one of Bunneh’s favorite past times and he’s really good at it.
In this case he worked up a standing rib roast, which cooked breaks down into a boneless prime rib cut and some meaty ribs for him…for a snack later usually. We purchased our roast from the butcher at our local Fresh Market and Bunneh started the dry aging process six days before we planned to cook the roast. Dry aging is a great technique to use on a good piece of meat as it allows for a richer flavor as the water evaporates and natural enzymes go to work on connective tissues to create a more tender final product. You do want to be careful in home application of dry aging as you need to keep your meat refrigerated and control the level of humidity it is exposed to. Drying for too long can result in outer surface molding and trim loss, so generally should not be done at home for more than a week.
In our process Bunneh sets up a cookie tray and covers it with paper towels. On top of this he sets a cooling tray and then the piece of meat in question. Paper towels are also arranged on top of the meat and the whole thing is put on a low rack in the refrigerator. He changes out the towels on a daily basis and checks the meat for any signs of inappropriate decay or temperature change.
Once the beef is properly aged it is brought to room temperature before being salted and put in a large roasting pan and into a slow 250 degree oven. The roast stays in this slow oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 128. Bunneh uses a probe thermometer and keeps a close eye on the temperature through this process. At 118 he removes the meat and allows it to rest for 15 minutes and the carry over heat to continue to raise the internal temperature. Then the oven is cranked up to 500 and the beef goes back in to carmelize the outside crust and complete the cooking. The final temperature should be between 135 to 140 for a nice medium rare finish.
Bunneh then removes the rib pieces, which pretty much fall off with a gentle tug, and slices with his electric knife, one of his new favorite toys. We served the beef up with garden green beans, a potato and sweet potato puree and a little bit of gravy made from the pan scrapings and Ultra Gel. It was definitely one of the winning meals this vacation!