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“In our prime”: It’s National Prime Rib Day Today.

Prime rib for some prime people

by Alexander Quebec

The current shelter-in-place has been a boon and a bust in several different ways. I am now encouraged to go to restaurants to both try some new things and support a small business from going under. However, there are some foods out there that take out does not do justice for; most notably, prime rib being one of those foods (which I enjoy when dining out). I eagerly await for the time where there’s a less restrictive ban on dining out (let’s face it, Covid-19 isn’t going to go away overnight, and I’m trying not to get sick).

For those of you who are pointing out this is a Monday, and therefore a meatless Monday post is in order, here’s a vegan version of prime rib, have at it.

wikipedia.com

Prime rib, also known as a “standing rib roast”, actually comes from the rib cage as one of the primal (or first) cuts of beef once a cow has been slaughtered. It can contain anywhere from two to seven rib sections. The name “standing rib roast” comes from the tradition of cooking the ribs with the ribs “standing” up the cut, with the meat not touching the pan. Many times, a brine solution or a crust is left on the roast while it roasts in the oven.

After the meat has been cut, most places will dry age it to dehydrate the cut of meat, which will intensify the flavor. The meat can be dry aged anywhere from a few days up to a week, perhaps even more. The good news for most home chefs is that there are ways to do with just your refrigerator, cheesecloth and patience. When it’s time to cook, there are many ways to cook the meat, (roasting and grilling are the most popular two), but there are adventurous souls in the world exploring new ways to make and cook this delight, although a vegan approach to this cut seems well…sacrilegious.

A slab of prime rib before and after dry aging
Finecooking.com

I just so happened to have an expert on the topic, Owner Chef Julian Yeo of Straits restaurant in San Jose   who made a few recommendations on how to cook your own at home.

  • Low and slow is always the way to go (Cooking at a low temp for a long time, usually a few hours based on some recipes I’ve found online)
  • One method he recommended was to use an immersion circulator (the sous vide method that’s all the rage right now) and to broil it for the last 20 mins
  • A dry aging method using koji rice that allows you to get the benefits of dry-aging it for a long period of time in only a matter of days

I honestly don’t remember where I had my first prime rib, but I remember that it wasn’t that great. I’ve actually done some “research” on which chain restaurant had the best prime rib and have found that the actual, smaller owned operations have had the best prime rib out there. In my opinion, a chain restaurant is focused solely on metrics and turnover, which oftentimes means the meat isn’t the best they could offer. I do remember that my first time having it at a more upscale restaurant was great. I love the fattier cuts of beef that are a bit red on the inside with a hint of the crust still lingering on the skin.

The sides also make the meal too, after wall, what was Beyonce without Kelly and Michelle? I enjoy a creamy side like creamed spinach or corn with potatoes of some kind, and a piece of Yorkshire pudding to soak up all the juices.

When this whole thing is over, and I can go back to dining in, the first place I’ll be going to would be a place for some prime rib. The San Francisco staple House of Prime Rib will be out of the question for the moment, as I am sure the restaurant will be swamped with fellow carnivores looking to get their fix. Either way, to enjoy prime rib, the most important thing you need is patience.

Thanks to Julian Yeo, Owner and Chef of Straits Restaurant at Santana Row for his contribution. No chefs or owners were harmed in the making of this article.

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