In Merry Old England, a beef Standing Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pudding is a traditional Christmas dinner. In my home were we don’t stand on tradition very often, we serve this on New Year’s Day. The best method for preparing and cooking this pricey piece of meat comes from none other than Alton Brown. It is well worth the time to follow his instructions for the perfect Standing Rib Roast and, of course, Yorkshire Pudding.
This pricy cut is often misidentified as “prime rib,” and, sure, some of them are prime grade, but few are. If you can only find choice rather than prime, that’s okay. Either way, it’s an expensive hunk of meat, so you’ll want to cook it right. Here’s how I do it.
Oh, and don’t forget to serve with a hot, fresh Yorkshire pudding.
Note: If you would rather not dry-age the roast (or you forgot to plan days ahead — happens to all of us), season the meat with kosher salt, using 2 teaspoons per bone, and place on the same wire rack and sheet pan set-up described below. Let sit, uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours, before proceeding with the recipe. You don’t need to add more salt before roasting, but you will still want to rub the roast with oil and pepper.
- 1 (3- to 4-bone) standing rib roast, preferably from the loin end, with the fat cap in place, 7 to 10 pounds
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil, to coat the roast, plus more if needed
- Kosher salt, 2 teaspoons per bone
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
remote probe thermometer
Remove any plastic wrapping or butcher’s paper from the roast. Place the standing rib roast upright onto a rack set inside a half sheet pan — the rack is essential for drainage. Place dry towels loosely on top of the roast; this will help to draw moisture away from the meat. Place into a refrigerator at approximately 50 to 60 percent humidity and between 34 and 38ºF. You can measure both with a refrigerator thermometer. Change the towels daily for 7 days. The roast will lose some of its mass, approximately 2 1/2 percent. (See note.)
When you’re ready to roast, remove the roastYou can leave it on its rack and half sheet pan. from the refrigerator and rub with the oil. Remember to rub the bones with oil, as well. Once the roast is completely coated with oil, cover the roast with kosher salt, using about 2 teaspoons per bone, and the pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Place a probe thermometer into the center of the roast and set its alarm for 118°F. Set the roast on the lower middle rack in a cold oven and turn the oven to 250°F. Let roast until the meat hits its target temperature, about 3 hours for a 3-bone roast or up to about 4 hours for a 4-bone roast. (It is more important to keep an eye on the temperature than the time here; your times may vary depending on the exact weight and shape of the roast.)
When the thermometer alarm goes off, remove the roast from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let rest while preparing the pudding. (The roast’s internal temperature should rise up to around 130°F, then very slowly start to fall.) Pour off the drippings from the sheet pan into a heat-proof liquid measuring cup. Let the roast rest for 30 minutes. Hang on to the sheet pan and rack; you’ll use it again later.
After 30 minutes, return the roast to the rack and sheet pan, then return to the oven. Crank the oven upas high as it will go; ideally 550°F, but 500°F will also work, and cook until the exterior of the roast is browned, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how hot you can get your oven to run.
Return the roast to the board, carve, and serve with Yorkshire pudding. And no, you don’t need to rest it again.
Save the drippings from, say, our Holiday Standing Rib Roast, to make Yorkshire pudding, a golden brown, puffy side dish that’s perfect for pairing with Christmas dinner.
- 1/4 cup roast drippings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
12-inch cast-iron skillet
Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet on the lower middle rack in the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
Measure out 2 tablespoons of roast drippings and add to a food processor or blender, along with the flour, milk, eggs, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven. Add an additional 2 tablespoons drippings to the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. (If you don’t have 2 tablespoons for the skillet, add oil to make up the difference.) Pour the batter into the skillet, then return to the oven and bake until the pudding is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot alongside thick slices of standing rib roast.