This is a wonderful crowd pleaser, although admittedly, I was a first timer on this one. There should be one simple mantra running through your head when you cook it: don’t screw it up.
I think the best formula for how much to get is 1/2 pound per person. If you increase that to a full pound, you’re going to have left overs. More meat for everyone! I honestly can’t improve upon anything that J. Kenji Lopez-Alt wrote about three years ago, so click on over to see the rationale for why, I can share with you my experiences and I think we took home from it.
We brought home a 16 pound/8 rib monster. The first issue I ran into was fat cap. The butcher had separated most of the fat cap and partially separated the ribs from the rest of the roast. I knew the crowd I was with wasn’t going to be all that excited about the tasty beef fat, so I trimmed it off….WHAT!??
Hold on. I trimmed it off so it wouldn’t be on the final roast, but I put it back on in pieces so that it would baste the meat while cooking. Kinda like that awesome mask from Silence of the Lambs.
For seasoning, use the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid. Salt and pepper. You could do more, but you shouldn’t have to. I actually seasoned it about 3-4 days before I planned to cook it, and left it covered in the refrigerator. I haven’t tested it when salting immediately, but there was a quality about the meat that I haven’t tasted in other cuts of beef that I’ve salted immediately.
Set your oven to 200F, you can use convection if you want. The main theme here from the link above is slow roast first, then sear later. I put a temperature probe into the middle of the deepest part of the roast, waiting for the magic number.
120. As you can see, I temperature probe tested elsewhere and had a bit of variation in temperature, but 120 was what we were looking for.
Once we hit about 110, I fired up the grill and set the vents for nuclear melt down. When we hit our target temperature, I let the meat rest for a few minutes, and pulled the fat mosaic off, getting it ready for the final sear. Here it is prior to hitting the grill:
Now, I must warn you. This part is an unbelievably challenging process because there’s a fair amount of fat that has worked it’s way into the meat, and it drips causing a ton of flare. On the egg, you can always drop the top and close the air vents, but you have to be prepared for backdraft. This is actually a potentially dangerous situation if you don’t know how to work around it. The main thing is preparation. While it would suck, losing a food item in order to protect your body is a no brainer. I use extra-long oven mitts when cooking on the egg (kinda like these) because sometimes the fires can be a little crazy. I think every egg owner at one point or another has had a fire that started to get out of control, and you have to have a contingency plan. The final thing is burping the egg. Crack the lid just a hair to get the air back in when you’ve shut it down because of flare. You’ll hear the whooossshhh of the air rushing back in and reignition. Here’s where you’ll be happy you have those long gloves.
It honestly didn’t need any sauce. But I made a couple anyway. I had a secret weapon saved from last Christmas.
Combining this in a sauce pan with pan drippings, a little water, butter and black mole paste made for a pretty succulent beef sauce. Like out of this world succulent. Sorry, there ain’t no recipe for that one. The other sauce was horseradish yogurt sauce which was made about that simply with a little rice wine vinegar (no lemons or else lemon juice) and salt.
If you love beef, you owe it to yourself to try this at least once. It’s a little pricey, but there’s no comparison in the amount of flavor this cut has compared to tenderloin. If you time things right, it’s just as easy to cook and a hell of a lot more dramatic.