CHEFFED-UP

MEAT Weather

Warm up with a slab of cow

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Because the 904 has the freakiest weather, it is very difficult for me to maintain a laser focus on seasonal cooking. For a few weeks I totally buy into seasonally appropriate foodstuffs and accompanying techniques … then it happens. Out of the blue unseasonal weather appears and my focus disappears.

Nevertheless, for those brief weeks or days that the weather is cold, most of us crave classic comfort foods, the stick-to-your-ribs cuisine that northerners rely on to quash their suicidal thoughts during the nightmarish winter weather. This is MEAT weather (there aren’t too many vegans in the polar bear clubs). Aggressively large and juicy portions, starchy root vegetables for sides, hearty red wines and dark beers, all the calorie-laden pleasures cold temperatures motivate us to seek out.

For me, the ultimate expression of this primordial desire is a 109 rib. This is the National Association of Meat Purveyors designation for a standing rib roast, a ginormous hunk of beef that looks like something out of The Flintstones.  

Here’s the skinny on executing a perfect 109. Wait until they go on sale. For unsurpassed results, 10+ pounds is the ticket. Just a heads up: about a third of the weight is lost to the bones and shrinkage. A properly roasted piece of meat should sport a crispy, caramelized crust with a tender juice filled interior. Therefore, the next decision is which of two roasting techniques to utilize to achieve these results. 

One technique is for smaller cuts of meat, maybe a couple pounds. Season and sear the entire outside surface of the meat utilizing high heat. Then slam the meat into a hot oven. For more tender cuts of meat, this hot and fast technique achieves amazing outcomes.

The other option is for large cuts of meat- low and slow cooking. Rubbing the outside of the meat thoroughly with a seasoning blend and roasting it for several hours at a low temperature naturally achieves a crisp caramelized exterior. A little basting during the cooking only enhances this effect. 

A couple of tips: Test the bones on top of large pieces of celery, onions and whole herbs while roasting and add a little water now and again; this will leave you with a nice fond from which a flavorful jus can be based.

Here’s a recipe based on my favorite way to cook this beast.
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Chef Bill’s Creole Standing Rib Roast
Ingredients:

 

  • 10 Lb. standing rib roast
  • 1/2 Cup Creole seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Large yellow onion, julienned
  • 4 Celery stalks cut in 4” pieces
  • 1/2 Green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper, julienned
  • 4 Scallions cut in 4” pieces
  • 2 Tomatoes cut in 1/6

Directions:

 

  1. Remove the bones and fat cap from the beef. Rub the seasoning all over the exposed meat.
  2. Reattach the fat cap and the bones with butchers twine. Set the prepared roast on a bed of two onions and the celery.
  3. Roast in a 250˚F convection oven for about 2 hours or until the inner temperature reaches 100˚F. Lower the heat to 200˚ and continue to roast until the inner temp reaches 125˚F, then remove and allow to rest in an aluminum foil tent for 30 minutes.
  4. Sauté peppers, onions, scallions, and tomatoes for garnish. You may also make a jus with the drippings.

Until we cook again,
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Contact Chef Bill Thompson, owner of Amelia Island Culinary Academy in Fernandina Beach, at cheffedup@folioweekly.com to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!

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