Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Boxing Day Standing Rib Roast

We decided to do a standing rib roast for Christmas this year. Our plans are slightly constrained because we're heading into Chicago on Boxing Day to celebrate with our kids and we need to accommodate our grandson's sleep schedule. We also need to respect our daughter-in-law's need for rest and privacy as she is going to deliver our next grandchild any day now, so we have a 3 hour window this afternoon. Our plan is to arrive about 2:30-3:00 and stay until about 6:00. Most, if not all food is being prepared off site and I plan to finish the roast just in time to rest so it is ready to carve upon our arrival. I could probably hold it a little longer if needed but that seems unlikely as the meat did not hit the grill until almost 10:00

Weather is chilly at about 16°F and might hit 20° before the cook is complete. Wind is very light reported at about 3 mph and skies are cloudy. A few flakes of snow are falling.

The meat has been dry aged for a week now. Here it is fresh from the market.

Five days later it had darkened considerably. It darkened a little more in the next three days before the cook.

I rubbed this morning with cracked pepper and coriander and Kosher salt before I set up the cooker. I've placed a foil pan under the roast to capture any drippings. Here it is shortly after going on.

The cook is being done on the 18 WSM. I want to cook at about 225° and the smoker provides the tightest temperature control. Fire is using Royal Oak briquettes with a few chunks of oak and some hickory and mesquite for smoke flavor. When the meat hit a target temperature of about 120° I plan to move it to a hot 22" kettle for a reverse sear. The kettle was fired with a chimney of lump and held indirect using a firebrick standing on edge. Following the cook, the meat would be wrapped in foil and held in a preheated cooler for transport to our kids place where we were going to eat Christmas dinner. That would give it an extended rest.

timetemp comment
Close up the cooker with all vents wide open. Foiled the water pan and have a foil pan on the lower grate to capture any juices.
Cooker temps about 180° and climbing so I'll close two bottom vents and leave the last about half open.
Meat probe laying on top grate at 201° and cooker temp reading 208° and these seem to be stable. Might have to open a bottom vent a bit.
Meat on! IT initially reading 41°F. I guess I could have gotten up earlier and let it come closer to room temperature.
9:4441°/212°/195° (meat/grate/lid)
10:0754°/252°/Need to close one of the bottom vents as temp is slowly climbing past where I want it.
12:18111°/193°/210°Stirred the coals a bit. 
12:47120°/194°/194°Closed the cooker up while I got the kettle fired up with some Royal Oak lump.
Transfer to 400° kettle to sear.

The meat had a uniform rare appearance and tasted great! It might have had an over smoked flavor, but that was only a problem in the end pieces. It produced a lot of au jus while resting and unfortunately some of it escaped the foil and was in the bottom of the cooler. There was enough in the foil to serve with the beef. Before carving, I cut off the bones (4 ribs) and saved them for later. I did those for a couple hours the next day in the kettle. Those ribs were great!

No plated pix but here is the roast ready to come off the smoker. The top part pulled back a little away from the rib ends when I seared at high temperature.

What to do differently next time. I might go with a little less smoking wood.

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