Orthogonal Thought | Random musings from the creator of Cooking For Engineers and Lead Architect of Fanpop





What I Ate: June 12, 2010 (Prime Rib Dinner)

Posted 13 June, 2010 at 11:39pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

We had the members of the Austin Fearless Critic council who were available over for dinner. It had been over two years since we last entertained, so we were a little bit rusty. In the end, it worked out well and everyone seemed happy with the meal. I started the day by trimming a USDA Prime rib-eye roast that I had been dry aging for the last few days (didn't have time for more since we were traveling) down to about eight pounds. I then seared it on the grill before slow-roasting it in the oven for a few hours.
Searing Prime Rib on the grill

My oven runs hot. (About 50 degrees hotter than expected according to the digital air temperature thermometer and data logger I hooked up to collect accurate temperature readings - because baking during the last six months has been hit or miss, I suspected the temperature was off even though Whirlpool claims their appliances are perfectly calibrated and perhaps my old ovens were off and I was used to that, ugh.) I started with the oven set to 185°F (but, in actuality, it cycled between 235°F and 200°F). At 1:10pm, I dropped the temp to 175°F (170 is the lowest setting my oven goes to) and continued to track the temperature increase inside my prime rib. The temperature drop resulted in a temperature swing from 230&176;F to 193°F which was a little better but not even a full ten degree drop as I would have expected from lowering the target temperature by ten degrees. At around 3pm, I shut the oven off entirely and turned it on two more times briefly to help keep the oven at around 130°F so I could hold the roast at an internal temperature of 130°F until we got closer to serving time. I then turned the oven on to 170°F to finish off the roast (stopping at an internal temperature of 133°F). The oven cycles between 222°F and 186°F when set to 175°F. The air temperature probe was positioned in the center of the oven rack about one inch below the sheet pan holding the rib roast.

Oven Temperature
Oven Temperature While Roasting Prime Rib

Internal Roast Temperature
Prime Rib Internal Temperature

Prime Rib

While the beef was roasting, Tina and I prepared the other side dishes and set the table. We set out several bowls of cherry tomatoes to start off the meal.
Table Settings

When everyone had arrived, we assembled a wilted spinach salad with a sweet shallot and garlic dressing, marcona almonds, and small farm eggs that I cooked in the shell in a 63°C water bath for 45 minutes so the egg yolk would flow out and blend with the dressing.
Preparing Wilted Spinach Salad
Wilted Spinach Salad and Sides on Table

In the center of the table, I had a large bowl of red potatoes grilled with paprika, garlic powder, rosemary and thyme.
Grilled Potatoes

Two small bowls of Brussels sprouts cooked in bacon grease and topped with crispy bacon was provided for greens. The sprouts were a little more bitter than usual and it wasn't clear if it was because I hadn't parboiled them long enough or if this batch was just naturally more bitter. We typically buy our Brussels sprouts on the stalk (they seem fresher and there's less waste as you trim them; cutting the dried bases off the pre-cut sprouts means losing quite a few leaves), so that might have something to do with how these ended up tasting. (I had to buy then in mesh bags which were dripping wet from the local grocery store and several heads had to be tossed due to insect damage.) So, for the record - I am blaming the sprouts for the bitterness. Our guests were very gracious and said they enjoyed the sprouts and ate most of what we provided on the table (about two pounds out of the four we prepared… if we do this dinner menu again, I'll just prepare two pounds.)
Brussels Sprouts

Our last side dish was a simple dish of sweet corn kernels tossed with dried and fresh tarragon.
Tarragon Corn

Once everyone was done with the salads, we cleared the salad plates and I sliced one inch thick slices of prime rib for everyone. Cooked in this way - at low temperatures over several hours - the roast can be medium-rare from edge to edge. A little bit of jus (made from beef broth and the renderings of the ribeye trimmings) was poured on top to provide a little additional saltiness.
Medium-rare Prime Rib

We ended the meal with slices of tiramisu.

Here's a photo of the menu I prepared for the dinner.
Prime Rib Dinner Menu

I ate a tiny and quick lunch while preparing dinner of tater tots.
Tater Tots

3 comments to What I Ate: June 12, 2010 (Prime Rib Dinner)

Mike Roberts, June 14th, 2010 at 2:13 am:

  • Hey, prime rib dinner looks like a total hit, but you should take care of that temperature for the future quests.

Michael Chu, June 14th, 2010 at 10:48 am:

  • The problem with the oven is that there is no way to calibrate it outside of the factory according to Whirlpool. They provide a temperature adjustment which will show a different temperature value on your display than the one used internally (for example, I can make it show 30 degrees higher than it actually is programmed for - so when set to 170F it will show 200F), but it doesn't quite solve the problem that even at 170F setting it's still running a bit higher than 200F average. The other problem is that at higher temperatures I believe the oven runs cool, but I have yet to run that trial. I may just need to chart it all out and then keep a reference guide near the oven.

Gentian, October 11th, 2010 at 11:54 am:

  • You can decrease the cycling between high and low temp by inserting ceramic brick in the oven. They help absorb heat at the beginning and slowly releasing it when the heating elements are off.