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Salt and Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast

Salt and Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast

1 3-4 bone Prime Rib Roast (approx. 5-9lbs.)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups coarse sea salt 
5oz rendered pork leaf lard, chilled (or butter as substitute)
1/4 cup chopped mixed aromatic herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, etc.)
2-3 cups water (used as needed)
  1. The day before you plan on cooking, remove the rib roast from the package and place on a roasting rack. Allow the roast to air-dry, uncovered, in your refrigerator overnight.  
  2. The next day, remove the roast from the refrigerator a hour before you plan on cooking it and allow it to come to room temperature. 
  3. Preheat your oven to 425°. While the oven heats, combine the salt, flour, chopped herbs, and “cut” in the lard/butter using a pastry cutter or two forks as you would for making biscuits. Basically, you want to mix the fat into the flour/salt/herbs as much as possible without heating it with your hands. You can also do this with a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. 
  4. After the flour mixture and the fat are combined, slowly start incorporating the water and kneed it until it becomes a pliable dough. You are looking for a texture similar to bread dough, but wet/sticky enough to adhere to the roast. Adjust the amount of water and/or add flour until you are satisfied that the dough is malleable and will stick to the roast. 
  5. Cover the entire roast with the dough leaving only the bones exposed (if you chose to “French” the bones, otherwise just cover all of it). Make sure the meat is entirely covered and place the roast back onto the rack and into your refrigerator to keep the dough chilled until the oven is up to temperature.  
  6. When the oven is ready, before placing the roast into the oven insert a digital probe thermometer (the type with a temperature monitor that sits outside the oven) into the center of the roast being careful not to touch the bones. If you do not have a probe thermometer, use a standard digital thermometer and after the first hour of cooking begin monitoring temperature in 30 minute intervals.
  7. Place roast in 425° oven and cook at this temp for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 325° for the remainder of the cook or until the internal temperature reaches approximately 125°-130°. A good rule of thumb for cooking a bone in prime rib roast is to allow for 18-20 minutes of cooking per pound of roast. So a 5 pound roast will take about an hour and a half, while a 9 pound roast could take 3 to 4 hours. 
  8. When the internal temperature of the roast reaches at least 125°, remove the roast from the oven a let it rest as long as possible, 40 minutes being the absolute minimum. This roast can come out of the oven easily an hour before you plan on serving and still be warm when sliced to serve. 
  9. When ready to serve, you can either present the roast in the crust and crack it open with a sharp knife at the table before slicing.*
*Or if you prefer some browning on the roast, first preheat your oven to 550° or its highest setting. Then present the roast in the salt crust and while your guests are settling into the table and passing sides, bring the roast into the kitchen, remove the salt crust and cut the strings from the roast to remove the bones. Next blast the roast in the hot oven for 10 minutes to caramelize the exterior prior to slicing. Slice roast, arrange on a serving platter, and bring back out to the table to be passed around after the sides.