Weekend Gourmet

Weekend Gourmet: Prime rib is a smoking holiday indulgence

CorrespondentDecember 7, 2013 

Prime rib can be a smoking holiday indulgence.

COURTESY OF FRED THOMPSON

We may kid ourselves into believing that Thanksgiving is the food holiday of the year, and for that one day, I guess we would be right. Yet, the next 30 plus days are filled with food, no matter what holiday traditions you follow.

For many of us there will be beef on the menu at some point. I look at this as the opposite of turkey day, and harken back to our Old World heritage. Prime rib, with its old English flair, is such a dish. It has a Dickensian feel to it, and by smoking the rib, you take it back in time to a wood-fired hearth.

This recipe can also be adapted to another holiday favorite, the beef tenderloin, if desired. Same ingredients, same method and, fortunately, both cuts of meat are on sale this time of year. Each is perfect for entertaining.

If ham is your holiday treat, consider smoking it. The smoke adds even more flavor to that spiral-sliced beauty; just glaze it like you normally would.

Some traditions shouldn’t be messed with, but a little tweak never hurts. Try this method of roasting holiday prime rib to add an extra sensation in taste. Don’t overlook the possibility of sticking a casserole out there on your grill while the prime rib is cooking.

Thanks for reading and all the comments you send my way. I hope you and your family have the best of the holidays and a wonderful new year.

Thompson: fdtfx1@earthlink.net

Holiday Smoked Prime Rib Several cups of hickory wood chips soaking in water, or 3 hickory chunks soaked in water for at least an hour One 5- to 6-pound bone-in, standing prime rib roast, trimmed of excess fat 10 large garlic cloves, peeled 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh rosemary leaves 2 teaspoons Kosher salt 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

PUT the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until finely minced. Add the mustard and olive oil and process to form a paste. Smear the paste all over the top and sides of the roast.

OIL the grill racks. Set up your grill for indirect heat. Preheat your gas grill or light a charcoal fire. You want to have a temperature of about 200 to 225 degrees. Put the roast on a rack, bone side down, and place the rack inside a disposable aluminum pan large enough to accommodate the rack.

ADD your wood chips or chunks to the charcoal, or follow your grill’s instructions on setting up for smoking. For a gas grill, the simplest thing is to use a smoke box or wrap the wood in aluminum foil and poke holes in the foil.

ALLOW smoke to build, then add the pan with the roast over the indirect area of the grill. Close lid and cook to desired doneness, 11/2 to 2 hours for medium-rare (meat will register 135 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer).

TRANSFER the roast to a cutting board and remove the bones. Loosely cover the roast with foil and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. The internal temperature will rise 5 degrees to 10 degrees. Carve the meat into slices and serve.

TIP: Use the pan juices to make a gravy. Pour off most of the fat, and place the pan over 2 burners. Add some chopped shallots and cook a few minutes. Pour in 2 cups of beef stock and, using a spatula, scrape up the browned bits in the pan. Add a few sprigs of thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the liquid by half, remove from heat and swirl in 3 tablespoons of butter. Strain and serve with the meat.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Serve with: Start with oysters on the half shell. Horseradish sauce is always called for. Have roasted potatoes, or upscale them by pan-frying in duck fat (hey, it is the holidays!), some creamed spinach or go Southern and cream some collards. Add tossed leafy green salad, and cheesecake for dessert.

To drink: I would drink a California Zinfandel by Biale. It’s a little pricy but so awesome and since this is a special occasion, worth the price. New World cabernet sauvignon would be another good choice.

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