Preparing and Cooking a #1 Rib Eye Roast

There she is, in all her beefy glory, the queen mother of roasts, the rib eye roast. I wrote an article about The Steak previously, but the whole roast from which rib eye steaks come is in a class all its own.

Alright, let’s get the complaints out of the way. Of these, I have only two; they are generally too small in this country, and they have way too much trimmed away, in both fat and ‘extra’ muscle.

The muscle of the rib eye actually runs from the chuck all the way down through the rib section, the loin, and finally terminating in round. What makes this part of the muscle the rib eye is that it stretches from the 5th to the 13th rib. One thing I always found suspicious is that “kosher” meat from the front of the animal terminates at the 13th rib of the cow, which is exactly where a beef carcass is split so USDA inspectors can grade the animal. Interesting coincidence, no?

This roast is reserved for the most special of occasions, a wedding, a chag, or a sale price of ₪50 a kilo or less. At close to thee kilo per roast, this isn’t ever going to be the cheapest meat you can buy. But when it is within range, maybe discuss splitting it with a neighbor (I said “go halfsies” and I was laughed at). You can easily serve four to six people from a half a roast, which only comes out to a little under ten shekel per person (this is known as reductio ad absurdum).

A rib eye roast is naturally tender, having no function in a cow that would necessarily toughen the muscles. It has no connective tissue to trim away, and the intramuscular fat melts while cooking to constantly baste the roast from the inside. It needs little adornment other than seasoning and aromatics. Part of the purpose of a marinade is to tenderize the meat, which this cut certainly doesn’t require. It needs a tremendous amount of respect, which doesn’t mean you need to fuss over it the entire time it cooks, but at the same time you don’t want to be that person who serves a shoe leather roast. Just keep your eye on it. Turn it once in the oven if you like, but you risk injury to the crust forming on the top of the roast.

And that’s it. Don’t cut thin slices; the meat can’t handle being sliced too thin. This is a two-finger slab of meat per person.

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