Standing rib roast was the Christmas Eve centerpiece for my friend The '34 Act Gourmet, and he bought his beef from the professionals at Laurel Meat Market.
Unless you cook way more meat than I, you need professionals. Roasts and steaks can be cut an endless number of ways, and they can be cut well or poorly -- a difference that will affect how your meat cooks, cuts and tastes.
The Gourmet's roast tasted delicious. He had done research to know that he wanted a seven-rib roast and wanted the chine bone removed to make it easier to carve. But the Laurel Meat Market butcher also suggested that they remove the ribs and tie up the roast -- something the Gourmet hadn't considered.
They did this and tied up the roast for me, which I learned is important - you want the roast tied up so that it stays together during the roasting process. They estimated that a seven rib roast would be between 15 and 18 pounds. I think the roast was close to 18 pounds. LWith the roast in hand, the Gourmet was left to season, roast and baste for the day of the party. He says he wishes that the butchers had left just a little more fat for basting, but the roast carved beautifully with my well-done pieces on the end and the red medium-rare through the center.
If you're interested in this kind of roast, you should order ahead. Laurel Meat Market was packed even on December 23, but the Gourmet said that the line moved quickly. He said he heard some people trying to get roasts that they hadn't ordered ahead. The butcher said he could probably get them something, but they would have to wait. In addition, calling ahead lets you ask questions to the real butchers at places like Boarman's in Highland or J.W. Trueth in Oella. Check out my 2009 post about local meat markets.
The Gourmet really put on a culinary show at his party, and many dishes showed off local stores. Bacon from Laurel Meat Market wrapped dates. Ground lamb from Nazar Market in Columbia made meat balls. Beets and mozzarella came from Roots in Clarksville and Trader Joe's in Columbia. You really can great food around here, and you don't have to drive that far.
Standing Rib Roast
(more of an art than an exact science):
Put it in the roasting pan. Rub the entire roast generously with dijon mustard. Coarsely chop 8-12 cloves of garlic, 4-6 shallots; press some into the roast and put the rest in the pan. Grab several sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme, take off the stems so that you have a generous amount and press that all over the roast. Season generously with pepper.
In the morning I took it out about 2-3 hours ahead of time and let it become room temperature. Right before I put it in the oven I smeared 1/2 a stick of room-temperature all over the roast but especially on the ends. I also seasoned somewhat generously with Lawry's garlic salt. People are split on whether this is a good idea - some say that it dries out the meat but I never found that to be a problem.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and put the roast in for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 325. Roast of that size should be done in about four hours. Start checking the temperature at the 3.5-3.75 mark - I took the roast out of the oven when internal temperature was between 125-130, which resulted in a medium-rare roast. Let the roast rest 15-20 minutes. If the roast finishes early, turn the oven off and put the roast back in the oven until ready to serve.