This weekend we got a rolled rib roast on sale at Whole Foods. Since I wanted it to be good, I decided to do some research before we cooked it. I looked up the cooking method in the Doubleday Cookbook (a great reference cookbook), the Joy of Cooking, and On Food and Cooking. I also found a pointer to the article on standing rib roast at Cooking for Engineers.
When it comes to roasting meat, you set the oven to the proper temperature and take the roast out when it reaches the desired internal temperature. Some people make it fancy and start the oven out at a high temperature to sear the outside of the roast initially and then let the temperature fall to the roasting temperature. The one trick is that the larger the roast is, the lower your roasting temperature should be. For a large rib roast, the guy at Cooking for Engineers recommends 200 degrees. For our roast, we went with 325 degrees, the temperature recommended by Doubleday if you want a nice crusty exterior.
In the end, we rubbed the roast with salt and pepper, preheated the oven to 325 degrees, and then cooked the roast for about two hours and fifteen minutes until it reached an internal temperature of 125 degrees. We made sure to let it come to room temperature before putting it in the oven, and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing it. The roast came out perfect using this approach.
The reason I did so much homework this time is that the last time we made an oven roast, we used a recipe from a show on Food TV. This recipe included potatoes in the pan, a sauce on the roast, cooking for fifteen minutes at 500 degrees before lowering the temperature, and plenty of other steps as well. Anyway, the roast didn’t come out good. Part of the problem was the recipe and part of the problem was that we bought a round roast at Costco rather than a nice grass feed rib roast from Whole Foods.
My issue with Food TV is that they are biased in favor of novelty. Demonstrating the proper basic technique for making a roast is apparently too boring for them to feature it on any of their shows. The roast we made tasted as good as any roast I’ve ever had, and there was nothing fancy about it.
Back in the day, Food TV had any number of shows that taught basic recipes and techniques. Cooking Live, How to Boil Water, and others centered on teaching people the basics. Now we live in the era of the dreck that is 30 Minute Meals. The idea behind that show is that it provides approachable recipes for home cooks, but the 30 minute concept precludes any number of delicious, simple recipes. Beyond that, the show is is about featuring “original” (often terrible looking) recipes rather demonstrating useful techniques that everybody should know.
I don’t think I ever realized until this weekend just how little the executives at Food TV care about teaching people to cook these days.