Turkey for Thanksgiving? Not This Year
Mention Thanksgiving and a turkey with all the fixings immediately comes to mind. Depending on which historian you read, the turkey may or may not have been served at the first Thanksgiving meal. Many think the meat served was probably venison along with seafood and waterfowl. If there was turkey, it probably was wild turkey. Whatever they served there seems to be clear consensus – the first Thanksgiving involved eating plenty of meat.
Some years I decide to give the iconic turkey a break and serve something else. I have lots of choices, but I think the logical choice is a prime rib roast. It’s an apt replacement, and it still requires a ceremonial carving.
And You Still Have A Regal Presence On The Table
Preparing and serving a prime rib roast is always an event. Its regal presence on a table makes the occasion special, and its aroma can get my digestive juices flowing faster than any other food. It’s also interesting to watch our guests catch the first whiff of what’s in the oven. When they realize it’s prime rib, their excitement is almost palpable.
As human beings, we seem to continue to love meat. Our long history of the way we’ve consumed our eatables goes all of the way back to a diet of meat and plants. And as a result, I think we human beings have a general tendency to be carnivores (who eat meat) or omnivores (who eat meat and plants). We can also choose or not choose to be herbivores (who eat plants), frugivores (who eat fruit), pescatarians (who eat fish), vegetarians (who eat vegetables), Rotarians (who will eat anything), and librarians (who devour books).
It’s Every Critter For Himself
Will we as a society ever stop eating meat? Some think so, but I doubt it. From a broader perspective, what we cook isn’t the only issue of conscience here. It’s much more complicated than that. We can talk about business, nationalism, money, sports, religion, or something as silly as politics, but I think as a society we’ll always operate under “the law of the jungle.” It’s “survival of the fittest,” “dog eat dog,” “kill or be killed,” and “eat or be eaten.” It’s the way we were, and it’s just the way we are. It’s every critter for himself.
Rib roast notes: Buying And Trimming – When ordering the rib roast from the butcher, be sure to request a “top choice” roast cut from the small loin end; the best being ribs 12 through 10. The prime rib roast is cut from the loins that lie on each side of the animal’s spine from ribs six through twelve. Have the butcher chine the backbone so the cut includes all or part of it. Having the roast attached to bone I think imparts a much better flavor. For a classic look the rib bones look best if they are shortened and Frenched. Have the butcher do this for you as well.
To see my recipe for preparing a standing prime rib roast, click on Standing Prime Rib Roast and scroll through the narrative.
For a generous serving, figure on two people per rib. See the suggested size of the roast respective to the number of people you will be serving in the table below.
Start the rib roast cooking at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 325 degrees and cook according to size/serving chart below (times are approximate):
- for six (6) people – three (3) rib roast (7-8 lbs.) Cook at 325 degrees for another 1.5 hours.
- for eight (8) people – four (4) rib roast (9-10 lbs.) Cook at 325 degrees for another 2 hours.
- for ten (10) people – five (5) rib roast (11-13 lbs.) Cook at 325 degrees for another 2.5 hours.
- for twelve (12) people – six (6) rib roast (14-16 lbs.) Cook at 325 degrees for another 3 hours.
- for fourteen (14) people – seven (7) rib roast (16-18 lbs.) Cook at 325 degrees for another 3.5 hours.
Goal: Internal temperature for medium-rare is 120 degrees. It will cook on up to about 130 degrees after it is taken out of the oven. The roast will need to rest for at least 20 minutes so the juices can seal and flavors to permeate.