Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27: National Prime Rib Day

When I saw what today's food observance is, I asked myself, "Have I ever eaten prime rib?  What is prime rib?"  After a little research, I don't believe I've ever eaten prime rib - I just don't think I can stand to have such a huge slab of meat on a plate in front of me.

Technically, prime rib does not have to come from USDA prime-grade meat.  Don't believe me?  From the USDA's Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book: "PRIME RIB OF BEEF OR STANDING BEEF RIB ROAST FOR PRIME RIB: These products do not have to be derived from USDA prime grade beef."

Okay...  To complicate it even further, prime rib is really standing rib roast and is called prime because this is supposedly the most desirable section of ribs (ribs 6 through 12 of the bovine.)   Once the standing rib roast is cooked and cut, the meat that is served is then called prime rib.  However, if the meat is cut before it is cooked, the resulting pieces are called rib steaks and they contain the rib eye. At least, that's how I understand the explanation.

What's Cooking America seems to be a great resource on prime rib.  WCA gives us instructions for picking the right size roast, how to find the best quality, how to age it, prep it, cook it, and serve it.  Plus, there's a bunch of recipes that are traditionally paired with prime rib.  WCA is definitely gives a lot of information.  It's a huge page of information, including comments from people who have used the advice and information provided.

Serious Eats also has a lot of information about prime rib.  Like the WCA page, there's instructions on choosing, cooking, and serving the meat, along with comments from readers.  I think anyone wanting to cook prime rib needs to read both the What's Cooking America and Serious Eats pages thoroughly.  I think prime rib might be one of the few foods that require a great deal of pre-prep in the form of extensive reading. 

Randomly, in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore, there is a high-end steakhouse known as The Prime Rib.  I wonder if anyone ever goes and orders a salad as the entree.

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