Recipes to warm the home this holiday season.
Ranch Roasted Prime Rib
Serves 8 or more
Prime Rib Rub
½ cup coarsely ground black pepper
¼ cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
One 4-rib rib roast (prime rib), about 8 pounds, bones removed
Logs to fuel a wood-burning smoker, mesquite if available
For a special occasion, few cuts of beef are more visually striking than a prime rib roast. You ought to see it when we lay out 40 of them side-by-side for big parties! At the Perini Ranch, we actually have enough barbecue pits to smoke-roast prime rib for 1,200 lucky folks. When our crew slices the beef, it further wows diners because each slice covers most of a plate. It’s worth noting that “prime rib” is the full rack from which rib-eye steaks are cut. When cut into individual steaks, you get more crustiness in proportion to the meat because a steak is grilled on both sides, but a large prime rib is going to brown just on the outer edges. Both can be delicious. It’s a personal preference. We like more pepper in our prime rib rub because, with its higher fat content and larger surface area, the prime rib can handle a more piquant rub.
Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Place the roast on a baking sheet. Massage the dry rub all over the roast, really packing it on. Let sit at room temperature while getting the smoker ready. Fire up the smoker, bringing the temperature to 300 degrees to 325 degrees. Logs should be burned down to large coals before adding them to the fire. You will want to do this in some kind of fireproof barrel or tub. Add more coals as needed throughout the hours of smoking to maintain the proper temperature. Before cooking, take the internal temperature of the meat, deep in the roast’s center, with an instant-read thermometer. The temperature should be nearing 40 degrees, considered the high end of the safe range for beef to sit out unrefrigerated. If the temperature of the roast is more than a couple of degrees below 40 degrees, plan to extend the cooking time by a few minutes.
Transfer the prime rib to the smoker, fattier side up. Plan on a total cooking time of 2 to 2½ hours. After 1½ hours, check the internal temperature, deep in the roast’s center again, to gauge the rest of the cooking time. You don’t want to overcook a piece of meat this special. We prefer to take the roast off when it is in the rare to medium-rare range, 120 degrees to 130 degrees. We don’t advise cooking it beyond 140 degrees, the high side of medium. (Although you might want to cook the roast just to 140 degrees, so that you have prime rib of varying doneness.) Tent the roast loosely with aluminum foil and let sit for 30 minutes. Allowing the roast to rest is essential, so all the meat’s juices settle and aren’t lost when the roast is sliced. Carve into thick slices and serve.
1 pound baby carrots
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch or 2 cayenne
¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons salted butter, cut up into small pieces
2 tablespoons bourbon
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the carrots and salt, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the carrots can just be pierced with a fork. Drain in a colander and return the carrots to the pan.
While the carrots are cooking, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne in a bowl. Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often so they don’t burn, until they are aromatic. Set aside.
Stir the butter into the warm carrots and return to low heat. When melted, add the bourbon; then stir in the brown sugar mixture. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the carrots are glazed and tender. Add salt to taste. Top the glazed carrots with the pecans and serve.
Cheddar-Pecan Cheese Straws
Makes about 4 dozen
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded and at room temperature
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ cup finely chopped pecans
Place the butter and cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream on high speed for several minutes, until completely blended. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the flour, salt, and cayenne. Beat again on medium speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface. Scatter the pecans over the dough and work them into the dough.
Divide and roll the dough into two logs, about the diameter of a quarter. Roll the logs in wax paper and twist the ends. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to a week. (Well-wrapped logs can be frozen up to 1 month. Let them come to room temperature before slicing.)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the logs into ¼-inch-thick slices. Rotate the dough one-quarter turn after slicing about a half-dozen straws, to keep the shape even, repeating as needed. Arrange the straws about ½ inch apart on the lined baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until set and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in a tin or other covered container for up to 1 week.
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup (½ stick) salted butter, cubed, at room temperature
4 large ripe pears, preferably Anjou or Bartlett
4 ounces fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish.
Combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a food processor. Give the processor a couple of pulses to combine a bit. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is an evenly crumbly meal.
Peel the pears; then slice each lengthwise in half and core. If the pear halves are roly-poly, slice a very thin bit off each rounded side so they sit still in the baking dish. Place the pears in the dish, cut side up. Mound of the cranberries in the hollow of each pear half and sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon granulated sugar.
Spoon the topping over the pears evenly, mounding it over each pear and packing it down lightly. Scatter any remaining cranberries and topping around the pears. Bake the crisp for 40 to 45 minutes, until the topping is crunchy and the pears and cranberries are tender. Serve warm.
Photography: Images courtesy Wyatt McSpadden
From our November/December 2020 issue.