Roasted to perfect pink, the juices of my Coffee-Rubbed Prime Rib mingle with spicy seasonings and savory herbs to produce a heavenly jus. And when bathed over roasted fingerling potatoes, this meat and potatoes combo is the foundation of a most elegant holiday dinner.
Growing up in Bogalusa, Louisiana just an hour north of New Orleans, I had the opportunity to dine at some of the renowned restaurants of the French Quarter. Back in the heyday of traditional New Orleans dining, it was Galatoire’s, Brennan’s, Arnaud’s, and Antoine’s as the Big Four haute Creole restaurants that defined that genre of cooking. But if you were like my father, you craved a big hunk of beef, and in the French Quarter, the destination of choice was the Rib Room.
Nestled in the corner of the Royal Orleans (now the Omni Royal Orleans) hotel’s ground floor facing Royal Street, the Rib Room opened in 1961 and was a manly eatery that mimicked the great steakhouses of New York. Polished brass and wood-grained mahogany fit elegantly with the high-back leather chairs and white tablecloths. Even at a young age, I felt grown up and privileged to dine in this inner sanctum of beefy goodness.
And this was where I had my first taste of a thick slab of prime rib. The prime ribs of beef—the restaurant’s namesake—were the focal point of the menu, the décor, and the center-of-the-plate. Oh, you could order a ribeye, or, God-forbid, a breast of chicken, but it was the “King Cut” prime rib that most came for. Served from an open-fire hearth, it was roasted a perfect pink and served up with a house-baked potato and a side of horseradish cream. It was (and still is) one of my favorite dining experiences.
For us amateur cooks, the secrets to home-prepared prime rib are twofold: the best beef and a flavor-filled rub. The cooking technique for my Coffee-Rubbed Prime Rib is quite simple; it’s just roasting in a very hot oven to seal the beef, and then lowering the temperature for a slow roast until achieving the perfect internal temperature. Source the best beef available in a size that fits your guest list and pocketbook. I like a 4 to 5-pound roast cut from the primal first-cut rib portion of the cow (ribs #9 through #12). Trim away any excess fat, but leave a thin layer for flavor. And my secret weapon is to coat the exterior with oil and a heavy coating of my deep, dark coffee rub accented with grated lemon zest and chopped rosemary; this combination ensures a crusty exterior.
Let time and temperature do the rest, and you will have a spectacular outcome. Served up simply with roasted fingerling potatoes, a beef jus, and a side of horseradish cream for dipping, this Coffee-Rubbed Prime Rib takes me back in time to some prime memories.
- ½ cup dark roast whole bean coffee, finely ground, such as Community Coffee
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup kosher salt
- ½ cup garlic powder
- ½ cup coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 pound fingerling potatoes
- 2 tablespoons rendered beef fat or olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (4.5-pound) standing rib roast, trimmed and tied
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- In a mixing bowl, add coffee, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and mix well to combine evenly. Cover and move to the side.
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF.
- Coat the potatoes in the rendered beef fat and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in the bottom of a large roasting pan and cover with a metal rack.
- Take the roast out of the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking and let come to room temperature. Rub the rib roast with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with the coffee rub on all sides. Stand the roast up with bone-side down and spread the lemon zest and rosemary over the top and sides. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast (not touching a bone), and place the roast on the rack. Place the roasting pan containing the beef and potatoes into the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 275ºF and continue roasting until the meat thermometer registers 125ºF, about 1 hour.
- Remove the roast from the oven, place the prime rib and on a serving tray and place the potatoes around it, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- For carving and serving, you have two options: You can slice away the bottom rib bones and lay the meat on top, slicing individual portions. Or I prefer to leave the prime rib on the bone where you have the option to slice a hefty bone-in portion. Served with beef fat-roasted potatoes, a little beef jus, and horseradish cream, this is a royal dinner, for sure.
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