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Georgia's State Flags,
Home of Good Eats
and Myself

1956 Version

2001 Version

2004 Version


A Tale Of Two Roasts, Inc.

Recipe from Transcript


  As the holidays approach, Alton ponders the perfect roast beast, comes to terms with aging, discovers new ways to have fun with flower pots and produces the carnivores delight.

  Alton shares his innermost thoughts on this episode.

Cave: 5,000 B.C.

  [voice over] 5000 B.C. A feast celebrating the vernal equinox has at its center, a wildebeest roast.

Knight Table: 1198 A.D.

  [voice over] 1198 A.D. A feast celebrating the English conquest of the French includes elk, swan, and bear roasts.

Roast Carving Table: 2001 A.D.

  [voice over] 2001 A.D. A feast celebrating the nuptials of Margaret and Harold Wilson has at its center a roast beef.

  [carving a roast] Since the dawn of cuisine, no feast has been complete like a big, old of hunk of roast beast. The trouble is that every time a modern cook reaches for one of those skimpy little single serving cuts, the roast and its marvelous mound of leftovers comes just a little bit closer to extinction and that is a real shame. Because if history has taught us anything it's ... [cheers and applause in the background] ... it's that no matter how lame the toast, a good roast is always good eats.

GUEST: [walks up to carving table indicating he wants another slice]
AB: [to dinner guest] Again?

  Alton Brown here. Evil Mastermind of Good Eats here to point out some things. Like, for instance, this [cave wall] is Styrofoam. This is a piece of Styrofoam.

  And this [table] is just a piece of wood in good lighting. Getting hold of those gauntlet hands, that's kind of hard to do.

  Okay, and this scene is a take of on the carving station, of course, at weddings. This is like the first time that I've had on Chef's whites on in like, I don't know, 3 years. Notice how thin I was then and  how much hair I had. What went wrong? I don't know. If I remember correctly, this was just a curtain out in the middle of a sound stage. We used to rent a sound stage a few times a year to do scenes like this that we couldn't do anywhere else.


  I don't know who that is with a plate. Some crew member.

[note: at this time, they were still taping in the actual home of the producers Dana Popoff and Marion Laney.]

[Good Eats Theme plays]

  I've never liked this animation. We designed it for the first shows, the pilot episodes, and I always meant to go back and replace it and I never did.

The Kitchen

  [reading] "Like barbeque, toast and cream, the word 'roast' suffers from multiple meaning disorder."
  Among its many connotations, roast can refer to the exposure of food to dry heat like "chestnuts roasting on an open fire." Roast can also mean any cut of meat that can be or has been prepared by such action. Technically this means that pot roast isn't really a roast at all because it's braised, not roasted.
  Now regardless of the critter from which it comes, all true roasts share certain common physical shapes. For one thing, they've got a low surface to mass ratio meaning they're shaped more like a Sputnik than a dictionary. They also work and play well with dry heat and that means they've got to come from tender regions of the body. Take a look.
  Regardless of the quadruped in question, any map of the roast world would have to include the rib and loin primals as well as the, uh, tenderloin and maybe to a lesser extent the sirloin, parts of the rump and parts of the inside round. All muscles that either do, well, almost no work or just a little bit of work. Sounds simple, right? And yet ironically, the hardest part about roasting is finding the right roast to roast.



  Now see, I have to look at what watch I'm wearing to know what season this is. This is season 5. I can tell by the ???? timepiece. And that is not an endorsement by any means.
  A lot of people ask about that painting in the background. They think that it's like the last Magritte or something.  Some people say 'Mar-go-reet'. I think it's 'Mar-greht', actually. I think there are two 't's. That was actually commissioned and was painted by an Atlanta artist who is the same woman that painted the scene on the Styrofoam with the roasting scene in the opening you saw there.
  Yeah, I'm talking about roasting. Roasting is really a big mystery for a lot of people. I'm not really sure why.
   Ah, look. You know, I don't know where that sofa came from. I don't remember that sofa. We have a different sofa now.
  This is one of our first, kind of forays into very, very rough animation to try to explain where different cuts come from stretched out on this rug. We moved eventually to a 3-Dimensional cow suit that made things a lot easier to do.

New Yorker Marketplace & Deli: Atlanta, GA

GUEST: Chris Casper, Butcher

  Question: how can any culture that has more lawyers than butchers call itself a civilization?

CHRIS CASPER: Hey, my brother's a lawyer.
AB: Ooo. A shame your parents must bear.
CC: Well, at least they still have me.
AB: True. Tell me, what do you roast when you want to roast something really special.
CC: Ah, that's easy. That'd have to be a standing rib roast.

  Ah, he must mean a prime rib.

CC: Not necessarily. There's a difference there. Prime rib must come from prime
   beef. Otherwise it's just a standing rib roast.

Besides beef, standing rib roasts also come in pork and lamb flavors.

  [inside the meat cabinet pointing to examples] 'Prime' is the solid gold watch of the beef world. It's beautifully formed and heavily marbled. You notice there's not a lot of fat around the meat but there's a good bit inside the meat. That means it's going to melt in your mouth when it's cooked. Unfortunately there's not a lot of prime out there so you're going to be hard pressed to find it outside of a top steak house or a specialty butcher shop. Personally, I'm more than happy to cook and consume a piece of prime beef as long as somebody else is paying for it.


  One notch down is 'choice' beef. It's kind of like the watch you wear to work and to the occasional wedding. There's not as much intramuscular fat—there's a little more around the outer mass—but there's plenty of beef flavor here and a relatively high meat-to-bone ratio. When I'm buying, I usually buy choice.


  The next down is 'select'. 'Select' is kind of like, you know, that watch you keep in your desk at work when you leave your real watch at home. There's a good bit of bone, a good bit of connective tissue and it's kind of chewy. The truth is most butchers don't even deal with this stuff except as stew meat. It makes great stew because a lot of connective tissue.


  When it comes to roast, I'll take that [choice] one.

CC: That's a great piece of meat, Mr. B., but I'd suggest this one.
AB: What's the deal? They're, they're, they're both rib roasts?
CC: It's off of the same rib cut, but this comes from the loin end.
AB: What difference does that make?
CC: It's got one, less connective tissue and also has less bone mass in there as well. So pound for pound, dollar for dollar, you're getting more meat.
AB: So let me get this straight. Same cut, better value, less money.
CC: That's correct.
AB: I'll take 4 bones worth.

  Ha, ha, ha. Another great reason for having your own personal butcher. Of course when you're buying beef these days, you're going to run into some other terms you're going to be curious about: all-natural, certified organic, um, hormone-free for instance. Want to find out more about those? Check out

AB: Chris, thanks for setting me up, man. Just put this one my tab, okay? [begins to leave]
CC: Um, Mr. B. I'm going to need some cash.

  [sighs] Oh bother.

  And this is a little Deli in Atlanta that's got a really nice little meat counter we moved around a lot. I don't think this guy owns the place anymore. I don't think they got bought.
  By the way, there is no Eliminator Cab. That's not a real bowling shirt. That's from a company that makes reproductions.

  Now this is important, this whole business about prime rib and the fact that prime rib is only prime if is comes from prime. See, now there you go: pork and lamb you can also get prime ribs.

  I actually don't like prime beef that much. I think it's too fatty. And when it comes to grilling, a lot of people think that grilling prime meat is a good thing. But all of that fat oozes out, goes down onto the coals and the flame bar, what have you, and ignites. I think that choice is a far, far better choice for grilling. And  you know, you're paying for this huge amount of fat. And if you don't cook it just right, it oozes out all over the place.

  I always prefer choice. I mean, I guess if I was going to go have, you know, steak at a Japanese restaurant where I was going to have Kobe, you know I would want that to be prime. But I think Kobe steak is prime by definition. Anyway, I think the choice is a much, much better deal.

  Ah, select. Select is okay for making hamburgers. But it's not good for much else.
  Gosh, look at all that hair. Just amazing, isn't it? I guess it'll all fall out eventually.
  Doing these kind of scenes is always kind of complicated because the lighting is so strange in the uh ...


  Oh, this is important. Yeah, [the loin end] has less connective tissue by a long shot and less bone mass. So you're actually getting a better ratio of meat to bone if you go from something from the loin end.

  I always buy roast by the bone. And usually, at home, when I do a real standing rib roast, I just eat the ribs. I cut off the rib with the meat that's in between them and I give everybody else the meat. And I just chop the meat from the bones and gnaw on the bones which is a heck of a lot tastier.
  There is no anymore, by the way. It's

  And there he is wanting cash.

  Oh bother.

The Kitchen

  Like balsamic vinegar and hard cheese, beef improves with age. That's because like vinegar and cheese, beef is mostly water. In fact, about eight and a half pounds of this ten and a half pound roast is indeed H2O, a substance not famous for its flavor. However, in just a few days we can eliminate enough of that water to seriously intensify the flavor of the meat. This is going to take time. But that's okay, because meanwhile, enzymes inside the meat will be hard at work breaking down connective tissue, and that means a more tender piece of meat.
  Of course, um, there's a not so wide line between aging and rotting. So we have to observe some guidelines. We need a temperature between 36 and 38 degrees, humidity around 50 percent, and plenty of air circulation. Sounds like a job for your friendly neighborhood chill chest. Now you could leave the roast just hanging around on a plate, but we are talking about raw meat here. That's why I cover mine with this prolifically perforated plastic bin. The holes promote air flow while the meat's juices are safely sequestered. Now just put this as far back and down in your fridge as possible. How long? Well as little as 24 hours would make a difference, but for a 10 pounder like this, 72 would be a lot better. Oh, you do have one of these [refrigerator thermometers] don't you?


  You know, "Oh, Bother," that's from Winnie the Pooh, okay? Some of you don't remember ... You wouldn't think that Winnie the Pooh would be a regular reference for me. But I find that Pooh sums up a lot of ... He wasn't terribly bright. I'm not terribly bright either.
  That's the same kind of scale that they used to weigh brains and body parts when they do autopsies. I think that's where it may have actually come from.
  Now you see this little, this little box contraption that let's the air flow? I only did that because, you know, everybody wants everything to be non-contaminatable, you know.  They want everything to be safe from a food safety standpoint. When I really do this at home, I just leave the thing uncovered.  I've got this old refrigerator down in the basement and I take it down there and I just put it in there and I leave it uncovered so I've got plenty of airflow. And if I want to speed up that process, you put a little fan in there. You know those little battery operated fans? And you put it in the refrigerator so that you get some convection going. And you can do a really, really nice job of dry-aging a piece of meat in very, very little time.
  Ah, the refrigerator cam. You know, you see a lot of refrigerator cam done these days. I saw a TV commercial the other day with a refrigerator cam. But are they, like,  sending me thank you notes? No. I'm not getting any love from anybody.

The Kitchen: 3 Days Later

  Three days later and, uh, the meat definitely looks dry on the outside. How dry is it really? Well, wow. Nine pounds. That's a loss of something like 12.7 percent. That means the meat's going to taste that much more intense and be that much more tender. Now if you've aged more than a couple of days you might notice some little leathery spots on the meat. That's okay. Just trim them off, making the cuts as shallow as possible. You may also notice a slightly funky aroma. That's okay. The smell of success.
  Now just cover and leave on the counter for an hour. By starting with a room temperature roast there's going to be less of a differential between the oven and the inner core of the meat. And that is going to help the roast to cook more evenly throughout. Also gives us time to consider the cooking apparatus itself.

Top steak houses may dry age
beef for up to 4 months.

  [referring to the opening shot of the dry-aged meat] Yeah, that looks disgusting. That "looks" disgusting, but it isn't.  It's got a nice dry coat on the outside. You can see that ... 12.7% ... like you figured that out in your head. I couldn't have figured that out if you had given me an abacus and a calculator. Somebody had to do that for me. I do not have much in the way of math skills.
  Now this is back when we shot in a real kitchen and you can tell because of the kind of the dimensions of things. And the fact that the back room looks the way a real room does.
  Ah, that was a bad cut. That's because I messed up something. That was a bad cut. I hate when I see that.
  "the cooking apparatus itself."

  Now this is going into a scene. This show, as you probably know if you have this DVD, is actually shot twice. It's the only episode of Good Eats where that happened because they didn't like the way I shot the first one.

The Kitchen

  To illustrate how utterly elementary roasting a great roast is, I've opted to roast my roast here, in my brother's oven. Now don't worry. He's not going to miss it. He's at an orthodontist convention in Vegas. Besides I'm not sure he'd miss it even if he was here. Now do we brave a look inside? I'm afraid we must.
  [finds a mixer in the oven] Hey, I'd figured that mixer for a goner. You know, uh, most of us—certainly my brother—take this space for granted, even abuse it a little. And that's bad because when it comes to ovens, cleanliness is next to hot-liness.

  And this was originally in a scene that was in my brother's house. Of course, my brother doesn't exist.
  I don't remember where that oven came from. But that oven's from, like, 1947 or something. Very, very old. A real beauty. It still worked, too.
  We had this on a turntable like they use for car commercials. It's a big turntable that can handle a lot of weight.
  Now those of you who are big Good Eats fans, will remember that my brother stole that [mixer] from me in an episode called American Pickle and it's finally showing up again.

Racquetball Court

  Now let's say for just a minute that this [racquetball court] is the interior of a really clean oven. Okay now depending on whether you own gas or electric, when you turn that thermostat to bake, one of two things is going to happen. Either an electric coil located right along the floor is going to start glowing red or a gas burner located just under the floor is going to fire. Either way the air near the floor is going to absorb heat, expand, and go up [throws red ball up in the air] to your food. There it's going to give up some of its heat and return [a blue ball falls back down] a little bit cooler thus setting up a convection current which, if you have a convection oven, is going to be enhanced by an electric fan. But, there's something else going on here, too.
  Infrared waves are being emitted, either by the coil or the oven floor itself. Now these waves are going to ricochet all around the oven and given time they're going to hit your food from just about every angle. Just even the nooks and crannies of this chicken. Now since there's a pan protecting your food from direct thermal onslaught this is a relatively mild cooking method. I mean this doesn't carry the kind of energy womp as 350 degree oil. Therein lies the essence of roasting: even, omni-directional heat. But what happens if your oven walls are all scummed up?
  [black drapes fall across the court walls] Now the energy meant for your roast is being either deflected by or absorbed by the grunge on your oven walls. Now that's not to say that your beast isn't going to take a few hits here and there. But believe me, in the end it's going to end up being done on one side and underdone on the other.

  This next scene, this is a racquetball court at a health club in Atlanta. The sound in there was really horrible. But I think this is one of my favorite explanations of a science issue on Good Eats.
  It was a lot of fun to shoot right up until the time when they turned on the machine that throws the tennis balls. You don't realize it, that it's ... [now referring to the oversized tennis ball] ... of course, that's not a real tennis ball and someone up there caught it. And I don't know remember how that happened, exactly. And it comes down blue. It's amazing how many people don't actually recognize that the ball changed colors.
  [referring to the last line of this paragraph] Yeah, you bet there is. It's you getting hit by tennis balls coming out of this machine that just sends out these balls in an incredibly high velocity. And you can't really see them because they move so fast. And trust me, I'm getting nailed like 1 out of 5 balls is hitting me. And I feel certain that that's because the prop guys were aiming it at me. Did you see that one? It was right at my belt-line. That hurt. Don't think that that didn't hurt.
   I especially like the little helmet that they made for my chicken. The very same guys that are pelting me with the tennis balls made that little helmet for the chicken.
  Oh, see that? That hurt. And that almost hit the microphone, too. That's why you could hear it so well.
   Now believe it or not, we never actually ... This is moving to another location. It looked like we dropped curtains but we didn't. That's on a sound stage in Atlanta. Because we couldn't figure out how to rig the curtains on the actual walls of the health club, there. Good illustration though. I like that.

The Kitchen

  Well there's no way my roast is going to get a fair trial in here. I could take the time to run it through, maybe, 3 or 4 self-cleaning cycles. But I can also find an intermediary structure. Excuse me for a moment. Now if I remember correctly the original Dutch ovens were made of brick, not cast iron. And that makes sense because nothing heats as evenly as ceramic.

  And a nice cut, see. Coming from black to black like that. I like that.

  I like that with the turntable.

  Now this terracotta planter borrowed from a neighbor is going to soak up whatever heat this thermo geezer can generate and then radiate it evenly to the roast. Now to avoid thermal shock, we're going to start this in a cold oven. Oh, and since we're going to want to make a pan sauce we're going to need another vessel that will fit inside, just big enough to hold the roast. Now we will bring this up to heat but remember, never, ever trust an oven. [places thermometer inside]

  Ah, yes. Dutch ovens. This whole method ... If I've had any ... You know, people will come up and comment to me about stuff they see on the show a lot. But a lot of people didn't believe me about the terra cotta pot. And I picked this up at a nursery near my house up in Atlanta and started messing around with this method of cooking. And people said, "This is crazy. It's not going to work. There's no way I'm going to do that." And then people did, a couple of people started trying it and it worked really, really well. And they posted on the internet how well it worked. And other people started trying it. And now I've got, probably, 500 people come up to me over the last couple of years and comment about how, "we did the flower pot roast, it was really really good."

  Most reliable roast recipes suggest a two-tiered cooking approach. First you sear the meat over high heat in order to create a golden brown and delicious crust. Then you drop the temperature so that the roast can finish low and slow. Now this is a fine philosophy and yet fatally flawed because the higher the heat involved the more proteins in the meat are damaged therefore the more juices lost. So if we give it all this high heat at the very beginning, we're going to have more juice lost through the cooking process. So I say flip it. We're going to start the roast at a balmy 200 degrees until it reaches a certain internal temp then we'll put the spurs to it. In the meantime we'll take a little time to prep and maybe check on the fire extinguisher.

  This all was originally set in my brother's kitchen. But, you know, it was pretty disgusting looking place and Food Network wouldn't go for that. I'm glad somebody's finally going to get to see that show, though.
  "...the more proteins that will be damaged, therefore the more juices blah blah blah blah."
   See, the common misconception is that you should always sear first. But you shouldn't. You should always sear after you've done the rest of the cooking. You save a lot more moisture that's inside the food that way.

  It's always good to have a fire extinguisher.

  Good beef, appropriately aged, needs very little help in the flavor department. Rub down with a canola oil, a few grinds of black pepper, and a little kosher salt is all we need. Now aside from seasoning, the salt will actually coax protein-rich liquids to the surface of the meat and that will aid in crust creation later on.

Canola Oil
Ground Pepper
Kosher Salt

  I love that [oil] can. "A little canola oil." That oil container was something we were trying to convert from an Italian Mechanics oil can. And we thought that we were going to be able to use it for oil, but it started falling apart on the inside. Obviously it wasn't food grade metals so we quit using it. It's just another example of something we were trying to ????

  Once upon a time, doneness was believed to be a factor of weight, time and oven temperature. See. [opens lid of range to revel a cooking chart] Beef, 20 minutes per pound at 300 degrees. This led to many a discouraged cook and disappointed diner because this formula cannot factor in the most critical piece of information in meat cookery: the shape of the meat to be cooked. And since that's a rather fuzzy piece of logic, I think we're going to have to skip the time thing all together.

  "20 minutes per pound." Nobody does that anymore. The whole weight issue, weight/time issue really doesn't exist.
  That's a great looking piece of meat. You know, this is one of those Good Eats episodes where you're really nervous about messing up the food because it's really expensive. That's a $100 roast or $85 roast. And we wanted to do as few passes at it as possible.

  Truth is, the only way to know what's going on in your meat is to take its temperature. Now there are a lot of different meat thermometers to choose from but I like the probe style that can stay inside the meat throughout the cooking process. I like knowing what's going on. Positioning the probe is crucial. Just set the probe right in dead center and drive it down into center mass. But just make sure you don't hit any bones. [checks thermometer insertion] Perfect.
  Well what do you know. 210. I'll buy that. Now the rig comes out, the lid comes off, the roast goes in—watch out for the probe—the lid goes back on, the rig goes in the oven and of course so does the thermometer just so you can keep a check on things.

  How's a 10 pound roast like a scrambled egg? Well if they're both done when they come out of the pan, they'll be overdone by the time they hit the plate. That's because food doesn't stop cooking just because you turn off the heat. There's such a thing as carry over heat and the greater the mass, the more the temperature is going to rise post oven.

Carry Over Heat

  Now as far as I'm concerned, there's only one temperature for a rib roast, that narrow range of joy in between 127 and about 132 degrees Fahrenheit called medium rare. Now I'm going to count on about 10 to 12 degrees of carry over so I'm going to set the alarm on my thermometer to go off at 118 degrees. Now how long is this going to take? Well that depends on the roast.

Rare 120°-127°
Medium Rare 128°-135°
Medium 136°-145°
Toast 146° and up

  That little pig, that's from a show, an episode ... Sorry, a show in season 2 called Pork Fiction where we did some ribs. I remember sitting in the car riding down to the location. (And I had found this lamp at a shop, I think it  was in Chicago, and there was this pig with a light on the inside.) And I pulled the light bulb out and sat down with a roll of tape and one of those little P-Touch things that you get at the office store and made that pig and did all of it's cuts and everything. He's still with us, too. He's still a good thermometer holder.
  Those red mitts came from an industrial supply place. And even though they are hard to keep clean, they're still just about the best mitts I've ever had. I'm not sure what they were originally designed for. They're just really, really heavy terry [cloth]. I think they were for use around some kind of industrial furnace or something like that. They cost about 40 bucks if I remember correctly.
  Now if I remember correctly, there's a piece of lumber like a 2 x 4 that's ... Oh, no, no, no. We were trying to figure how to make this thing spin while I was talking and I ended up just doing it myself, just using my legs. Lots of times when we do a moving thing like this we have a big piece of wood like a 2 x 4 spin the piece.
  It's hard to talk and pretend you're on a Merry-Go-Round at the same time. Luckily I can talk and do about anything at the same time.
  There's the very same painting in the background, the Styrofoam that's used at the very beginning of the show. I think it's hanging in my office now, if I remember.

   A nice steadicam push there.

The Kitchen

  [beeper goes off] It seems we have arrived at our first thermal destination, 118 degrees. Now let's just take a look at what's happened inside. Now be careful when you open this because there's going to be some steam, right? Open it away from you. Well, gee. Nice but kind of pallid. That's okay. It's only mostly cooked at this point. Still, we're going to give this a rest. Just take it straight up to a, to a cooling rack or a cutting board, whatever, and then cover it with foil. We don't want to pull out that probe so just cut the foil [beeper goes off again] to go around it. Be sure and turn off your alarm. There. Now how long to let this rest? Well, until this stops going up. It should be just enough time to go to our next thermal destination which is 500 degrees. And, uh, I can only hope that Chitty-Chitty-Bang
-Bang here [the oven] can make it.
  Time to get crusty. Now we may not really care about the internal temperature on this roast anymore. After all, it is thoroughly rested. But we do have an issue which is if we pull out this big metal probe and put this roast in the oven, it's going to spout like a whale. So just leave that where it is but you don't have to plug this up anymore.
  Now let's check on the oven. Say, 505 degrees. Who thought the ole guy had it in him? Now let's get this out as quickly as we can, carefully. We don't want to waste any of that energy. Now always open away. Slide that roast right back into place. There's going to be some sizzling. That's all right. Make sure you're centered up. Lid goes back on. And carefully back in. There we go.
  Now we may not care about temperature any more, but we do care about time at this point. I'm figuring about 15 minutes, uh, between us and crust. Go beyond that and, uh, you're probably talking toast, another thing all together. [sets timer]

  One of the hardest things to work on Good Eats is thermometers. Now we actually have a remote thermometer where we can dial in the temperature. But, like, in the early days we actually had to wait for things to be that temperature. You have no idea hard that is. When the script says, "118 degrees", yeah it's easy to say. But then the thermometer sits at 119 or 117 and you're like, "argh!" Everyone's standing around waiting on the thermometer. Now we can just dial it in which is pretty cool.
  "Open away." That's a very good looking piece of meat. "Only mostly cooked." Of course that's a rip off from the Princess Bride. "He's only mostly dead." It's funny how lines like that will stick in your head. It's not that I think that, you know, that great of a movie. But I don't know how many times, you know, say things like, "someone has bested a giant." I use a lot of obscure lines on Good Eats. I guess I like it when people 'get it.' But I also like it when they don't get it. They just think I'm crazy. "What's he talking about?" There are only 10 people on earth that get, like,  all the "in" jokes on Good Eats. Most people don't even know there are "in" jokes on Good Eats.
  Of course, that oven doesn't actually work. It's completely fabricated.
  "Time to get crusty." The problem with this kind of thermometer, of course, we started using these things, probe thermometers, from day 1. The problem is is that the cables that run from the probe to the thermometer unit itself have a very, very short life. They've improved a lot over the last couple of years. But back in the late 90's and like around 2000, 2001, they would only last maybe, I don't know, 30 or 40 uses it seems.
  Technically ... I'll tell you the truth when I do this, and I do use this method, I don't actually use the glass [pan inside the terra cotta]. I used that [here in the show] because I thought there might be a sanitation issue. Truth is, I just drop the roast right down on the terra cotta. It gets discolored, you know, as it soaks up some of that fat. But I've really never have had any problem with it. And I actually think that it may help protect the terra cotta against thermal shock. Because the ones I've actually put the meat right down on top of didn't crack and have lasted a lot longer than the ones that I didn't treat that way.

  [timer goes off] Here we go. Now that is what I call crusty. As beautiful as sight as that is, though, there is another one waiting for us. Now first we've got to move this to a cutting board and just cover with the very, very same piece of foil still leaving that little probe in there for now.
  And looky what we've got. That's what the French call fond. It basically means instant sauce. All we have to do is add water to liberate it. But the first step to making a sauce out of this is to get rid of at least some of the grease that's accumulated in there. Whatever you do, do not throw this grease away because it is really great for making Yorkshire pudding but that's, uh, that's another show. Ooo. Don't want to waste that. Now put this [pan] back on to high heat and, uh, as long as you've got cook top-proof bakeware, this isn't going to hurt anything. You can do it in metal if you've got a metal pan that fits. But glass is fine, too.

  Now in order to turn this into a sauce, we've got to deglaze these bits, dissolve them, and then basically any type of water type liquid will do. In fact, there's nothing quite like water to do the job so pour in one cup's worth. Of course, as wonderful a solvent as water is, it's not really famous for bringing a lot of flavor to the party. So I also like to add a cup of red wine. Now as this comes to a boil, just scrape it. I like to use a wooden spatula. We're really going to scrape those bits off the bottom of the pan.


1 Cup H2O

1 Cup Red Wine

  Now a lot of folks like to use just wine for this. But I really do think when it reduces down it's way, way too strong. So just keep scraping until you feel nothing but smooth glass then reduce this by half.

  When your sauce is down by half, time for a quick herbal addition. Sage is what I like and no I don't want to chop it up because I just don't want to half to fish out all of those little spent green bits later. Three or four leaves will do. Just give it a good bruise and toss it in. Let that cook for another 60 seconds, not a second longer, then strain and serve. Oh, we've got meat to cut.

3 - 4 Sage Leaves, Bruised

For a thicker sauce, stir a couple of pats of
butter into the hot liquid just before serving.


  It is a heavy ... Once you've got that loaded up, that's pretty gosh darn heavy. I think that it's probably about 30 pounds. It's a great looking roast. 4 bones. It's probably enough for 8 people? Three if one of them's me. But I really don't care about the main chunk of the meat. I want those ribs down there.
  Let it rest! Resting is like one of the issues that people have the most befuddled by when it comes to meat cookery. "Why do I need to do that?" And I can't think of single activity more crucial to meat than the resting process.
  [referring to the Yorkshire pudding comment] It is, indeed. It's a little on the salty side, but that's okay.
  Now, of course you could do this with a metal pan. There's absolutely no reason to do this with glass. And metal is actually a better pan. I don't even know why I didn't use metal here because ordinarily I would've. Lot's of times it's because of the camera. You know, you want to get a low angle looking into something. Glass is a lot more convenient because you can see through the stuff. Metal ... you know, if you've got one pan that's got a little bit too much reflectivity on it can be a real problem.
  There goes the glove. One of the worst burns I ever had in the kitchen came off of a glass vessel like that. You know, glass just never looks hot. It's an insulator, you know, so it's not the king of thing you think about being hot.
  I wasn't a very big fan of that range. I didn't like the grates on that range. It's too hard to slide things across. I like cook tops that have integrated grates so that you can basically, easily move something from one side all the way over to the other. I was happy to see that one go.

  It's funny, we've changed appliances so many times on Good Eats, changing the cook top is one of the things people notice less than anything else. They'll notice if, you know, a toy on the counter changes but not so much the cook top. And I wonder why that is. It's something I always worry about, that every time something changes, it's going to be a problem for folks. I think people are actually, because they see things change in their own kitchen so much, they're a lot more likely to accept it of a television show, especially one like this that's, you know, obviously in a real place.

The Kitchen

  Whenever carving time comes around, I reach for electric. And this is why. [carves the bones off and then cuts each of the 4 bones into separate pieces] These are for later, as in for me.

  And that probably ... You could let a piece of meat probably like that rest, if you keep it covered, I've actually let one rest like that for an hour and it was still perfectly warm on the inside. Certainly warm enough to serve.
  I wish I could find an electric knife that had a blade just 2 inches longer than this. It always seems to be a little bit too short. But I really do like electric knives. And for the money you can't beat ... [reacting to the just cut-open meat] Now that's it, that's it right there. There's dinner. Carve those up like that and just gnaw on them for 6 or 7 days like a hyena. You can keep the rest of it and just let me have that [bones with meat].   And the next day you can take and wrap it up in a little foil and stick in the oven ... Ahh, that's really, really great.

  Now we've basically got a big, boneless roast and I like to take off this big hunk of fat right here. This is why the dogs all love me. Now we're basically facing a big, rib-eye roast. Start slicing from the end and make sure you don't go less than a half inch. Now would a good time for review.

Semi-skilled professional in a real kitchen ... do try this at home ... but be careful won't you?

  Remember, when it comes to a great roast, where and what you buy matters a lot more than where you roast it. So talk to your butcher. If you don't have a butcher, well find one. Soon. 

Talk with your butcher before making any roast purchases

  Dry age your beef in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days.

Dry age your beef in the fridge for 2 - 4 days

  Bring it to room temperature. Season it simply but thoroughly.

Bring meat to room temperature before roasting

Season simply but thoroughly

  Roast it in a clean oven or a vessel that promotes even heating at 200 degrees or until it reaches an internal temperature of 118.

Roast it in a clean oven, or a clean intermediary structure


118° internal temp.

  Then give it a rest. And then blast it at 500 for another 15 minutes or until crusty on the outside.

Give it a rest

500° for 15 mins.

  Then deglaze and prepare to amaze.

Deglaze pan and build sauce

  Mmmm. Now I know that standing rib roast is technically a special-occasion kind of food. But, hey, who's to say what qualifies as a special occasion. I mean, uh, maybe your new sweepstakes entry came in the mail today or maybe the nice lady who reads the meter dropped by or maybe it's Wednesday or maybe ... [phone rings] Excuse me. [notes Caller ID] Or maybe your brother comes home from Las Vegas.

AB: Hey how was the convention? ...
  You're kidding? They broke in?

  See you next time on Good Eats.

AB: I hope they didn't take anything important.
  Oh no. That's just freaking me.
  Say, they didn't happen to get my, uh, mixer did they?
  No. Hmm. I just ... Never mind. No. I'm having a TV dinner.
  Nah. No special occasion. [laughs knowingly]
  You wouldn't like it.

  I used to feed that [fat] to my dogs. Right there. I cut it in half and watch them fight over it. Ah, I even mention that. I forgot about that. That's true. The dogs do love me. I've always been good to the dogs.
  [as he is cutting off the end piece] Now that's my favorite piece. If I'm going to eat off of the main piece, that's the one right there because I like that crustiness on the end.
  Now see this, technically speaking, this piece of meat is a little over done. But I remember why we chose it. The one that was actually more perfectly done on the inside didn't look as good on the outside. And so we decided to kind of punt and go with the one that was better on the outside. Then we boosted the red a little bit in post production. It's always a thing about meat, though, it's so ... [the scene changes to a close up of the roast being cut] That's actually a different roast. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.  We pulled a quick one. That's actually the first roast that didn't have as nice appearance on the outside. That one looks pretty good on the inside, though. Right at medium. I'd say that that's actually medium. We tried to pass it off as medium rare. But looking at it today, if I saw that in a restaurant I'd probably say that was medium. Still a great piece of meat.

  Very nice. And that jus is just thickened enough.
  Actually, I didn't have a glass of wine. I think that that was a glass of whatever ... the same wine that I poured into pan earlier.

  Well, I guess that's all I have to say about that.

Last Edited on 08/27/2010