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Christmas Ribeye Roast Dinner

As sure as it is that turkey will be the star of the show every Thanksgiving, a beef ribeye roast always takes center stage on Christmas day for our family.

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Like most folks, we identify it as “Prime Rib”, even though it’s technically ‘choice’ grade beef, and not the considerably more expensive, best-you-can-buy ‘prime’ grade which would otherwise earn its true title.

The supermarkets all know beef rib roasts are popular for Christmas, therefore most feature it as a big sale item on the cover of their print ads during and prior to that week. Sometimes at what seems like “loss leader” prices.

Case in point, this year Safeway had the best deal in town at $5.47/lb. for butcher- fresh (not vacuum-packed) ‘Rancher’s Reserve’ bone-in beef ribeye roast…

Hawaii Kai Costco was selling the same thing for $7.99 per pound. I think the quality of beef at Safeway is just as good as Costco, so the $2.50/lb. difference in savings was a real bargain!

To note, Costco also brought in prime grade ribeye roasts for the holiday season, which were going for $15.99 per pound. Calculating to feed a pound per person at our dinner party,  it would have cost $239 for genuine prime rib. As it is, we paid about $80 for the two choice rib roasts. Ah, much easier on our already-dented holiday season wallet, and STILL absolutely succulent and delicious.

The news reported that President Obama and ohana, who as you know are here on Oahu in Kailua for the holidays, also had a rib roast Christmas dinner, where surely they not only were served prime grade rib eye, but perhaps Kobe! Oh man, I’ve never tried Kobe Prime Rib before, but just imagine how amazing that must be! Or perhaps theirs was locally sourced (usually more expensive, top quality and fresh as you can get) from the North Shore Cattle Company or Maui Cattle Company.

At this point, if it sounds like I have conscience of not having genuine prime rib, not really.

Anyhow, here we have a hunk-a-hunk-a soon-to-be-burnin’ beefy love ready to go…

Important note to make, this rib roast has been brought out of the refrigerator about an hour earlier to let it reach near-room temperature. This, as you NEVER want to roast any large cut of meat that’s under 40ºF (in refrigerated condition), as you will otherwise have an overcooked exterior and undercooked interior section, plus loss of flavor from fat marbling that hasn’t been properly melted throughout the meat fibers due to inadequate heat reaching it within.

This is the bone-in model…

For seasoning, I keep it fairly simple, coating it with EVOO, then pushing slivers of fresh garlic cloves in rows along the top under the fat cap. Then I cover it generously with Hawaiian salt and fresh cracked black pepper. This year I had some natural Hawaiian Red Alae Salt that came direct from the salt pond in Hanapepe on Kauai…

So I used that instead of store-bought Hawaiian salt. The naturally-produced Hanapepe, Kauai-sourced Alae Salt tastes very briny if you will, which I could tell would really punch out the flavor of the beef as it melts throughout and into the fat cap. This is gonna’ be good!

Hawaii Kai Costco was also selling choice ribeye roasts pre-seasoned with guess what? Yup, Montreal Steak Seasoning. Ha! I’ve used that on a rib roast a few years back and it turned out great.

So here we have the two 7.5 pound choice beef ribeye roasts all seasoned and ready to go on a roasting rack and pan…

All I gotta’ do next is insert the meat thermometer and pop these bad boys in the oven.

You can try the timing-by-pound method, but unless you really know your oven and you’ve had practice with roasts before, I highly recommend using an oven-safe meat thermometer. They’re cheap and take all the guesswork out of what could end up being a costly and disappointing mistake if you overcook your roast.

Note, make sure when you insert the meat thermometer probe, the tip is in the center of the meat and not touching the bone, or you’ll get a false reading. It’s the temperature at the center that you need to know.

This time I followed Food Network’s Alton Brown method of starting low and slow, then blasting it on high just at the very end to get a nicely-browned crust. According to “AB”, the initial low heat method yields a much more moist and juicy roast, as the marbled fat throughout the center has a better chance to evenly melt and flavor the surrounding meat fibers. Sounds convincing to me.

To do this, put the seasoned roast in a preheated oven set at a balmy 220ºF on ‘roast’ (top and bottom burner function) and let her go all the way until the meat thermometer reads 118º at the center of the meat. Then you pull it out, cover it with foil and let it rest, which it will continue to cook through residual heat. I actually pulled it at 110º, to where it climbed to 115º during the resting period.

While it rests at this almost-finished stage, increase the oven temperature to 500º. Once the thermometer in the meat stops climbing and peaks, put it back in the oven and “blast” it at that 500ºF temperature for about 10 -15 minutes, or until the outside sears and crusts to the point where you want it. Don’t burn it though.

Here it is done after the final high heat “blast”, where the internal temperature right out of the oven reads 120ºF…

I let it rest for about a half-hour covered with foil to let the juices redistribute, where it climbed to a peak internal temperature of 125ºF  just before carving. Should be perfectly medium-rare in the middle.

As I always do when carving turkeys and roasts, I use an electric knife for this task, where I first cut the entire bone rack section out from underneath (I missed a photo of that, shoots), then it’s ready to carve even slices for serving. Here we have the end part, which is for those who prefer their beef more medium than rare…

Then we get more towards the center where it’s medium-rare…

Looks absolutely fantastic  and done to medium-rare perfection. Just one problem: as you can see, there’s way too much juice loss. I think a half hour wasn’t enough resting time. I should have let it rest for a whole hour. I say this, because when I carved the other rib roast about 2 hours later (the first roast fed everyone!), it barely dripped at all, and was still perfectly medium-rare inside. All those juices had a chance to REALLY redistribute. The second one was even more juicy and succulent because of that. Not that the one shown here wasn’t good. It was great! But that longer resting time would have made it that much better.

Whatever juices had been lost, of course we had lots of Au Jus made from the pan drippings to serve with it, along with the requisite Horseradish.

But wow, that Alae Salt made all the difference I think. It’s briny flavor really permeated evenly throughout the entire cut of beef; not just the outside. So ono.

Everyone really raved about it. Gotta’ admit, as Guy Fieri would say, this year’s Ribeye Roast turned out “money”!

Of course we had all the sides, including Alaskan King Crab Legs…

This was served with drawn butter and lemon. Yeah, I know, basil leaves are a strange garnish for crab legs, but hey, it was right there, so I used it.

Then there was these Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Red and Yellow Peppers…

This Brussels Sprouts recipe is easy. First make a cross slit in the stem area of each sprout. This helps the flavors get into it. Then boil the Brussels Sprouts in water until tender, which takes about 15 minutes, and drain it. Then in a large pan add EVOO and saute chopped garlic and sliced red and yellow peppers until cooked al dente. Then add the cooked Brussel Sprouts and toss together with peppers until evenly incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. So simple, yet very delicious!

For starch, there was mash potatoes…

This is the packaged stuff from Costco, which is decent, but I think next year I’ll make it from scratch, as I prefer to have some chunks of potato flesh in my mash for the added texture. That green stuff is julienned basil thrown on just for color. There was white rice too for those who prefer that.

My sister also made her ever-popular baked potato salad…

This is basically a fully-loaded baked potato in “salad” form. It’s made-up of tender chunks of diced cooked potatoes, tossed with a mixture of mayonnaise and sour cream, along with bacon bits, chives and grated cheddar cheese. As a twist, she added olives in this batch, which personally I think didn’t match the baked potato theme, but otherwise, STELLAR. Love it. I can eat a bowl of this and call it a day.

For dessert, my sister also made her incredible-as-always Blueberry Cheesecake…

And Pumpkin Crunch…

A slice or two of each…

The toppings are kinda’ messed up here, as this plate had been covered with plastic wrap, but at least you can see the filling and crust. Both of them really, really ono.

Well, cheers to a wonderful and mighty delicious Christmas dinner.

Next up, New Year’s Eve.

19 thoughts on “Christmas Ribeye Roast Dinner

  • December 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Pomai, I like your home cooked holiday dinner very much. Wonder where the ice cream?
    Did you receive an ice cream maker for Christmas? I made a prime rib also for Christmas and homemade dinner rolls and sister made popover too. The yule log made of chocolate was hit. I try out chocolate fondue and everyone love it.

    My girlfriend made a Christmas goose with stuffling and roasted vegetables and homemade eggnog and flan.

  • December 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Michael, wow, what a feast! That Christmas Goose sounds amazing. Homemade eggnog and flan sounds great too.

    We kept ours fairly simple this year. I also wanted to serve sauteed mushrooms, but I forgot to pick them up at Costco when I was there, darned it.

    As a matter of fact I did get an ice cream maker for Christmas from my sister. Yay! It’s a huge 4-quart model. So you’ll be seeing some posts here about it in the near future, including that Guri Guri experiment I mentioned before.


  • December 27, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Oh fantastic!! Merry, merry Christmas to you! What a wonderful meal. I missed going back to Hawaii for Xmas and this reminded me what I missed out on this year, as my mom made a prime rib. I always miss the good dinners!! I did get a nice container of Hawaiian salt for Xmas, though, so I will put it to good use for something special, very soon!

  • December 28, 2009 at 3:48 am

    wasabi prime, ditto. How ironic, as I also received a gift box of gourmet Hawaiian salt blends made by a local company based in Mililani called Hawaiian Kine Flavors. I considered trying them on my rib roasts featured here, but opted instead for the Kauai-sourced Hawaiian Red Alae Salt, which worked out AMAZING.

    Nate, I do as best I can with my “Food Network education”. lol




  • December 28, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Pomai, wow great Christmas dinner so Michael also. I had a old English one with roast beef wellington. Red skin steam potato, homemade butterrolls, vegetable roasted. Pouch salmon with hollindaise sauce. My sister made baked Alaska and cream cheese fruitcake and rum cake. Drinks were cramberry cider, eggnog .

  • December 28, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Oh that looks so delicious! Hope you had a wonderful Mele Kalikimaka!

  • December 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Pomai, awesome roast you made. My family wanted to try leg of lamb this year. Had lobster tails and oysters. Homemade lava cakes, cookies and homemade truffles.

  • December 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    WOW!!! That’s all I have to say….

  • December 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Pomai, for my Christmas it was simple meal of cornish game hens stuffed boneless and creamed spinach and mashed red skin potato. I had grill crabs and oysters. My aunt made a salmon loaf and liver pate loaf. Homemade rolls and shortbread cookies and chocolate rum cake. Lot of salads brought by other people too and desserts.

  • December 29, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Wow that looks good. But imagine Wagyu prime rib. My head’s spinnin’.

  • December 23, 2011 at 9:09 am

    When choosing meat if it says “choice” on the label it’s a much better selection of meat then something not grade labeled and the price will be higher too. If it’s labeled “prime” it must be the finest cut with the best marbling and pricey. Anything gimmicky labeled “reserve” or such is just below the level of “select” in marbling. Butchers call it “regular” or “standard” they usually put a generic term on there to make it sound good like “natural” and it’s less than half the price of choice. You get what you pay for.
    · Prime
    · Choice
    · Select
    · Standard
    · Commercial
    · Utility
    · Cutter
    · Canner

  • December 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Ken, so are you suggesting that Safeway’s “Rancher’s Reserve” label denotes their beef is really almost at the much lower grade of “standard”, and far below being qualified as “choice”?

    Now that I LOOK at it in the photos, it does lack an appearance of marbling, however I do remember it being VERY tender and flavorful. While there may have been a lack of even marbling throughout, the generous layer of “fat cap” surely did permeate all it’s juices throughout the fibers of the leaner meat within. If what we had was actually a practically SUBSTANDARD “standard” cut, it sure had us fooled. Tasted like Prime Rib as far we were concerned. Super juicy, super tender, super beefy, and super ONO!

    Of course it helps to have someone who knows how to properly COOK it. A-ha!

    Now you have me intrigued on the subject! Next time I hit the supermarket (like tomorrow), I’m definitely going to have a chat with their butcher about what you brought up. Thanks for the insight!

  • December 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Pomai Merry Christmas! (There’s another Ken???) Any ways both of you got me looking and I had to drag out my “New Professional Chef” 1190 page cookbook and reference by the Culinary Institute of America.

    Per the book, it is mandatory all beef be inspected by either federal (supported by taxpayers) inspectors or state inspectors (with federal approval and trained) and carry an inspection stamp. However grading beef is not mandatory. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed specific standards used to assign grade to beef and also trains graders. The meatpacker can use USDA federal graders (at the meatpacker’s expense) or chose not to use USDA graders and assign his or her own grade instead.

    As Ken mentioned above on “December 23, 2011 at 9:09 am” USDA beef grades are Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, Canner and Beef Yield Grades are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

    “Rancher’s Reserve” is NOT a USDA GRADE and therefore you don’t know what you are getting or where it falls compared to a USDA beef grade federal government standard.

  • December 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

    There was this interesting cooking method feature titled Ann Seranne’s Genius Rib Roast” posted on Yahoo today. Check it out…

    Ann Seranne’s Rib Roast of Beef

    Makes about 2 servings per rib

    From “Ann Seranne’s Recipe for a Perfect Roast: Put it in the Oven and Relax”, The New York Times, July 28, 1966

    One 2- to 4-rib roast of beef, weighing 4 1/2 to 12 pounds
    Salt & freshly ground black pepper

    1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator 2 1/2 to 4 hours before cooking.

    2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

    3. Place the roast in an open, shallow roasting pan, fat side up. Sprinkle with a little flour, and rub the flour into the fat lightly. Season all over with salt and pepper.

    4. Put the roast in the preheated oven and roast according to the roasting chart below, timing the minutes exactly. (This works out to be 15 minutes per rib, or approximately five minutes cooking time per pound of trimmed, ready-to-cook roast.) When cooking time is finished, turn off the oven. Do not open the door at any time.

    5. Allow the roast to remain in the oven until oven is lukewarm, or about two hours. The roast will still have a crunchy brown outside and an internal heat suitable for serving as long as 4 hours after removing from the oven.

    6. Note: Don’t attempt this recipe if your oven isn’t well-insulated (that is, if it’s extremely hot to the touch when it’s in use).

    Number of Ribs | Weight without Short Ribs | Roasting Time at 500ºF
    2 | 4½ to 5 lbs. | 25-30 minutes
    3 | 8-9 lbs. | 40-50 minutes
    4 | 11-12 lbs. | 55-60 minutes


  • December 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Using this recipe for my costco 14.99/lb 9lb “prime” rib roast. Merry Xmas!

  • December 21, 2015 at 2:43 am

    How many minutes per pound do you figure with this cooking method?

    • December 21, 2015 at 7:14 am


      While I depend strictly on the thermometer reading, I’d estimate it takes about 13 minutes per pound, which is in general what you’ll find from cooking charts on roasting prime rib to medium-rare doneness.

      The 7.34 lb. cut of ribeye roast here took about 90 minutes. Don’t forget, you should also allow about 1 hour before putting it into the oven that you remove it from the refrigerator to reach room temperature so that it roasts evenly. Then 1 hour after it’s done roasting to “rest”, covered in foil. The resting period is as important as the roasting to maximize tasty ribeye roast juiciness in each slice!

      So in total, about 3.5 hours total from start to finish. The good part is, it’s super easy to do! All you need is a timer (your smartphone), a meat thermometer (the probe type with a tethered/wired electronic readout works, too), and enjoy the football game while it cooks and rests!


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