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Salt Crusts for Prime Rib?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi,
I'm thinking of using a salt crust for a prime rib, and I'm bewildered by all the different recipes. Some say to put coarse salt on wet meat, others to make a paste of salt and water, others to make a paste of salt and eggwhite, and others to make a paste of salt and eggwhite and flour....
I feel like the difference between these recipes is important, because I feel like the first ones would let air in and the latter would lock air out. I don't want to "steam" the meat...
Does anyone have any insight/advice?
Thanks!
Angela
post #2 of 14
I just use plenty of coarse sea salt or kosher salt. If you do the egg white/salt combo and seal it like a whole fish you will wind up steaming your meat to some degree and your roast will not caramelize.
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #3 of 14
The current issue of Fine Cooking magazine has a recipe for an Herb-and-Salt Crusted Standing Rib Roast that has you sear the roast before you apply the dough-like crust. I trust their recipes, so it looks pretty good to me.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice!
I think I'll do what you say, Duckfat. It sounds easier, and that method has good reviews on allrecipes.
I'm cooking it on really low heat... 250... would you recommend searing it before I coat it in the salt so that it gets that crispy outside, or should I just deal with not having a crispy outside?
post #5 of 14
With all due respect to DuckFat (and he's due plenty), I'd like to clean up the linguistics regarding "salt crust" cooking.

It's not a salt crust if the salt is just pressed on dry. The point is to form an impermeable barrier using salt as the dry part of a mortar which will cure and harden in the oven.

The meat does not "steam." That's one of the major points of the technique. No steam is introduced and there's no place for steam from the meat's own moisture to form. Instead, the meat cooks with very little moisture loss -- especially once the salt bakes and hardens. And, "very little moisture loss" is the other major point of the technique.

The meat is not supposed to develop its own crust; rather it's something like a sous vide. My first suggestion is that if the technique doesn't seem like a good idea, don't do it. But if you do want to try it, go all the way with either the salt/egg-white or salt/flour/water version. My second suggestion is don't do it for the first time with money on the line or for an important holiday dinner. Start with a two or three bone roast and try out on friends.

My third suggestion, based on experience, is to bear in mind that the salt crust will not actually season the meat much. Rather, it has a tendency to take surface seasoning right off the meat when the curst is broken off. If you want the meat well seasoned, you'll have to do it at carving or plating.

In my own opinion, it's not one of the best ways of roasting beef or poultry -- but works very well for fish.

BDL
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
sounds very sensible. Thanks, Boar.
If the point is to minimize moisture loss, then I guess I'm already doing that by roasting it at a low temperature. ...I'm cooking this for my husband and all his friends (it's his birthday) so maybe I'll take your advice and save the experimenting for a safer occasion, or fish. Searing/slow roasting worked great last time, but I always love to try new things.
post #7 of 14
I agree with BDL, I also do the salt/egg white technique and it works beautifully. Although I use it for smaller cuts of meat, in particular veal butt tenders work very well. The finished meat is perfectly Rosy throughout the eye and maintains all it's moisture. Like BDL alluded to, as the crust hardens it adheres directly on the meat allowing no steam to develop.

The cooking time I use for the tenders is 30 minutes at 400f in a convection oven. Also, unlike traditional resting of meats, you want to remove your protein from the crust as soon as it is finished. Then let it rest.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #8 of 14
Dead right. Keep your temp low and your keep your internal temp of the meet below 70degC and you'll have no probs, salt will absorb the moisture but it WON'T reduce moisture loss in the meat, what it will do is to protect the meat from the heat (no need if your temp is already low anyway), it will also add seasoning and flavour (depending on the kind).

Nothing wrong with steam btw, it increases heat transfer, if your sear the meat first, you'll still get your meaty flavours!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
This has all been amazingly informative. I've learned a lot.
Thanks everyone. Now I can't wait to try a bonafide salt crust --- next week, on some kind of fish or pork or something, just to see how it goes.
This was my first time posting on here, but I'll definitely be back so I can keep on learning more!
post #10 of 14
I just rub on a little oil on the roast and then season with S&P and what ever else I plan to use. I then caramelize at 450 for 45 minutes when doing an entire rib. After that I reduce my heat to 200-250 and extend the cook time for several hours. Low and slow is a great technique for Prime rib. This is of course not a salt crust, it's just a tried and true way of making great prime rib.
If you are buying a whole prime rib in cryovac try to pick it up at least a few weeks in advance and store it in the cryo so it can wet age.
A salt crust is accomplished in some cases by mixing nothing more than salt and water and pressing it on your food. Francis Mallman utilizes this method in his book "Seven Fires". When you cook with this method the salt will absorb moisture from your product. What keeps it moist is the moisture of what you are cooking which is trapped inside the salt crust after it hardens. Technically correct or not some refer to this as steaming as the result is similar in that your product stays moist. One of the primary benefits of this cooking method is that the salt heats and cooks very evenly. This is easily accomplished for most fish however in the case of a whole prime rib you would have a monster crust.
Francis Mallman suggests 3 pounds of salt for every pound of meat. Yes that's 30 pounds of dry salt alone for a 10 pound roast! Not the way I would opt to cook a prime rib but it would be fun to try on a ham in the BGE.
One more project on the list! :lol:
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
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post #11 of 14
This is a fascinating thread. Would like to try this method out.

Being the TV food show junkie that I unashamedly am, I saw an episode of "Two Fat Ladies" where they did a large whole fish (I think it was sea bass). Roasting pan, loads of salt, fish on top, think they stuffed it with some fennel, ground black pepper, dill and lemon, loads more salt on top. They then simply sprinkled the top salt layer with some plain water. This hardened up the crust as it baked.

Once the fish was done - knife pierced into it for a few seconds to see if the inside was hot enough, tested it on the lower lip. Once it was done, out of the oven, let it rest a short while, then literaly crack the really hard crust off taking the skin with it.

Lifted onto a warmed serving platter, carved at the table. It looked delicious.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #12 of 14
I had a friend try it once and he said it made it so salty they couldn't eat it. What did he do wrong, if it's possible from the little info I've given(sorry)?

Also, what are some things NOT to do when try'n this cooking method?

I always make mine on the smoker w/just evoo and s&p, sometimes w/some rosemary and thyme.
post #13 of 14
Wrong salt, and/or he got the salt too wet.

Don't use the wrong salt. Don't get the salt so wet it dissolves.

Smoked standing rib is one wonderful thing.

BDL
post #14 of 14
Great info, BDL. :thumb:
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