This might be the best piece of meat you’ve ever had.
And like anything worth having, you’re going to have to work for it, and pretty hard, too.
Adam Perry Lang’s new book ‘Charred & Scruffed’ (Artisan, 2012) is all about the holy grail of crispy, deeply browned, flavorful crust of on a perfectly grilled piece of meat. It requires assiduous grooming of the meat before it hits the grill, the preparation of special unguents and lavers, and then, constant and particular attention to the meat while it is on the grill — turning and basting, resting, — then back to the grill for more turning and basting. Block out at least three hours to prepare “Rib Roast Done Like a Steak.” It’s like taking up a vocation.
It must be said that nothing Perry Lang asks you to do is difficult; there’s just a lot of it. But the incremental attention to detail culled from years of experience as a classically trained chef adds up, ultimately, to an extraordinary piece of grilled meat.
The “charred” (speaks for itself) and “scruffed” (roughed-up surfaces to maximize the crunchy, grilled crust) referred to in the title — as well as “clinched,” (meat cooked directly on coals) “hot potatoing” (lots of flipping on a very hot grill), and more – speak to the process of grilling, and serving the meat. That’s right, you’re probably serving it wrong too: Perry Lang slices his meat directly into a “board dressing” so that the unexposed interior of the meat is drenched in additional layers of flavor on its way to your plate.
‘Rib Roast Done like a Steak’ shows off almost all of the ‘Charred & Scruffed’ playbook in one recipe. But there’s magic to be done with pork as well, a very impressive leg of lamb, chicken, shrimp, and more. If grilling is your game, Charred & Scruffed is where you step up to the plate.
Rib Roast Done Like a Steak
Excerpted with permission from Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2012
Serves 8 to 10
- Two 4¼- to 4½-pound 2- to 3-bone rib roasts, “prepped like a steak” (instructions follow)
- 6 tablespoons Four Seasons Blend (recipe follows)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground
- black pepper
- An herb brush (instructions follow)
- 4 cups baste of your choice (recipe follows)
- Board Dressing (recipe follows)
- A clean brick, wrapped in foil
1. To make the Four Seasons Blend
Makes approximately 1 cup
- 1 cup sea or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine the salt, black pepper, garlic salt, and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer to a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and pulse to the consistency of sand. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
2. To make the Basic Baste
Makes approximately 4 cups
- 1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter
- ½ cup rendered fat from the meat being cooked (optional)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated garlic (use a Microplane) or garlic mashed to a paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion (use a Microplane)
- 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
Combine all the ingredients for the fat baste in a 2-quart saucepan and bring just to a simmer; remove from the heat. For the best flavor, refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 1 to 2 days (reheat over low heat to melt the butter before using).
Whisk the lemon juice and vinegar into the fat baste before using, or reserve it to add later.
Set up the grill with an elevated grate and preheat it to high.
(*You can buy a grill with a hand-cranked wheel that allows you to raise and lower the cooking surface. Or you can save yourself a lot of money and buy an extra grate for your grill, using bricks to elevate it above the main grill gate.)
Season the beef all over with the seasoning blend and pepper, then lightly moisten your hands with water and work the seasonings into the meat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to develop a “meat paste”.
Put the beef on the clean (unoiled) grill grate and cook, without moving it, for 1 minute. Turn, making sure to grab the “eye” portion of each steak with your tongs, and cook for 1 minute. The meat may stick and tear a bit, but this is OK, even desirable—the sticking and tearing is what I call “meat scruffing”. (For newer grills, where less sticking and tearing occurs, or for increased surface area, score with a knife.) Turn the meat and cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 3 minutes longer.
Put the foil-wrapped brick on the grill grate to be used as a steady point for the beef, lean the meat up against it, and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the roasts and repeat until you’ve cooked them for 4 minutes each on all four edges.
Move the brick to the side and continue cooking the roasts, turning them every 3 to 4 minutes and basting with the herb brush each time the meat is moved, until the internal temperature registers 105°F on an instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes.
(*Optional: Use an Herb Basting Brush to tie a bunch of herb sprigs (rosemary, sage or thyme, or a combination, or other herbs, depending on what you are cooking to a dowel, the handle of a wooden spoon, or a long-handled carving fork. The herb brush flavors the baste, releases oils into the crust as it builds, and eventually becomes a garnish for the Board Dressing.)
Transfer the beef to a platter, brush lightly with the baste, and let rest for
at least 5 minutes, and up to 30 minutes.
Remove the brick from the grate and carefully remove the elevated grill grate
Put the roasts on the hot grill and cook, turning every 3 to 4 minutes and basting lightly every time the beef is moved, until the internal temperature registers 120°F.
Meanwhile, make a basic Board Dressing: Combine 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You can improvise here, adding grated shallots or garlic (use a Microplane), finely chopped chiles, chopped scallions, and/or other chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Mix the herbs into the board dressing, then slice the meat, turning each slice in the dressing to coat. Then pour the resulting board juices over the meat and finely chop the tip of the herb brush and mix the herbs into the dressing.
Transfer the roasts to the cutting board and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
To serve, cut the meat off the bones, cut the bones apart, and put the bones back on the grill. Slice the meat ¼ inch thick, turning each slice in the dressing to coat, and arrange on plates. Pour some of the board juices over each serving, and serve with the bones on a platter alongside.