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Everyday Cheapskate: From Chuck Roast to 'Prime Rib' in 3 Hours Flat

Mary Hunt on

Shortly after I wrote a column on the specific steps to prepare chuck roast (a relatively cheap cut of beef) so that it turns out like prime rib, I got an email from faithful reader Mary B. We went back and forth a bit as she prepared this for guests. I thought you would enjoy the feedback.

But first, here's a quick refresher on how to do this:

No. 1: Two thermometers. Make sure you have a good oven thermometer (to measure the heat inside the oven) and an ovenproof meat thermometer (not instant-read, but one that you will insert and stay in the meat the entire time it is in the oven). Regulating the exact temperatures of both the oven and the meat are the secret.

No. 2: Tie it, salt it. Tie the roast with white cotton string so it's compact and evenly shaped, and salt it well. Not a light sprinkling -- at least 1 tablespoon. Don't be stingy. Rub it in well. You can also season with pepper or additional spices at this point if you want, but just be sure you are super generous with the salt.

No. 3: Wrap it up. Use plastic wrap to wrap it up tightly. Refrigerate for 24 hours (no fudging here -- at least 24 hours!)

No. 4: Free it up. Remove the plastic wrap and place the roast in a roasting pan, uncovered.


No. 5: Insert meat thermometer. Find the thickest part of the roast. Insert the thermometer so that the tip is about halfway through (in the middle). Leave it there!

No. 6: Preheat oven to 250 F. Place the oven thermometer in the middle of the oven. You are going to rely on it, not the one that is built into the oven. This is critical. Rarely is an oven calibrated exactly so that the internal heat measures exactly the same temperature as the setting dial. Once the temperature reaches 250 F on the oven thermometer, adjust the oven temperature dial to coincide so it doesn't heat up any hotter than 250 F.

No. 7: Set roast in the oven. Leave the roast in the oven until its internal temperature is exactly 130 F. You will know because you left that meat thermometer inserted. Once it hits 130 F, remove the roast from the oven. Remove the meat thermometer.

No. 8: Quickly wrap in foil. Once the roast is completely wrapped in foil, allow the meat to rest for exactly 20 minutes.


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