beef musings sous vide techniques The French Laundry Thomas Keller

Contemplating Christmas Dinner

I’m in charge of Christmas dinner again, and I’m still a little torn on what I should make. The adventurous part of me wants to take a rib roast and separate the cap meat (i.e. calotte, deckle) from the actual ribeye…kinda like this:

ribeye-partsFrom left: ribs, eye, cap.
Picture from

Then I can cook the cap meat sous vide to a nice medium rare in attempt to partially recreate this dish:

Calotte de Beouf GrilléeThe French Laundry’s Calotte de Beouf Grillée (12.08.08)

For the center cut, I would oven roast it to medium rare and end up with a sort of deconstructed prime rib cooked two ways.

The other part of me wants to go old school and roast a nice beef tenderloin or standing rib roast. I’ve been successful with rib roasts before but have never tried a tenderloin. But as old school as a tenderloin roast might sound, I’d probably endup cooking that sous vide anyway.

Aside from the main courses, Yorkshire puddings are definitely on the agenda, and I think my wife is going to make her garlic bacon mashed potatoes. I am extremely tempted to make this Macaroni and Gravy recipe by fellow food blogger Lainie as a second entree, and I know my cousin Cristy, who hosted Thanksgiving, has something up her sleeve.

If you’re looking for some Christmas recipes, you might want to give these a try:

I’m not sure if I’ll be posting again before Christmas, but if I don’t, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!

beef reviews Southern California

Lawry’s the Prime Rib

Lawry’s the Prime Rib is a Los Angeles institution that has been serving basically one thing, beautiful roasted prime ribs of beef, since it opened in 1938. It made dinner a spectacle when Lawry’s founder Lawrence Frank invented the rolling silver serving carts that keep the meat fresh so that every diner can have their prime rib carved to order and served tableside. The Spinning Salad is kinda corny and isn’t that great, but watching the servers make it is always fun and adds to the “experience.” The restaurant was also a vehicle to promote Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, a key ingredient in the prime rib that is now a fixture in pantries and spice racks around the world.

I normally order the standard Lawry’s cut, medium rare, with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. Yorkshire pudding is always puffy and golden brown and is great for picking up the excess jus. The food is almost always perfect, and the service is attentive, fast and hasn’t changed in decades. They hold several tables for walk-ins, but you should make reservations well in advance, and they’ve just started using Open Table for online reservations.

The Lawry’s dining experience makes it a great special occasion restaurant. In fact, my wife and I wanted our friends and family to enjoy the Lawry’s experience so much that we had our wedding reception there in 2005. If you’re willing to do a lunch reception, the food is so much better than hotel food, and it’s much cheaper than any other venue in the area. The entire Lawry’s staff was professional, efficient, and flexible, and they worked with our ideas to help make everything perfect. The great staff and service, coupled with family, friends and great food, helped make our reception truly memorable.

if you do decide to have your reception here, join Lawry’s VIP Rewards program. You get a $25 certificate for every 250 points ($250) you accrue, and these certificates are valid at any restaurant in the Lawry’s family. Let’s say you spend $10K on your wedding reception. This means you’ll get 40 $25 certificates. That’s $1000 worth of food! You can give them to friends, family, coworkers, or just keep them for yourself…we’ve had plenty of free meals courtesy of Lawry’s since our reception.

We all know that food tastes better when it’s free, but at a place like Lawry’s, it’s truly out of this world.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib
100 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211 map
Web site

beef fried rice

Prime Rib Garlic Fried Rice

So what do you do when you bring home leftover prime rib from Lawry’s or any other high-end steakhouse? If you’re Filipino (or any Asian), fried rice is the usual destination of almost any leftover meat. I’ve made fried rice with all kinds of leftover meat, including chicken adobo, baby back ribs, barbecued brisket, and steak. Can prime rib be a viable fried rice meat?

Prime Rib Garlic Fried Rice

I was at my parent’s house when I decided to do this, and there wasn’t much to work with, so I decided to keep it simple: rice, garlic, meat, eggs and seasonings (Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper and some garlic salt). The directions are fairly simple.


  1. Chop prime rib into equal sized pieces.
  2. Mince as much garlic as you want/need.
  3. Add oil to frying pan. When oil is hot, add minced garlic and work around pan for about 10 seconds.
  4. Add rice to the pan and stir well to incorporate the garlic so it doesn’t burn.
  5. After a minute or so, add chopped prime rib and stir for 30-60 seconds.
  6. Add a couple teaspoons of soy sauce for flavor and color.
  7. Add a few shakes of seasoned pepper and garlic salt to taste. Repeat as desired.
  8. Make a well in the rice in the center of the pan and crack two eggs into the well.
  9. Stir eggs until they just start to set and then mix it into the rice for another minute or two.
  10. Taste rice and add more seasonings as desired.

Prime Rib Garlic Fried Rice

This simple preparation works great with almost any meat, and it would have been prettier if we had some green onions on hand. Since the prime rib is going to be cooked all the way through by the end of this process, it doesn’t really look all that special. But as long as you don’t completely overcook the meat, the prime rib is still going to be tender and flavorful and a lot better than using a cheaper, tougher piece of leftover meat.

And isn’t it just a little more decadent to say that you made some prime rib garlic fried rice?

beef Northern California reviews

House of Prime Rib

I love it when an LA institution is so good that someone has to copy it and bring the concept to the Bay Area. This is true of Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, whose counterpart, Home of Chicken and Waffles, opened in Oakland a few years ago. (Those other Roscoe’s you may have seen in the Bay Area before this were fakes.)

What many people may not know is that this probably first happened when the entire Lawry’s the Prime Rib concept (menu, spinning salad, rolling silver carts, etc.), was copied and brought to the Bay Area when the beloved San Francisco institution known as the House of Prime Rib opened in 1949. Ultimately, the House of Prime Rib makes me sad for San Francisco. In a city that boasts some of the best restaurants in the world, is this really the pinnacle for prime rib?

I had the large, bone-in King Henry VIII cut and my wife had the standard HoPR cut, both medium rare (the only proper way to eat prime rib). I wish I could say good things about the meat, but it isn’t very good. It was just pale, gray and flavorless, and it didn’t melt in our mouths. It was just chewy…really chewy. I did cut off some of the meat that was still clinging to the bone, and these little slivers were the best pieces of meat of our meal.

The Yorkshire puddings were an utter disappointment. A proper Yorkshire pudding is very puffy and should look like it’s exploding out of the little serving skillets. HoPR’s were just flat…like a pancake. It still tasted good and was great for picking up all the extra jus. The spinning salad was nice but overdressed.

But it wasn’t all bad…

The sourdough bread they bring to the table is great and very San Francisco. The loaded baked potato was probably the best I’ve ever had, and the mashed potatoes were good but forgettable. Creamed spinach was very nice and rich, but my wife makes a better version of it (she doubles the bacon content and saves some for garnish).

The desserts are fantastic. The Chocolate Fantasy Cake is a decadent triple-layer cake of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and cheesecake served with a chocolate and raspberry sauce. The creme brulee had a subtle eggy flavor and its light and smooth consistency was perfect.

HoPR is beloved by both locals and tourists, but the truth is, the meat is not up to par with places like Lawry’s or Morton’s. To be honest, I’ve had better prime rib at Outback.

Did I stutter?

In fact, I can guarantee you that I’ve made prime rib for Christmas dinner that was better than what I had at House of Prime Rib. And I’m talking about the whole meal, with real, puffy Yorkshire puddings, mashed potatoes and gravy, and creamed spinach laden with bits of Niman Ranch bacon. Maybe if you’re good this Christmas, you can come over and revel in this feast.

House of Prime Rib
1906 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94109 map
Web site

beef Best of Inuyaki recipes

Prime Rib with Jus

Perfect for entertaining a big group, I normally make my Prime Rib around the holidays. It’s a bit of work, but it’s worth it just to see the reaction on your guests faces when it arrives at the table. This is a combination of recipes from Lawry’s the Prime Rib and Cook’s Illustrated.

1 standing bone-in rib roast with ribs removed and reserved, patted dry.
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 cup red wine
1 3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Remove roast and ribs from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, sprinkle fatty cap and ends of roast with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt.
  3. Heat heavy roasting pan or heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes.
  4. Place roast fat side down in roasting pan/skillet and cook until well-browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Using tongs, stand roast on end and cook until well-browned, about 4 minutes. Repeat with other end. Do not brown side where ribs were attached.
  5. Place roast browned-side up on cutting board and cool 10 minutes.
  6. Place wire roasting rack in roasting pan.
  7. Tie browned roast to ribs and place bone-side down in roasting rack.
  8. Insert meat thermometer in thickest part of meat, making sure it does not touch a bone. Roast in preheated 350 degree F oven until thermometer registers 130 degrees F for rare, 140 degrees F for medium, or approximately 20 to 25 minutes per pound.
  9. Transfer roast to cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees for Yorkshire pudding.
  10. Prepare au jus using the recipe below.

Jus Recipe

  1. While roast rests, spoon off fat from roasting pan, reserving 3 tablespoons for Yorkshire puddings.
  2. Set roasting pan over 2 burners at high heat. Add wine to roasting pan. Using wooden spoon, scrape up browned bits and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add beef broth, chicken broth, and thyme.
  4. Cut twine on roast and remove meat from ribs; re-tent meat. Add ribs, meaty side down, to roasting pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by two-thirds (to about 2 cups), 16 to 20 minutes.
  5. Add any accumulated beef juices from meat and cook to heat through, about 1 minute longer. Discard ribs.
  6. Strain jus through mesh strainer into gravy boat, pressing on onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Serve with prime rib.
beef Best of Inuyaki recipes

Individual Yorkshire Puddings

from Cook’s Illustrated

Yorkshire PuddingYorkshire pudding is a traditional accompaniment to Prime Rib and are usually made while the roast is resting. It’s pretty easy to make and it’s cool watching them puff up to their actual size.

Prepare the Yorkshire pudding batter after the roast has roasted for 1 hour, then, while the meat rests, add beef fat to the batter and get the puddings into the oven. While the puddings bake, complete the jus. An accurate oven temperature is key for properly risen puddings, so check your oven with an oven thermometer before making this recipe. Work quickly to fill the muffin tin with batter, and do not open the oven door during baking. Serves 12.

3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons beef fat


  1. Whisk eggs and milk in large bowl until well combined, about 20 seconds.
  2. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl and add to egg mixture
  3. Whisk quickly until flour is just incorporated and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds.
  4. Cover batter with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
  5. After removing roast from oven, whisk 1 tablespoon of beef fat into batter until bubbly and smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer batter to 1-quart liquid measuring cup or other pitcher.
  6. Measure 1/2 teaspoon of remaining 2 tablespoons beef fat into each cup of standard muffin pan.
  7. When roast is out of oven, increase temperature to 450 degrees and place pan in oven to heat for 3 minutes (fat will smoke).
  8. Working quickly, remove pan from oven, close oven door, and divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Immediately return pan to oven.
  9. Bake, without opening oven door, for 20 minutes
  10. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes longer.
  11. Remove pan from oven and pierce each pudding with skewer to release steam and prevent collapse. Using hands or dinner knife, lift each pudding out of tin and serve immediately.