As food becomes increasingly industrialized, we are losing more and more of our ancestral food traditions. One of my goals is to try to preserve some of those traditions. And one of the traditions I most want to preserve is the traditional prime rib roast. This tradition is thousands of years old, is absolutely delicious, and may have special nutritional factors. Yet, the tradition of the magnificent prime rib roast, once well known and popular throughout Europe and the U.S., is in danger of being forgotten.
In fact, there are many people who do not even know what a prime rib is. What is a prime rib? Look at the photo above—that is a prime rib.
The King of Roasts
A close look at this beautiful cut of meat shows what was once known as the king of roasts. This is a prime specimen, purchased from U.S. Wellness Meats, and they deserve great credit for this masterpiece.
The roast rests on the natural bones, which impart great flavor, add nutrients to the meat, and act as a natural rack. It is crowned with its own unique fat, which will provide wonderful flavor to the meat while making it tender and basting the meat as it cooks. The meat itself is divided into two sections, the large portion in the center, and a smaller portion on the front and top of the meat. These two cuts have different tastes and textures, which provide a wonderful contrast. Though grassfed, the roast is wonderfully marbled with little flecks of fat, which provide great grassfed nutrition, make the meat tender, and baste the meat internally as it cooks.
I also love the flavor of vegetables roasted in the pan with the prime rib. Vegetables flavored by the melted fat and juices are unbelievably delicious with a flavor like no others.
Prime rib has a unique taste that is brought out by roasting. It is hard to describe, but it is so delicious, and there is nothing else on earth comparable to it. I suspect, though I cannot prove it, that this taste shows the presence of a particular nutrient that I have found nowhere else. I do not know what this nutrient is, but I do know how I feel after eating grassfed prime rib. I feel rejuvenated and wonderful. And so satisfied. I can smell the presence of this taste about halfway through the roasting, and it makes me so hungry!
The Prime Rib Tradition
The chine portion of an animal, which is where the prime rib comes from, has a long history and storied reputation. In ancient times, it was reserved for heroes and royalty. Irish legend records duels to the death for the right to claim this meat. The hero Achilles barbecued meat from the chine for the kings of the Greeks at the beach of Troy, as described in the Iliad. During the height of the British Empire, the prime rib as Sunday dinner became common, with leftovers forming the basis of meals throughout the week. Prime rib was once very popular in the U.S., as well. It should be noted that the prime rib eaten during this period was always from grassfed cattle, as factory meat did not exist until the twentieth century.
It should also be noted that the chine portion, whether from cattle, lambs, pigs, goats, or bison, was always one of the most prized cuts of meat. It was always expensive, and always associated with strength and nutrition.
The sight and smell of this magnificent cut of meat, roasted to perfection, with an aroma that creates hunger as soon as it is smelled, has brought great pleasure and wonderful nutrition to countless human beings.
Yet the tradition of this king of roasts is in real danger of being lost.
How the Food Industry Is Killing the King of Roasts
The modern food industry has done a lot to kill the prime rib tradition. The factory meat it raises just does not cut it, not in taste or nutrition, and lacks the unique flavor that makes prime rib so special. Even worse, the meat industry decided to do away with skilled butchers and to come up with easy to cut and package pieces of meat. The chine portion of most cattle, even grassfed cattle, is cut into thin boneless, fatless steaks. None of these steaks can possibly come close to developing the incredible flavor and nutrition of a real prime rib roast, which requires the bones and fat, and at least a moderate cooking period to develop the unique flavor.
The anti-animal-fat phobia has resulted in most people wanting to buy meat with all the fat trimmed off, which will ruin any prime rib.
In fact, meat with bones and fat is increasingly frowned upon by government regulators and the anti-fat fanatics, who would like to see it done away with.
Cutting this portion of meat into thin steaks instead of cutting it into roasts has led to a huge price increase, which makes this meat difficult to afford. Most grassfed producers just cut the chine portion of their cattle into thin, boneless, fatless, steaks, which may taste good, but lack the real prime rib flavor. Fortunately, there are some exceptions.
If you buy a whole steer, or a half or a quarter, you can usually arrange to have the rib portion cut into roasts, with the bones and fat left on. A few producers carry prime rib roasts at holiday times. I have a great local market that cuts grassfed beef to order. And as shown above, U.S. Wellness Meats sells excellent grassfed prime rib roasts.
Make no mistake, grassfed prime rib is expensive. But you can still get a great grassfed prime rib roast for less than a restaurant dinner, and it will feed a lot of people. We do not have it often, but we will have it for special occasions, and enjoy the great pleasure and health benefits it brings.
I submit that the tradition of the grassfed prime rib roast is well worth preserving.
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