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From the Fine Cooking magazine's Roasting edition. The small end or first cut is from the loin and has a little more meat and less fat than the second cut. The second cut is from the chuck end and is overall bigger but has more fat interspersed between the portions of lean meat. Either will work but the editors recommended the first cut and prime grade (verses choice grade). Fleur de sel is a premium sea salt; you can use kosher salt as a substitute. The leftovers can be used to make delicious prime rib sandwiches.
- 6 lbs beef rib roast (3-bone beef rib roast, preferably small or loin cut and prime grade)
- 3 tablespoons fleur de sel or 3 tablespoons other flaky sea salt
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 -10 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 8 -10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Take the beef out of the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking so it can come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season the meat on all sides with the fleur de sel and pepper.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 325°F.
- Turn on the exhaust fan. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the olive oil and, when the oil puts off its first wisp of smoke, put the beef in the pan and sear it on all the outer sides (not the cut sides) until well-browned, 6 to 8 minutes total. Use a set of tongs to flip the beef; be careful of splattering oil. With two sets of tongs, transfer the beef, bone side down, to a roasting rack set in a small roasting pan. Arrange the rosemary, thyme, garlic, and butter evenly on top.
- Roast the beef, basting every 30 minutes with a bulb baster, until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 120F to 125F for rare, about 2 hours. Or cook to 130F to 135F for medium rare, about 2 1/4 hours. Or cook to 140F to 145F for medium, about 2 1/2 hours.
- Let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.