Northern California is known for its micro climates, which have allowed it to become one of the most diverse agricultural centers in the United States. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are synonymous with California cuisine, but what some people don’t know is that Northern California is also home to some of the best pasture raised livestock available in the US. This New Year’s, I indulged in a grass-fed, grass-finished, 100% heritage Angus rib roast from the fine folks at Prather Ranch Meat co. (my professional alma mater). These particular beasts are raised in the heart of Humboldt county. They graze and finish on lush green grasses 9 months of the year; during the remaining three, this lucky herd munches on sugar beets to keep energy levels high and fat cells in full production. As the commercial goes, “happy cows come from California”, and these animals are no exception. On top of their lush diet, these beeves live happy lives, and trust me, that makes a big difference on the end plate. This year I tried something a little different, and added an Italian twist, Felice Anno Nuovo!
- 8–10 lb grass-fed rib roast
- 2 heads garlic, slow charred over low heat in cast iron pan, peeled
- 4oz canned Anchovies, rough copped; reserve packing oil
- 1TB cumin, toasted
- 2TB fresh rosemary, rough chopped
- 4TB whole grain mustard
- S&P to taste
Score the top of the roast’s fat cap, making crosscuts just deep enough to fully penetrate the fat, but not the meat itself. Pat dry and put aside.
With a mortar and pestle, combine anchovies, garlic, cumin and rosemary. Mash well to integrate flavors. Mix in mustard and reserved anchovy oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Depending on your anchovies, salt may not be necessary.
Take the marinade and rub down the rib roast. Make sure to get into all those areas created by scoring the fat. Wrap and cover; refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but 4-6 hours is best. Remove from fridge at least one hour before cooking to allow the rib roast to reach room temperature.
Preheat grill to searing temperature. Brush the fat cap to remove excess marinade. Over medium-high heat, starting with the fat side down, sear the rib roast on all sides. Be careful to avoid flare-ups, and be ready to move the rib roast around and even take it completely off the grill for a second if necessary. You want it to be well-seared so don’t take your eye off of it!
After all sides are seared, place rib roast with the fat side up, over indirect heat (turn some burners off, or move some coals over depending on the grill) and let cook at around 175 degrees for 2 hours or so. Pull rib roast at 125 degrees, and let rest covered for 45 min–1 hour. This resting period will make sure the roast continues to cook all the way through, and will redistribute the juices throughout to make for a juicy, beautiful, medium rare.