The Sharper Chef, Calgary: Charcut’s Rib Eye

Calgary’s “Sharper Chef” series is written by food and drink aficionados, and features prominent chefs, brewers, vintners and distillers who are willing to share some of their finest (and oftentimes secret) recipes. In this installment, a true Cowtown favourite: the incomparable Rotisserie Spring Creek rib eye steak at Charcut Roast House. Preparation tips courtesy of owner/chef Connie DeSousa.

1 piece (8 to 12 lbs.) beef rib eye
6 ounces Brassica mustard
2 ounces sea salt
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 ounce cracked black pepper
Grilled lemon wedge
Sea salt
1 ounce olive oil

First Things First
“The most important thing is to start with really good beef,” says DeSousa. Charcut exclusively uses beef from Spring Creek Ranch, which is a co-op of five ranchers in Vegreville, Alta. She says to ask your butcher for a prime rib with the fat cap (a layer of fat that surrounds the prime rib and will lock more juices into your roast) left on.

The Rub and Tie
Apply the salt and pepper first. Then, finely chop the herbs and mix with your favourite mustard (Charcut uses Dijon) and coat the entire roast with the herb/mustard mix.

“We don’t measure the salt anymore, but if you think you have enough salt, put more on,” says DeSousa. “Prime rib is such a big cut of meat, the salt on the outside doesn’t penetrate unless you have a really good sea-salt crust on it.”

Tie the roast with butcher’s string, looping every three inches until secure. DeSousa says you can also ask your butcher to tie the rib eye at time of purchase, as this process can be quite tricky.

Stick ’em Up
Skewer the rib eye on your rotisserie spit and cook at high heat until the internal temperature is 90°F. DeSousa says Charcut’s rotisserie only has one temperature (about 700°F) and takes around two hours to cook a roast. She recommends setting the barbeque or home oven rotisserie as high as it can go and checking the roast’s core temperature frequently. “There’s still a lot of heat left inside the meat that’s going to continue to cook it after you remove it from the spit,” DeSousa adds. “If you want medium rare, it’s usually about 125°F, but you’re going to want to pull it off before that. We pull ours off at around 90°F — that’s going to give you a nice rare to medium rare.”

Delay Gratification
“I know it’s going to be hard, because it’s going to smell awesome, but you have to wait at least half an hour to cut it,” says DeSousa. Tent the roast with tinfoil. This lets the juices redistribute back into the meat. If you cut it right away, all the juices are going to come out and you’re not going to have a juicy cut of meat, DeSousa says.

Making the Cut
Slice along the bones and leave a bone in for a generous serving. “We serve it by the ounce, and the minimum is eight ounces, but that’s a pretty small cut of meat,” DeSousa says. “My favourite is to serve it bone-in. There’s eight to ten bones on a prime rib, so if you’re serving it for eight guys, it gives you a nice 32-ounce serving, or about two pounds of meat.”

Garnish with grilled lemon wedge (or garlic), arugula and a bowl of sea salt, and drizzle with olive oil. “Another really simple garnish is taking a piece of garlic and cutting off the top, then roasting it in the oven with a little olive oil and pepper until you can smell it, and then you can squeeze that onto the meat,” says DeSousa. Bone appetit!

Image courtesy of Charcut.

Charcut, 101 899 Centre St. S.W., 403-984-2180.

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