James Whelan Butchers: Rib on the Bone: the Roast of Roasts

Rib of beef on the boneThere are few reactions as satisfying for the cook as the one you get when you bring a majestic rib roast of beef to the table. The smells emanating from the kitchen are beyond seductive, and the appearance of the meat does not disappoint. We’d always suggest buying a piece bigger than you think you need, because the leftovers will make for a few happy lunches the next day and will disappear before you know it. Other cuts that are good to roast on the bone are sirloin from the hindquarter and wing rib.

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  • 4–6 kg rib of beef
  • extra virgin olive oil, Irish rapeseed oil or soft dripping
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 10

To Cook

Preheat the oven to 230° C/fan 210° C/gas mark 8. Rub the joint all over with the oil or soft dripping and season with salt and pepper. Place the meat in a heavy-duty roasting tin and cook for 30 minutes, until browned and sizzling. Turn the heat down to 160° C/fan 140° C/gas mark 3 and open the oven door for a minute to accelerate the drop in temperature. Give the joint a further 9–10 minutes per 500 g for very rare meat, 12–15 for medium or 18–20 if you prefer it well done. As all ovens vary, a meat thermometer is invaluable, as it will give you the confidence to know the exact moment when the beef is cooked to your liking. Remove the meat from the oven and place on a warm platter in a warm place, covered loosely with foil. Leave it to rest for at least half an hour before carving — this allows the meat to relax and improves its flavour and juiciness.


Pour the juices and fat that have accumulated in the roasting tin into a Pyrex jug. The fat (dripping) will rise to the top and you can spoon most of this off and reserve it. Return the residue to the roasting tin and place on top of a low heat. If you want a thicker gravy, add a teaspoon or two of flour now, scattered across the tin. Gradually add half a bottle of red wine and 500 ml of beef stock, stirring as you do so to ensure that the flour is absorbed. Simmer for fifteen minutes or so, scraping the tin to ensure that no flavour is lost, until the gravy has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning, sieve and serve.

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