Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tips for Making A Good Au Jus On The Grill

I bought one Christmas present for myself....this gorgeous prime rib.

We like ours a little less than medium-rare....tender and delicious!

A few days before the special day, I put my order in with Billy in the meat market at my Food City on Morrell Road.  I told him I wanted a "first cut" (ribs 10-12) with the ribs removed and tied back on so it was "ready to carve".   When I picked it up on Sunday, I was very pleased!  

I have to brag on "my Food City" for a second -

If you live in the Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee area, you've probably seen Food City commercials where they brag on their meat market's service.  There's a butcher smiling as he hands over a custom order.  Too good to be true?

The guys at my Food City live up to that commercial.  Earlier in the year, I was wanting 1 1/2 thick USDA Choice strip steaks.  The sale that week was on USDA Select and that was what was on display.  I guess Billy knew I wasn't seeing what I wanted and asked what I had in mind.  He stopped what he was doing and hand cut me two steaks from a whole Choice strip loin.  Knoxville has gotten a lot of new grocery stores this year (Publix, Trader Joes, Costco, and Whole Foods is coming) but the people and service at my Food City has kept my business.  

Okay, back to my prime rib.  I followed (mostly) my recipe for a Reverse Seared Prime Rib and used my Twenty Tips For Prime Rib on the Grill.  You can read those posts for the details so I'll just post my time/temps chart and pictures.  

A light smoke and we're ready to go!

Early during the slow roasting portion.  The meat juices drip into the au jus making magic!

Resting after 4 hours of cooking indirect in the smoke.

Rib bones removed for the high temp sear at the end.

I carved the "roast beast" for all the Who's in Whoville.  I was a bit of a Grinch this year.

We kept it simple - prime rib, Boursin mashed potatoes, and green beans.

The rib bones go back on the grill for "chef's treat".  I ate them an hour or so later.
Here are the temps/times for the slow roasting part.  It went on the grill at 1:30pm. 

TimeInternal TempCooking temp

The high temp sear was at 500f for about 45 seconds a side except for the newly exposed rib side where I let it go about 2 minutes. 

Someone asked me about how you make a good au jus on the grill.  You could do it just like the traditional method on the stove top for an oven roasted beef roast.  But here is how I do it with the reverse seared prime rib. 

Tips For Making Au Jus on The Grill

Roasting Pan Selection
  •  The heavier the better.  Those throw away aluminum pans are poor at handling/controlling heat.  Stoneware and cast iron work much better.
  • Size.  You want the smallest size that will adequately fit under your roast.  Oversized pans will allow evaporation to happen too fast.
I'm a big fan of stoneware on the grill.

  • If you are using a ceramic grill with a plate setter or heat diffuser like I do, place spacers between the plate setter and the pan.  This keeps the pan from simmering too much too soon from the radiant heat.
  • Use a rack that keeps the meat above the roasting pan, NOT DOWN IN IT.  If the meat is sitting down IN the pan, it is going to partially steam instead of roasting. 
  • Don't have a roasting rack?  Get creative.  Use the rack from a toaster oven.  Here I used the wire holder from a silicone cupcake tray just for grins and giggles.  

Above the pan...not down in it.
Here are the "spacers" that I use, just stainless hooks.  Extra BGE feet also work.

  • Enough beef stock to fill the pan about 3/4" deep
  • some crushed cloves of garlic, sprigs of rosemary or thyme
  • mirepoix of onions, celery, carrot if you feel like it
  • any herbs/spices from the cutting board after seasoning the roast
  • Cook under the roast for the duration of the slow roasting period
  • About 3 hours in, I like to pour the rest of the beef stock container slowly over the roast to baste it and carry seasonings down into the au jus below.

  • While the roast is resting and the fire is heating up for the sear....
  • Skim any obvious fat from the surface of the au jus
  • Strain the veggies, garlic, etc from the au jus and discard them. 
  • Add any drippings collected from the resting roast.
  • Simmer for a few minutes.  If still too thin, you can simmer to reduce for another 5-10 minutes but you shouldn't need to do that.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed.
Nothing fancy but it works for me!

I hope you all had a great holiday season so far!  What is the favorite thing you have eaten during the holidays this year?

[Standard Disclaimer]   I have no affiliation with Food City other than I am in there almost every day shopping.