Mulhall column: Who’s roast beast

Lately I’ve been avoiding the news, mainly because stories on COVID and the election landscape make a dreadful combination. You can only take so much.

Consequently, this month’s column deadline finds me with nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Yes, I’m writing today deep within what can best be described as a Seinfeld episode.

This void stems not so much from disinterest, but from boredom with a news diet that hasn’t varied for over a month.

Frankly, avoiding news is quite refreshing. I highly recommend it.

Besides, it’s the season of perpetual hope, and in my world, that also means good food. Rather than mire you in some tedious, boomer-based current events rehash, how about a decent recipe for a Christmas roast beast?

There’s nothing particularly difficult about my prime rib, but it has earned praise by two people who have dined at The Brown Palace’s Ship Tavern. Full disclosure: Both of those people are my parents.

Most of what I know about cooking I learned by watching Emeril Legasse and Alton Brown, and even though those guys aren’t around as much anymore, that makes almost everything I know about cooking common knowledge.

What makes cooking a prime rib for your Christmas repast worth wile?

Trust me, you pull this off and you’ll raise eyebrows, particularly if you don’t cook.

You need a digital meat thermometer, a sharp butcher’s knife, a roasting pan with a rack, a big cutting board, enough aluminum foil to cover the roast, and an oven. Optionally, you may want some cooking twine.

Next, figure out how many people you need to feed. A good rule of thumb for your prime rib is “one rib for every two people.” Two people? One rib. Six people? Three. You won’t want anything bigger because — never mind…

I prefer a bone-in prime rib, but that’s me. You can get bone in or boneless. Ask George at City Market. He’ll take care of you.

A rib roast may come tied, which helps keep the shape. Tying is optional, however. Don’t worry if it’s not tied — or tie it yourself.

With equipment at the ready and a roast, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

While the oven preheats, rub the roast with one-part Kosher salt to two-parts freshly ground pepper. Add fresh thyme and rosemary if you want.

To rub the roast, place the rack on the cutting board. Drizzle a light line of olive oil along the length of the roast and do your best Mike Meyers impersonation as you coat the meat evenly. Then sprinkle the roast with the rub and massage the spices in.

Once rubbed, position the roast on the rack, ribs down.

Insert the meat thermometer in the larger end of the roast, in the center of the eye — the circular area of marbled meat visible on either end. Avoiding the rib bones ensures the thermometer reports a correct meat temperature.

Place the rack in the pan and slide it into the 450 degree oven for twenty minutes. At that temperature, fat drippings will smoke, so if your smoke alarm connects to emergency services, the fire department will come. Open windows.

After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and roast until the meat thermometer reads 120 degrees — about 11 minutes per pound. Then remove the roast from the oven and immediately tent it with the aluminum foil for at least 15 minutes — 30 is even better. The roast temperature will rise another 15 degrees, resulting in a medium pink center.

Steam some brussel sprouts, affectionately known as little balls of thunder at my house, and get a squeeze bottle of Inglehoffer’s horse radish to serve alongside. I’d explain how to make Yorkshire pudding, but that’s another column.

While I can’t guarantee your prime rib will turn out great, I can guarantee it will turn out better than anything you hear on the news.

Mitch Mulhall is a husband, father and longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident. His column appears monthly in the Post Independent and at

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