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For the longest time, I didn't know how to prepare, let alone, reheat prime rib, and had to do with takeouts. After one too many reluctant visits at my local old-school steakhouse, my family inadvertently developed a taste for the tender juicy cut. Of course, buying scrumptious prime rib for a large family on a regular basis was brutal on my finances and I had to learn how to do the homemade version.
But there was one problem...
More often than not, the prime rib cuts I made got left over, and we had to warm them again the next day. They were, however, not as juicy and pink as they were while fresh. After a couple of disappointments, I decided to ask my local butcher, as well as fellow meat enthusiasts on the secrets of reheating prime rib cuts. Luckily, I managed to get some useful tips that I will also share with you.
And here we go:
Tip 1: Use The Steamer
Prime rib cuts respond much better to indirect or gentle heat than to direct heat. If you can, get a food steamer, which basically produces hot steam and has a special chamber where you can put the meat as it warms.
You can also create your own makeshift steamer like I did, and it will still give you more or less the same results. For that, you only need a medium pot, a plate and some tin foil.
Here are the steps...
Alternatively, you can buy a steamer basket, since they are cheaper than a steamer machine and can fit very nicely into most medium-sized pots.
However, there is a small catch...
You can't really steam an entire roast of prime rib - you will need to cut it into slices. This helps to ensure that both the heat and moisture is well distributed. If that's not your preferred choice, you may want to check out other reheating methods discussed below and see what fits your style.
Tip 2: Yes, The Oven Works Too!
If you plan on reheating an entire roast, you should probably use the oven. Admittedly, ovens are notorious for sucking out moisture from foods. To avoid that, wrap your meat in aluminum foil and sprinkle a few drops of water or beef stock before placing it in the oven. Apart from making up for the loss of moisture, beef stock helps to preserve the juicy flavor in prime rib, which is vital to the taste.
If you normally reheat your meats using microwaves, you may be frustrated at how slow ovens are, but that’s hardly a disadvantage. A slow burn gives you enough time to twist and turn the meat to ensure all parts get properly warmed up, which is very important for larger roasts. Further, ovens allow you to reheat bigger sizes at once, which may not be possible with steamers and microwaves.
As a pointer, the best heat range for tender prime rib cuts is between 300 and 330 degrees Fahrenheit. The time it takes depends on many varying factors, such as heat consistency and size of the roast, but it is advisable to keep checking your cuts every 10 minutes. In particular, keep an eye on the internal temperature of the meat and don’t let it exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit, unless you really fancy biscuit-dry rib.
Tip 3: Microwave It
If you’re really, really in a hurry and can’t conjure the patience, you can always microwave it!
I mean, when most of us hear the word ‘reheat’ our minds immediately think of the microwave. When microwaving your prime rib, you need to first cut it into smaller, equally sized pieces - which essentially means you need to use another warming method if you prefer full pieces.
Also, you may want to put a couple of teaspoons of broth, or leftover juice into the microwave bowl with the rib cuts to make the meat tender and juicy. Remember, even microwaves can seep all the water from your foods, taking away all the tenderness, especially if you leave them to cook for too long. And by microwave standards, ‘too long’ is anything beyond 20 seconds. Ideally, you should let the meat cook for one minute, remove it, then check if it’s sufficiently warm. If not, let it continue cooking, but keep checking in after every 30 seconds.
But that’s the harder way. If you really want to keep things safe and faster (and why wouldn’t you?), you should use the GREENY method. This technique entails preserving the rosy color and juicy interior of the meat - which makes the meat delicious.
Here is how to go about it...
Get two pieces of large leaf kale or chard. This, of course, presumes that you’re cooking only one piece of rib. But even if you have multiple cuts, you still need two kales for every piece.
Thoroughly wash and dry the leaves, then place one of them on a microwave-safe plate, then lay your prime rib on top of it. Top it off with the other kale leaf, then place the whole plate in the microwave. Cook for about a minute or a minute and a half on a high setting. Thereafter, remove the kale and there you’ll have it - your prime rib cut looking pinky fresh, tender and juicy!
Tip 4: Go Fancy and Sous Vide It
You have probably heard about Sous Vide, whether in cooking discussions or on some overshared twitter memes. If you look beyond the fancy name - and also the small fact that it is almost exclusively used in high-end eateries and TV shows, you will realize that Sous Vide (pronounced as Sue-Veed ) is quite a simple and effective cooking method, particularly for meats.
You only need to enclose your food in a vacuum-sealed container, then heat it on a water bath, or steamy environment. I’ll admit it, I was introduced to this technique by my local butcher and can’t count the number of times I’ve used it to warm by steaks and rib cuts. For one, it gives you more control over the temperature and effectively guarantees that your meat won’t come out dry or overcooked.
To reheat leftover prime rib using this method, you will need some vacuum-sealed pouches, an immersion circulator (which basically controls the temperature) and a sizable container with a lid. Once the equipment is ready, cut your meat into smaller, equal pieces and enclose them inside the sealed pouches.
Fill the container with water and hook the circulator to one of its sides, and slowly dip your sealed meats into the water. Set the circulator to your preferred temperature - 160 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for prime rib - and close the lid. It’s that simple!
The amount of time needed will depend on how tender your rib is and how you want to eat it. Nonetheless, a 30 MINUTE cook time will be okay for any well-prepared prime rib.
After removing them from the container, dab your rib cuts with some paper towels to remove excess moisture. This is a very crucial step, since excess moisture may affect the seasoning process. Thereafter, sprinkle your favorite seasoning (I use ground black pepper, sea salt and garlic) or au jus, and that’s about it.
While at it, there are a few things you need to have in mind:
Sous Vide is by far the best way to reheat your cuts, and if you like prime ribs or steaks in general, you will be much better off investing in some Sou Vide tools.
For one, once you understand the cooking time and temperature level required for different types of meats, you can always expect consistent results every time. Further, unlike the other available reheating methods, Sous Vide does not interfere with the juices in the foods under preparation, as they’re all inside sealed bags. Thus, you won’t be forced to add water or soup to keep your rib cuts juicy and tender.
Most importantly, Sous Vide does not require your utmost attention. You can simply leave your meat to cook and go about your business until it’s ready - without worrying about it overcooking. Here is a good resource for sous vide cooking.
The only downside to Sous Vide is that it’s quite a slow prep method, and is not practical if you’re in a hurry.
But then again, if you’re in a hurry, you should be thinking quick noodles, not the princely meal that is prime rib. After all, eating badly prepared prime rib is no different from eating no prime rib at all.
Tip 5: You Can Also Choose to Keep Things Cool
Yeah, warm food tastes much better in general compared to cold food. However, prime rib is still exquisite even when cold, and can be a good option if any of the above methods don’t work out for you. You may choose to slice it into small pieces and eat with a salad or throw it in a stir fry. Yes, you read that right!
Now, whichever method you decide to use, you need to observe some general safety precautions for your own safety and welfare. These are explained below.
Safety Measures to Follow When Reheating Prime Rib
Ensure that your prime rib is fresh and safe for consumption before reheating. Basically, don’t eat meat that has been stored for more than a day without refrigeration. Matter of fact, even refrigerated meat is vulnerable to bacteria, and should be eaten within four days.
Always take the meat internal temperature readings of your prime rib cuts after warming them. Only serve when the internal temperature reads 165º F or above. This protects you from potentially harmful bacteria that survive in temperatures below that. So, invest in a credible meat thermometer and make sure to insert it into the very center of your rib cut rather than just below the surface.
Moreover, if you’re reheating meat straight out of the freezer, don’t let it get anywhere near your mouth if it’s internal temperature ranges between 40º and 140º F. This range is typically the comfort zone for bacteria, as it enables them to multiply at a very high rate. Therefore, consuming the affected meat could lead to stomach complications.
When using the microwave or steamer, stir and turn the meat after every few minutes to ensure even distribution of heat. You certainly don’t want a situation where only the outer fat is adequately warm while the inner tender part (the most important section of the meat) still has that freezer chill.
Prime rib is arguably one of the best cuts of meat. It not only looks and feels princely when on the kitchen table, but also tastes exquisitely delicious, with or without seasoning. What more, it can serve as a standalone meal, or as an accompaniment to your favorite meals.
Interestingly, prime rib cuts rarely get left over, but when they do, you not only need to store them right, but also reheat them properly for the next day. And as we mentioned earlier, you don't really need to reheat prime rib, but if you choose to do it, you need to be extra cautious to not mess up the taste and flavor.
That being said, reheating your leftover prime rib is quite simple if you follow the tips and methods discussed above. Of course, the process may look complicated at first, but if you keep an open mind, you will be able to do it like a pro chef. You should, therefore, do thorough research on any method or technique you set out to attempt and take the necessary precautions to avoid potentially fatal foodborne illnesses.