When it comes to kitchen tools, there is only one that needs to be as good as you can afford, and that’s your “go-to” knife. You may have a substantial knife collection filling up a drawer, or a nice set in a block, but you almost certainly have a favorite. I’m talking about the knife that gets a little more care and attention than the others when the rest of the knives aren’t looking.
Prime rib basics
The word “perfection” is probably used a lot more in cooking than in any other discipline. When it comes to meat, however, this superlative can be unashamedly applied to prime rib. (The very name of it suggests as much.) It is not very difficult to cook up amazing prime rib. Pick up some high-quality beef, use a generous application of good salt, and get your pan nice and hot. Whether you intend on serving your prime rib “burnt” or “bloody,” you should prepare it as follows.
First, find the oldest, most marbled, and dry aged beef you can get your little hands on. Leave the bright pink meat for the less experienced chefs. What you want is super flavorful and (almost funky) smelly beef! If you don’t have a decent butcher in your town or city, and the guy behind the meat counter at your local supermarket doesn’t know where to find one, I would suggest moving to somewhere that does. This is serious business!
Let the meat relax for a few hours outside of the refrigerator to ensure an even cook. While a very cold fridge may be great for a refreshing drink, it also brings meat to close to freezing temperature. There’s no point in asking whether guests want their meat well-done or rare if you’re left with a raw center between blackened edges (which pleases no one).
Cooking meat might not be rocket science, but it is chemistry. Salt the cut liberally and seal using a very high heat. This triggers the caramelization of proteins near the surface (the Maillard reaction), which imparts a standout color and a rich, deep flavor.
To properly carve prime rib, you want a quality, sharp knife. Carving knives come in many shapes and sizes, but the best ones all have a few things in common—they will made from high-grade metals and be very sharp. A 10 to 12 inch blade with a uniform edge should do the job just fine.
Always hone and oil the blade before and after each use to ensure many years of slicing and dicing. For information on how to tell whether your knife is sharp enough, and how to maintain an edge, click the links!
Which models are the best?
Let’s look at a few different brands that will allow you to portion up some exquisite pieces of meat for your guests.
The Victorinox 12-Inch Granton Edge Slicing Knife with Fibrox Handle deserves a mention. It features a high-carbon stainless steel blade that’s ideal for slicing through any rib. Its ice-tempered edge will keep it cutting cleanly for many years. The patented Fibrox handle guarantees you won’t slip around too much either. You only have five fingers on each hand so, if you are not a math whiz, you may wish to keep all of them.
Ontario also make some very good knives that are perfectly suited to carving up prime rib. Their 7111 Old Hickory Butcher Knife is a very good example of this. This model is designed and made in the USA, but comes with a price tag that is more akin to something mass-produced overseas. This is a great knife that you can easily afford and be proud to own.
My favorite knife for prime rib is the Wusthof 4519-1/36-100 Gourmet 14-inch Brisket Slicer. It might be five times the price of the Ontario, but I have rarely heard anyone complain about paying too much for a knife that they genuinely enjoy using. The ABS polymer handle stands up to very high heat, and the length of the cutting edge will allow you to carve up even the largest of prime ribs.
Visit this post to see the best sharpener for Wusthof knives!
Primed for prime rib!
With a great knife in hand, you’ll have everything you need to carve up succulent smoked or sous vide prime rib on your next date night. Serve it up with a side of mashed potatoes and a freshly-uncorked bottle of wine, and treat your lady to a romantic evening. (If you picked up an expensive model, maybe she’ll be impressed enough to overlook the price.)
Still curious about knives? See our comprehensive guide on the best knife sharpeners to learn how to care for your most important kitchen utensil.