Herbed Roast Beef in Salt Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (white pepper preferred)
  • 1 4- to 6-pound Painted Hills Natural Beef standing rib roast or New York strip roast
  • 13-pound box coarse kosher salt (more if roast is larger; see note below)
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Instructions:

  1. Combine oil, onion, garlic salt, basil, marjoram, thyme and pepper in a large, self-sealing plastic bag. Mix well.
    Add roast; coat well with marinade. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine kosher salt with 1 cup water and mix with hands until salt is well-moistened. Add remaining 1/4 cup water only as needed to reach a consistency similar to fluffy snow. (Caution: If salt is too wet, it will slide off the meat.)
  4. In the bottom of the roasting pan, pat enough moistened salt to make a rectangle slightly larger than the roast.  Pat roast dry with paper towels. Place on salt bed. Pat rest of moistened salt all over roast, encasing it.
  5. Place the roast in oven and roast 16 to 18 minutes per pound for rare (140 degrees), 20 to 22 minutes per pound for medium (160 degrees) or 25 to 30 minutes per pound for well-done (170 degrees). Insert meat thermometer into middle of roast when testing for internal temperature.
  6. Check temperature 15 minutes before the estimated time to be done. Remove meat when thermometer registers 5 degrees below desired doneness. Thermometer (the kind that doesn't stay in the meat while it cooks), you may have to poke a hole in the salt crust before inserting it into the middle of the roast.

Note: Length of roasting time is not directly proportionate to size. Heavier roasts aren't that much bigger around -- they're simply longer. In other words, a 6-pound roast takes about 20 minutes per pound to get to medium doneness, or 2 hours. But a 12-pound roast won't take 4 hours -- more likely 3. You're on your own if you cook a big one.

Note: Use only kosher salt, not rock salt, regular table salt or pickling or canning salt-- they will not work for this recipe. Use a hammer to crack away salt crust; whisk away any remaining salt with a pastry or vegetable brush. Let roast stand 5 to 10 minutes before carving.

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