November 23, 2009

Stories of a Roast Beast

A funny story from last night's dinner fiasco...

The pie had already been deemed a disaster in my mind and was sitting in the fridge. The prime rib, however, was sitting in the oven, roasting... the scent of garlic and spices wafting throughout my parents' home.

The directions had stated leaving it at room temp for an hour, then 500 degrees for 20 minutes and then 325 for just over an hour remaining until the center was at 145 degrees. (The recipe was wrong... that is too done.) And so as the allotted time came closer, my Mom said to me quite animated, "Wait until you see what your father has! He has this GREAT thermometer. It is state of the art. You'll love it!"

And the scene and conversation played out... pretty much accordingly.

Me: OK. Let's see it...

Mom: See. You just flip this out and poke it in the meat and it digitally reads the temperature within seconds.

*bing bing bing* went the buzzer, sounding time for the meat to be done.

Me: OK, let's see it. Go.

Mom opened the oven, poked in the handy dandy state of the art thermometer and said, "Something's wrong..."

Me: What?

Mom: Something is wrong. It's... hunh. It's going... backward. It says 60 degrees...

Me: So much for that... no way in hell. That sucker has been in there for an hour and 20 minutes, with part of it at 500 degrees...

Mom: Hunh. I took it out and it's climbing back up to 80 degrees...

Me: Really? Let me see...

Sure enough, she poked the meat, and it didn't register but 60 something degrees, took that sucker out and the temp gauge moved upwards of 80 degrees.

Mom: I'm going to talk to your Dad...

I heard her leave the house to go back to his woodshop where he was working with Ringo. I heard her saying, "Hun! (she used his real name) There's something wrong with your meat thermometer..."

I couldn't hear the rest as her voice trailed off into the garage/woodshop.

She came back in with eyes wide.

Mom: He said it's not broken. That if it says 60 degrees, than that meat is 60 degrees.

I sat there incredulously... puzzled, trying to figure out how in the hell it could be. How could I have so royally screwed up AGAIN?

TGOO came into the house, opened the oven door, poked the meat and it registered 65 degrees. He took it to the fridge where it registered the correct temp, and then back to the oven.

TGOO: Your meat is 65 degrees...

Me: That's impossible. I left it out for an HOUR AND A HALF! A full half hour LONGER than the recipe stated! Then 500 deg for 20 and 325 for over the past hour... It can't be!

And that is when he came to the conclusion that our meat... had been purchased...frozen on the inside.

So, lesson to all, if you buy a big hunk of meat, check to see if it's frozen. It didn't say it was on the package, it was in the fridge section of Sam's... but it had to be frozen in the center.

That prime rib was doing it's best Sam McGee imitation. If it could talk when we first opened the oven it would have said, "ďPlease close that door.
Itís fine in here, but I greatly fear youíll let in the cold and stormó
Since I left Sam's, down off Davis Highway, itís the first time Iíve been warm.Ē

Posted by Boudicca at November 23, 2009 09:25 PM

.... Sam McGhee........ good lord...... I know that poem by heart!.....

.... Sam McGhee was from Tennessee where the cotton blooms and blows... why he left his home in The South to roam round the pole, god only knows.........

..... sounds like a helluva thanksgiving, ma'am!...... bwhahahhaa....

Posted by: Eric at November 23, 2009 10:02 PM

Funny thing, Ringo read this and informed me that his English teacher read them The Cremation of Sam McGee in class! I knew I loved his English teacher...

Posted by: Bou at November 23, 2009 10:37 PM

Nearly all meat, even if it's "fresh" is kept at temperatures very near freezing so it will last longer in the stores. The bigger the hunk of meat or bird, the more likely it is to be nearly frozen inside. And the longer it will take to cook. (this has happened to me with "fresh" turkeys. I always end up putting them in a cold water bath to thaw them. Ho-hum...

As for recipes like that - I find they are almost always wrong. Regular ovens do not work the same as professional ovens. For instance when I make pumpkin pie and follow the directions starting out at a high temp and then lowering the temp to finish cooking... the process ALWAYS takes twice as long as the recipe calls for - every single time.

I can just see your dad checking the thermometer to see if it was working though... ROFLMAO. I love it.

Posted by: Teresa at November 23, 2009 11:39 PM

I knew my turkeys were frozen inside, I just did not expect it with my beef!

I have to tell you, we are still LMAO over the 'the thermometer is going backwards' part. We were just standing in the kitchen and you should have seen the look on my Mom's face. And when she came back in, kind of horrified. I JUST KNEW something was wrong with that damn thing...

Posted by: Bou at November 23, 2009 11:45 PM

to add to T's comment, big chains stores often freeze their meat and then "pretend" it hasn't been frozen when they put it out in the cases. I buy my beef at my butcher's so it's never been frozen. Loved that the Thermometer was going backwards though. loved it.

Posted by: Oddybobo at November 24, 2009 12:45 PM

Hmmmm... blackened exterior crust, raw interior?


Posted by: Elisson at November 24, 2009 05:41 PM

Next time don't buy the meat 10 minutes before you plan to cook it.

Alton Brown has a great rib roast recipe that includes how to dry age the meat for a few days before cooking. So buy it 4-5-6 days before dinnertime.

And yeah, they're allowed to sell meat that's NEARLY frozen, but still call it "fresh."

Posted by: George P at November 24, 2009 10:47 PM

I didn't get in until Saturday night, George! I cooked on Sunday! There wasn't time to buy in advance!

Posted by: Bou at November 24, 2009 11:49 PM

It's funny how Service always comes back this time of year....

Now if only they taught the one by our poet laureate about the mouse that discovered fire in a country house by dragging a stolen match through the walls of an old house.... That was excellent.

Posted by: Curtis at November 27, 2009 12:56 AM