Ann Seranne's Rib Roast of Beef

By • December 16, 2011 85 Comments

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Author Notes: This is the ultimate make-ahead, perfectly cooked rib roast -- an utterly genius recipe from "Ann Seranne's Recipe for a Perfect Roast: Put it in the Oven and Relax", The New York Times, July 28, 1966. Note: Don't attempt this recipe if your oven isn't well-insulated (that is, if it's extremely hot to the touch when it's in use).Genius Recipes

Makes 2 servings per rib

  • One 2- to 4-rib roast of beef, weighing 4½ to 12 pounds
  • Flour
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 cup beef stock or broth (optional, if making pan gravy)
  1. Remove the roast from the refrigerator 2 1/2 to 4 hours before cooking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Place the roast in an open, shallow roasting pan, fat side up. Sprinkle with a little flour, and rub the flour into the fat lightly. Season all over with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the roast in the preheated oven and roast according to the roasting chart at the end of the slideshow above, timing the minutes exactly. (This works out to be 15 minutes per rib, or approximately five minutes cooking time per pound of trimmed, ready-to-cook roast.) When cooking time is finished, turn off the oven. Do not open the door at any time.
  5. Allow the roast to remain in the oven until oven is lukewarm, or about two hours. The roast will still have a crunchy brown outside and an internal heat suitable for serving as long as 4 hours after removing from the oven.
  6. Note: To make a thin pan gravy, remove excess fat from the meat drippings, leaving any meat pieces in the pan. Stir in 1/2 to 1 cup beef stock or broth. Bring to the boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the meat pieces. Simmer for one minute and season to taste.
  7. Note: Don't attempt this recipe if your oven isn't well-insulated (that is, if it's extremely hot to the touch when it's in use). Since ovens vary in their insulation, to be safe, you may want to rig up a probe thermometer or other oven-safe thermometer you can read without opening the oven door, and pull the roast out if it reaches the desired degree of doneness early.
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Comments (85) Questions (14)


10 months ago michael

We had a dinner party last night, I had printed the recipe months ago and cooked this yesterday afternoon. I turned out perfect, very delicious, every raved about it and wanted the recipe! thank you!


about 1 year ago Ana Teresa Ball

I agree with leaving it only 1 hour time after you turn off the oven. That is what I did and got the most perfect medium rare Prim Rib you can imagine. Next time I will try it with kosher salt. Thank you very much for this recipe. It really is genius!!


about 1 year ago David Braithwaite

If you do the 500-525 well preheated oven with meat at room temp and give it ONLY one hour exactly after the 5 minutes per pound EXACTLY, it will work every time. I agree, the two hours recommended above is too long. Stick to the one hour exactly after tuning off the oven. Then remove it and let it rest.


about 1 year ago Sippity Sup (Greg Henry)

I'm a pretty good cook. But this recipe failed me. Horribly. GREG


about 1 year ago Ann

Please share what happened that the recipe failed you.


about 1 year ago Don Roszel

I too would like to know what happened. This recipe worked well for me. I did read all the comments before I tried it. Oven temp is important! I also used the temp probe that's built into my oven as a backup.


over 1 year ago Ann

RONDA...I agree...I too have had great success with this method...I can only think that one or more of the following points are not being adhered to:
1. Oven must be very well insulated..when at 500F you should be able to put your hand on the outside door without burning it
2. If you are not sure that your oven can reach 500F buy an oven thermometer that can register higher than 500F..turn your oven on to 500F on the dial and when the oven beeps compare the temp to the thermometer. That will tell you whether your oven is calibrated correctly...or if the thermometer registers higher than 500F then you know your oven is too hot which might explain the well done beef.
3. If the rib roast is still very cold and has not been out of
the fridge long enough
4. Knowing the exact weight of the rib roast in order to calculate the amount of time to.roast @500F. Even though the butcher or the label tells me a weight I still weigh the beef on my digital kitchen scale.

Hope some of these points help those who have not had success with this method.


over 1 year ago Rhonda35

I don't know why people are having difficulty with this recipe. I've used it time and again and in three different ovens - never had a problem. Even this Christmas, when my son didn't read the giant sign taped to the oven that said "Do not open!" and opened the oven door, it still turned out perfectly. Medium rare (except the very ends) and so juicy. Sorry to see that others have not had the same luck. Maybe in 2014!!


over 1 year ago MsDivinaLoca

Unless you're willing to try out this recipe in advance to make sure it will work with your oven, I cannot recommend it. I used it for last year's NYE dinner and it was unevenly cooked - mostly undercooked and I followed the method to the letter. I'm pretty sure that it was related to the oven I was using, but I have no wish to buy another roast to experiment.


over 1 year ago Ann

This looks exactly like the rib roast we had on
Christmas! The result was spectacular! Medium rare throughout. My 2-rib piece weighed 4.5 lbs. After 3 hours at air conditioned room temp (in Honolulu) oven heat temp @500F...roasted for 25 minutes. Turned off the oven and two hours later removed it and dinner was served! I will always roast beef this magical nofuss way!


over 1 year ago cucina di mammina

I too made this rib roast for christmas day and it was woefully well done vs. medium rare as we wished (vey flavorful however. I will try the method below, thank you glasshalfmd for sharing the update on cooking temps for this gorgeous cut of meat.


over 1 year ago glasshalfmd

I commented here last Christmas about how this recipe yielded a heartbreakingly overcooked rib roast for me. I was mystified, given that for many this is a foolproof technique, and I'm an experienced cook. But I believe that it may have been the result of the fact that mine was a six-week dry-aged roast, so much of the water weight that insulates a fresh roast was missing, resulting in a roast that cooked much faster. I would caution all against using this recipe for a dry-aged roast. This year I roasted according to a technique that's gaining popularity; you'll see it in Heston Blumenthal's book and also in a recipe by Kenji Lopez-Alt in his Food Lab column on Serious Eats. You put your roast in as low an oven as possible (ideally 200 degrees) and wait 3-4 hours until it comes to an internal temperature of 125 for medium rare. (Test frequently at the 3-hour point.) Then you let the meat rest for an hour (the perfect time to cook a gratin dauphinois!). Finally you return the roast at 550 degrees for 8 minutes to create a beautiful crust. The concept here is to maximize the proportion of the roast that is perfectly medium rare and to minimize a grey, well-done perimeter. When you brown the meat first, the water in the surface slows down the Maillard reaction (the crust-forming chemical process), so by the time a crust forms, you have a layer of overcooked meat beneath it. A roast that is already cooked develops a beautiful crust very quickly when you make browning your final step. This year's roast was just superb.


over 1 year ago Ronnie Maiden

Makes sense to me. Mine was fresh, not dry aged.


over 1 year ago Ronnie Maiden

I made this tonight. I used an oven thermometer to make certain of the oven temp as my oven is a little temperamental ( I have to turn it off and on again the first time it indicates that is pre-heated as it isn't hot enough). I cooked a 4.95 lb. roast, I didn't get it cradled, and I followed the directions EXACTLY. After the two hours, I put in the micro wave to rest while I finished every thing else (Yorkshire pudding, gravy, etc.). It was perfectly rare, all the way through, and the outside had a lovely brown crust around it. I do understand why many have double ovens, though, as I had to juggle cooking different things, after the roast had been removed. I highly recommend this recipe.


over 1 year ago ibwebb

Try this for a perfect one everytime (IMHO)!


over 1 year ago Robin6055

I used this recipe today for my Xmas rib roast. The roast was cooked to a medium rare to very rare in the middle. I was cooking a5# roast. My concern was that it was room temperature at the end of the 2 hour rest in the oven. The recipe states that it will be warm enough to,serve for several hours after pulling it from the hour. This could, of course, be my oven temp. So I advise using an oven thermometer and a probe. Very flavorful, tender roast.


over 1 year ago Tami Wittich

I have 4.5 lb beef tenderloin.. Can I use this method exactly as given w/ this cut?


over 1 year ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

We've never tried it with a tenderloin, so I can't say for certain. This is a simple recipe we love for tenderloin:

Others in this comment thread have modified the Seranne high heat method successfully for different cuts like boneless rib roasts and eye rounds, so you could try it, but I would suggest reading through their comments and using a probe thermometer to be able to monitor the internal temperature closely.


over 1 year ago David Braithwaite

Absolutely. Try it with my herbs. But do take it out after the one hour to rest and do EXACTLY the five minutes per pound to the decimal! Don't open the oven door. Threaten anyone with their life if they get near the oven door. I did this with tenderloin for my brother's wedding and everyone said it was the best meat they'd ever eaten. I can't tell if you're at a high altitude from the comments but I don't have any idea how to adjust for that. Good luck!


over 1 year ago JohnL

Craig Claiborne had a recipe for eye round of beef roast that used this basic method he got from Ann Serrane for roasts ranging 3 1/2 pounds up to 8 pounds. His directions were to cook the roast for exactly 4 or 5 minutes a pound (that's what he said) and then leave a smaller roast in the turned off oven for 1 1/2 hours or for 2 hours for large roast. I've always had excellent results with this recipe using rib roast.


over 1 year ago David Braithwaite

I've been doing this for decades. I have a very good oven and maybe that is the ticket. Cook EXACTLY five minutes per pound at the highest temp your preheated oven will go, mine's 525 degrees. Turn it off and really, all you need is one hour. Take it out to rest while you do the rest of the meal. It comes out medium rare every time. And very little loss of juice, just fat. Even for one rib it works though a bit more like medium but totally juicy. If you want to get more flavor, mix chopped cilantro, tons of chopped fresh garlic, tons of tyme, rosemary, gobs of pepper and more salt than you think you should. Add olive oil and wrap with plastic and let sit in the fridge for days. Bring to room temp before cooking. Works even better with whole filet.


over 1 year ago Don Roszel

I've used this technique before, with excellent results. Only caveat is that you use the oven for the entire time. Not so big a deal if you have more than one oven, but for those of us with only one we're somewhat constrained as to other dishes that require time in the oven


over 1 year ago Muse

I will try to make this for Christmas dinner this year. Thank you for sharing your recipe. Peace, Light and Love.


over 2 years ago Cmgrauer

can I cook a one rib roast with this recipe?


over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

You could try it, reducing the cook time proportionally (see the chart above), but I'd strongly recommend a probe thermometer to keep track of the temperature (they're cheap!).


over 2 years ago Jcrater

Just made tonight for Christmas Eve. I was a little worried after reading some of the comments, but it was perfect!


over 3 years ago Windtryst

I cook all roasts like this, 5 min a pound works for me,if it is over 6 lbs. I go ti 6 min per pound . Works every time!