Archive for December, 2011

More Timely Advice—Standing Rib Roast

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Hey Jesse,

A confluence of events has led to me hosting Christmas dinner this year.

I’m planning to go all-out with a standing rib roast.  My question is, the rubs I’ve seen seem to call for a ton of salt.  Does that sound right?  Don’t want to dry out a $90 piece of meat.

Thanks much,



I’d go with less salt in the rub, but I’d salt it 3 times:

  • once a day before you cook it, so that as it sits overnight, the salt will have a chance to penetrate;
  • once as you’re preparing to cook it so that there is a bit more immediate of an effect;
  • and then a small sprinkle of sea salt upon slicing it for a finishing effect.

All in all, the amount of salt spread over the three applications may approach the amount called for in the rubs you’ve seen, but the overall effect should produce a better result because the salt won’t be concentrated in a crust on the outside of the beef.

Hope this helps, and enjoy your dinner!

Cloving a Ham

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Hello – Christmas is fast approaching and I’m planning to contribute a glazed ham. I’ve made this several times over the years but always find the spot to place the clove a real challenge as it’s very difficult to see the actual diamond shape in the white fat. Everything else is dead easy but I always groan when I get to that part of the procedure and feel there must be a simple solution. Last time I basted the ham for a short time so that there was some colour on it and then removed it from the oven and placed the cloves in. However, that was hardly a success either because the fat was then too soft to push the clove in! Do you have any suggestions to make my life a little easier?
Many thanks,
Jane (Perth, Western Australia)


I will actually be doing my own ham this year for the first time in about 6 years, so I am glad you asked the question, otherwise I don’t think I would have even been aware of the concern until it came time to slice the ham and stick the cloves.

My mother has always been the one to handle the glazed ham, so I asked kicked the question to her. She says that she always has the same issue, but after she cuts the grid, she uses her sense of touch to find the first few spots to put the cloves. Once she gets a few of them established, she estimates where the rest would go based on the pattern of the grid.

I can tell you that the results are consistently very nice, and it sounds like a reasonable method to me, so I hope it is helpful to you.

If anyone else has questions for me (or my mother), email me to let me know! Your question may be featured in a future advice column.