Stand and deliver beef

Party piece: NZ Angus Pure standing rib-eye steaks or roast
Party piece: NZ Angus Pure standing rib-eye steaks or roast

French wit and storyteller Voltaire coined the phrase "great minds think alike" back in the 1700s but it's as relevant now as it was then.

There's an extra bit on the end of the adage about fools seldom differing but we won't go there because it will defeat the purpose of bringing it up in the first place.

With Christmas looming, the idea of something other than ham, turkey or a leg of lamb appealed for the big feed. When the topic was tossed in the middle a week ago it wasn't laughed out of town so I decided to confront Tony Varga at TLC Meats for his thoughts.

He was a jump ahead. Before uttering a word he nailed me with: "I've got an idea for Christmas dinner if you're looking for something different."

Good old Voltaire.

"My oath," was the reply. "We were looking at something a bit beefy."

"Look no further," Tony bounced back.

"This standing beef rib roast is just the ticket," he said as he motioned toward skilled Scottish butcher Alan Barnard.

"He's just the man to be preparing this, which is scotch fillet with the bone on."

Barnard was in the process of wrapping the end of each rib bone in foil and it wasn't to make it look nice (which it did).

"It's to stop the bones from burning during the cooking process."

Varga said the roast was ideal for Christmas and could be as big or as small as the customer required.

"You can slice them up into individual steaks if you want to but leave the piece of meat whole, with the bone in, for Christmas. We will have whole roasts on display and we will happily cut them to order. It can be baked in the oven or under the hood of the barbecue."

Here's a guide to judge how big a piece of rib roast you'll need.

Six people - three ribs; eight people - four ribs; 10 people - five ribs; 12 people - six ribs and 14 people - seven ribs. "Don't even bother with less than a three-rib roast. If you do you might as well buy steak. Cooking time is dependent on the size of the cut but generally you'd bake a 2kg piece for an hour 20, and then let it rest for 10 [minutes]. All steak should be left to rest before eating."

The "standing" tag was there because in most cases the meat is roasted in a standing position with the ribs stacked vertically with the vertebrae on the tray bottom.

Thanks for that, Tony, and Merry Christmas to everyone.

Taranaki Daily News