Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law – When cooking is more art than anything else.

I can remember days when I just this high, I Iook back and they were pretty darned fine. All except for … art. This could be music, drawing, painting and/or dancing. I have 4 internal metronomes all going at once, all at a different rate. When I play the drums or a stringed instrument, both hands do the same thing. If I attempt to split the strummins? My brain splits in half, fall over and I curl up in to a little ball. As I got older, I got smarter and started using rulers to draw, anything. I still have some of those in the garage somewheres. Drawing trees with a ruler is dumb, just in case you wanted to know. By the time I was in high school I’d pretty much given up on this whole art thing, done and over with says me.
Towards the end of high school I discovered cooking and photography, That is to say, I’d been doing those things for years, but realized that as I got older and better, my food and photography didn’t suck as much as it used to.
For today’s entry, there is no recipe, no procedure you can follow. It’s pure art, feel it, study, listen, poke & prod. You have to become one with your beef roast, zen that s.o.b. until you own its soul. MmmMMm, beef soul.
When you’ve spent many years studying your chosen form of art, you know the rules and your ways as second nature. The best part though? Is when you can break those rules, and have a masterpiece presented. This, my good people is just that. I broke one of the all-time huge rules of cooking roasts, don’t put a frozen hunk of meat in the oven.

Big Z requested a roasted beef for dinner, along with mashed potatoes. I’d forgot about hitting up the grocery store during lunch, so I stopped by to see Omar of Joya de Ceren here in Richmond.
I knew better, but had to see. Our local Latin markets freeze their meats because they don’t have the high turnaround and it allows them to slice everything paper thin with ease. Sure he had a roast, but it was nearly frozen. And by nearly frozen I mean it had a teeny weeny give when pressed, then stopped. Can I pull this off in time?
My old gas range has 3 pilot lights going 24/7, so the beast is warm. I can leave my dish towels on the chrome griddle and they dry in no time. This is also a great place for defrosting things, but time was not on my side today. I had about an hour and a half to get the ball rolling. The roast was about four and a quarter pounds, we didn’t need that much so I cut a hunk off with an exceptionally sharp cleaver, it wasn’t easy.
Preheat the oven to 325 (along with a cast iron fry pan and trivet) and set the roast on a piece of foil with a loose tent on the griddle. Turned the meat every 10 minutes or so for a half hour. Even blasted the griddle’s burner to keep things moving along. After a half hour, it was defrosted about 1″ down, that’d have to do.
Rub roast with bacon fat, press in fresh, minced rosemary with some s&p. Install to preheated oven with your preheated pan. Oh yeah, take the juice of half a lemon and squeeze over roast, lay halves in pan with roast, tent with foil VERY loosely. I figured between the gentle heat and moisture from the lemon, it’d slowly defrost further.
I checked it at 30 minutes and it was pretty much defrosted, all mooshy with give.
Remove foil, lemon and jacked heat to 375.
In about 45 minutes it was at 135 and ready! Can you believe that? I sure as heck didn’t and I have to say it was exceptionally tender, juicy and everything you’d ever want in a beef roast.
Roasting frozen meat can be done, but it takes some mad skills to pull it off.
I have spoken,

8 thoughts on “Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law – When cooking is more art than anything else.

  1. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but — good God, man! I mean, I couldn’t even have lopped off the cooking-piece to begin with and never could have figured out the arcane timing and temperatures. You really are an artist, even if at times you’re more Dada than Daddy.

  2. Master B,
    Beautiful man.
    I didnt know about that rule. HMMM… You have unlocked the secret to the raw inside with the crispy outside. Try that with a marinaded then frozen 1 1/2 inch ribeye steak over hot coals. We had a local resturanteur(deceased)that marketed that as ‘Black and Blue). Guess he didnt know about the rule either.

  3. Love to hear that your art forms have survived and in fact become more finely honed to a sharp talent. Food and Photography – is there anything else? 🙂

  4. Looks mighty fine. Nothing like pushing the edge every now and then to see how stable the footing is.
    Excellent job.
    PS: @ Terry…. yes…. BEER