For the easiest carving, have your butcher remove the chine or feather bones, which make up part of the spinal column. For a larger crowd, cook a five-bone (10- to 12-lb.) rib roast and double the dry rub. For more intense flavor, season the roast a day ahead, cover it loosely with plastic, and refrigerate it overnight.
Crush the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle or mix it well in a small bowl. Mix in the pepper, thyme or rosemary, fennel seeds, and olive oil. Rub all over the roast, especially in any spaces between the meat and bones. Let the rub sit on the roast for at least 1/2 hour and up to 24 hours, refrigerated and loosely covered. (After being refrigerated, let the meat come to room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.)
Heat the oven to 450°F. Lay the roast, bone side down, in a large shallow roasting pan and roast for 15 min. Turn the oven down to 350°F without opening the door. After about 45 min. (or after 1 hour for a 5-bone roast), check the temperature of the roast by inserting the instant-read meat thermometer in the direct center of the roast. If it isn’t 115°F, continue roasting, checking every 15 min. or so, until it reaches 115°F. This temperature will give you a mostly rare roast, except for the end cuts, which will be medium-rare to medium. You can roast it to 120° to 125°F if you want medium-rare meat, but be careful not to overcook it. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Let the roast rest for at least 15 and up to 45 min. During this time, the temperature will rise another 5° to 10°F and the juices within the roast will be redistributed. Carve and serve.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on nine servings, Calories
59, Fat Calories
530, Saturated Fat
44, Monounsaturated Fat
0, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips