It takes a certain kind of confidence to give yourself an honorary doctorate, but after 15 years of barbecue cookoffs as a hobbyist, Ray Lampe earned the title of Dr. BBQ. He even looks the part: a badass Colonel Sanders type, with squared-off beard and spikey hair (think of Guy Fieri’s really cool uncle). In 2000, after 25 years in his family’s Chicago-based trucking outfit, Ray took his handle down to Florida to pursue, on the professional circuit, his passion for cooking meat. It’s worked out pretty well. Ray is now a world-renowned pitmaster, a regular on food television shows, and the author of nine cookbooks all about meat and heat and what to eat and drink along side. In 2014, he was inducted into the BBQ Hall of Fame, and this year will bring the first “Dr. BBQ” restaurant to Ray’s adopted hometown of St. Petersburg.
One of the things that sets the good barbecue Dr. apart from other grill aficionados is his progressive concept for smoking meat, taking a lighter approach with levels of smoke and experimenting with unique flavors to yield supremely interesting dishes.
A good example of Dr. BBQ’s take would be his recipe for rib roast, which would be a welcome break from typical Super Bowl Sunday grub, should you be looking for something to entertain your friends a couple weeks from now.
“This is a big-time crowd pleaser," says Ray. "It pairs just as well with a beer as it does with a big red wine. As for the herbs, use what you like or have around. Add some extra garlic if you wish and a little cayenne to the mix if you like it spicy.”
Sure beats a bucket of chicken (no offense to the good Colonel).
Ray’s Herb Butter Prime Rib
Makes 6-8 servings
1 each Boneless ribeye roast, about 5 pounds
Coarse ground black pepper
2 sticks Butter, room temperature
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
¼ cup Chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup Chopped fresh tarragon leaves
¼ cup Chopped fresh parsley
Au Jus, for serving
Horseradish Sauce, for serving
1. Prepare the grill or oven to cook indirect at 325°.
2. Season the roast liberally with the salt and pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, garlic and herbs.
4. Spread the herb butter evenly all over the roast.
5. If you’re using the grill, place the roast right on the cooking grate. If you’re cooking in the over, place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
6. Now, cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 125° in the center for medium rare. This will take about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
7. Remove, transfer to a platter and tent loosely with foil.
8. Let rest for 15 minutes.
9. Slice thick for prime rib type slabs or thin for a roast beef presentation.