Family Christmas Celebration, Version 2016 (Prime Rib & Yorkshire Pudding)

Can’t recall when I’ve enjoyed Christmas day as much as yesterday’s. About a dozen of immediate and near-immediate family present at my brother’s house in the hills above Placerville, CA…formerly Hangtown. The home was so packed that it was air-mattress on the floor, for me.

My two brothers and I collaborated on cooking 24 pounds of prime rib low and slow, beginning around 10 am.


We used my brother’s wood-pellet Traeger.


To obtain absolute low and slow conditions, we set the grill to its lowest setting—which kept it 130-140 throughout the day while we sat by the fire, sipped whiskey neat and slow, and chatted our heads off.

By about 5pm it was necessary to kick the heat to 250 for a short time, and we took the roasts out at the 120 degree mark. Over the next 45-ish minutes, tented, they got to about 129 internal.




We also made Yorkshire Pudding, now an absolute must for us when enjoying prime rib, and of course, you use the beef tallow-fat drippings. Here’s people praying for the optimal rise out of the puddings.


I used the meat juice portion of the drippings, plus a quart of Kitchen Basics Original Unsalted Beef Stock, reduced by about half, for the au jus.

While there was also both creamed corn and creamed spinach on offer, I limited myself to a slice and a half of meat, two puddings, and a small baked potato.


I ended up not touching the potato this time, ending up perfectly satisfied, no feeling of overeating, and great sleep.

Going forward, I think I’m probably going to start doing a bit more food blogging. For those who haven’t been around in years past, here’s a sample, and most stuff I use my own recipe or heavily modify, synthesize and combine stuff found online.

Bon appetite.


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  1. Resurgent on December 26, 2016 at 19:35

    Merry Christmas Richard, to you, and to all present with you..!
    Looking forward to an exciting 2017 on Freetheanimal.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 26, 2016 at 21:42

      Thanks man, backattcha, and than you sincerely for your contributions to the blog value over the years.

  2. poop monster on December 26, 2016 at 22:05

    More proof that paleo and its various derivatives are only for the elite. I mean what family can afford a whole rib eye these days? We don’t all have book royalties and affiliate sales commissions rolling in the door.

    • poop monster on December 26, 2016 at 22:10

      This year my family had to choose between a sack of potatoes or a sack of coal for our Christmas gathering. We went for the potatoes. Better to be cold and nourished than warm and under nourished. The wifi and pay tv was not negotiable however. Both stayed connected.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 26, 2016 at 22:58

      My bro went into debt to order up the Ben Hur remake. We all enjoyed, felt appropriately guilty.

  3. Steven on December 26, 2016 at 22:35

    Merry Christmas Richard.

    Looks fantastic. Since I still can’t have gluten in any form I would have to sub out the wheat flour fora paleo derivative. It is one of the rare moments that I would make something like that.

    Are roasted up 2 pasture-raised hens all spiced up wonderfully. I made a giant pot of rice with the drippings from the hens. Along with some homemade cranberry sauce. I found an ice cream that’s basically cream, sugar and egg yolks with of course A Touch of vanilla bean for dessert along with a bunch of fruit.

    Kept it way simple this year as it was just my girlfriend and I so we had leftovers. A wonderfully perfect Mello day.

  4. thhq on December 27, 2016 at 09:29

    Oh man that looks good

  5. gabkad on December 27, 2016 at 12:02

    That looks really excellent.

    I hope Scout had fun. That ultimate cuteness adorable lubbable doggie.

    That picture of everyone looking into the oven at the yorkshire puds is hilarious. Good thing everything turned out well.

  6. MC on December 28, 2016 at 09:40

    “I’m probably going to start doing a bit more food blogging.”

    Please do. Love your shit.

    140* is seriously low and seriously slow. Did you notice a significant difference from going, say, 225* the whole way?

    • Richard Nikoley on December 28, 2016 at 11:44

      Slightly more tender, probably.

      I doubt it’s a huge enough difference to worry about. It’s just that we had the time and nothing better to do.

  7. The Prime Rib French Dip Sandwich on December 28, 2016 at 14:58

    […] day-after French Dip Sandwich is to your Christmas Prime Rib what the day-after Turkey Sandwich is to your Thanksgiving […]

  8. Baby Girl on January 3, 2017 at 19:07

    That looks so good Richard!

    I don’t always comments but try and check in two or three times a month, more if you’ve got something going in.

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