Beyond Holiday Ham: Pat LaFrieda, Jr. on Meat for the Holidays

By: Sarah De Heer

Yesterday we posed this question to readers: What do you traditionally serve up around the holidays? Thanksgiving is all about turkey and Easter is all about the ham. But what meat do you serve on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

FN Dish went to the meat master, Pat LaFrieda, Jr., to chat about alternative meats for Christmas, and as always, he didn't let us down. Keep reading for tips on standing rib roasts, get Pat's recipe for stuffing and find out what his favorite holiday meal is.

Standing rib roasts are delicious, but some people may be nervous to try and cook one. Do you have any suggestions? How many pounds/ribs per person?

PLF: Always figure on 1 pound of meat, in the raw form, per person. That should yield 12 ounces of cooked meat.

Try the recipe pictured above: Paula's Foolproof Standing Rib Roast

Holiday ham: What do you consider the most delicious ways to cook it and how do you ensure it stay moist?

PLF: Try to steer away from presmoked hams if possible. Purchase a fresh ham, otherwise known as a hind leg of pork, and cook it or smoke it yourself.

What meat is on your family's holiday menu and how do you usually prepare it?

PLF: We eat a stuffed, boneless, butterflied Hampshire pork loin. I'm including my recipe for the stuffing below:

1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 prunes pitted, chopped
2 tablespoons butter

2 cups thick-cut white bread cubes, crusts removed (preferably brioche because of the richness) or 1 cup amaretti cookies

1 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
8 fresh sage leaves
1 egg, beaten

1 (3 pound) pork loin roast, butterflied (ask the butcher to do this for you)

Saute the onions in pan over medium heat with oil until they're translucent but still have some body. Add the prunes and butter; cook for 2 minutes. Then add the bread (or cookies) and broth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir for 2 more minutes or until the bread absorbs all the liquid. At this point add the sage to the mix and let it sit for 15 minutes to cool, then add the egg.

Stuff and roast your pork at 300 degrees F until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached.

What is your favorite meal to serve at a holiday get-together?

PLF: There is no way I can start a holiday meal without a bowl of tripe in red sauce and a loaf of seeded semolina bread. Trust me, it's delicious!

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