(for cut and dry instructions without all the explanation, scroll to the bottom)
We will often pay $30+ at a restaurant to enjoy this deliciously tender cut of meat (unless you’re a vegetarian). I typically don’t like paying for food if I think I can easily make it at home for a fraction of the price. For a long time, I thought prime rib was one of few steaks worth paying for in a restaurant. That was before I discovered that a coworker was a competition BBQ master/meat connoisseur! After several conversations with him, I learned how easy it is to make prime rib.
Before I go any further, I must emphasize that if you are any enjoyer of roasts, a digital thermometer that you leave in while baking/cooking is a must-have in your kitchen! You can’t just say “oh you’re cooking this at that many pounds? 20 min!” The best way to know when meat is ready is by temperature, and if you are picky about your rare vs medium rare vs medium etc, knowing the temperature while cooking is extremely helpful in getting it just right. I got the Taylor 1470 Digital Cooking Thermometer/Timer off of Amazon for $18. I just tell it what temperature I want it at, it tells me what temperature it’s reading, and beeps when it reaches the desired temperature. It also has a timer too. Anyways, moving on…
Supplies (optional in italics)
- Rib Roast
- Digital Thermometer
- Cooking Pan
- Seasonings of choice (recommended: Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika)
- Wet Marinade of choice (recommended: Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Rosemary)
- Roasting rack
Selection of Meat
The higher the quality of meat, the better (duh?). The USDA beef qualities are prime, choice, select and standard. I’m no meat pro, and like to shop where I’m familiar, so my go-to place for large hunks [of meat :P] is Costco. I haven’t been able to find an acceptable roast selection at my normal grocery stores. If you have a favorite meat market, by all means, get that prime meat! At Costco, they have choice. I guess technically, I make choice rib, but that just sounds weird. I’ve also only seen boneless at Costco, no bone-in cuts, but boneless cooks faster for the impatient anyways. I’ve found that they have either a package of ~2 lb rib-eye roast x2, or a package of 4+ lb rib-eye roast. Generally, 10 – 16 oz is enough per person, so getting your meat from Costco means you will likely be sharing or enjoying leftovers. Either way, I’ve learned that the larger the roast, the more tender everything is. Plus, everything is yummier when you share with other people.
The actual cooking process for prime rib is relatively simple. It all really comes down to the care and preparation you put into it. You’ll want to apply your dry seasoning the day/evening before and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator. The meat has so much flavor already, and you do not want to overpower it, so keep your seasonings simple. I usually use some variety of salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. A good rib rub will often include all of these ingredients and then some. You might try to go light on the seasoning for fear of it tasting too strong, but keep in mind that once you slice it, most of the seasoning flavor will be cooked into the crust while the interior of the meat is all just meat flavored, so be pretty liberal with the seasoning. Also make sure to season it on all sides. Once that’s done, just toss it in the refrigerator.
On the day of cooking, possibly in the morning, I like to prepare a little dish of olive oil, minced garlic, and rosemary. You can add other herbs and spices of your choice. This isn’t necessary, but the olive oil helps to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices and helps to penetrate the surface of the meat. It also helps with browning and forming a crust. Take a spoon and mash up the garlic in the oil to help with more flavor releasing. Let it sit for at least an hour but preferably more.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 2-3 hours before you plan to start cooking to bring it to room temperature. I know it sounds gross letting a piece of raw meat sit out for that long, but it’s safe and will help the meat cook more evenly. After taking it out of the refrigerator, pick up the meat with both hands and the fat side facing towards you. Fold the meat inward, so that the fat side is facing outward, and tie it. For a cut this size, it will be easier with two people. This guy gives a good (and fancy) demonstration on how to properly tie a roast, but essentially you’re tying multiple loops around the meat, so it evenly holds its shape. By allowing the roast to have a circular shape instead of an oblong shape, it allows the meat to cook evenly and stay moist. Also, if you have a bone-in cut, it keeps the meat attached to the bone.
After you tie the roast, apply your wet marinade over the entire roast, sides too. You will see from my pictures that I applied the marinade before tying my roast, which led to a grumpy hubs complaining about his hands getting slimy. Some people also like to cut slits into their meat to insert chunks of garlic and/or rosemary into it, but I prefer to skip it, as I’d like to keep all the juices contained in my meat and not escape through these slits. It’s just personal preference. Once you’ve applied the marinade, set your roast back down, and resist the urge to cook it right away. Don’t forget, it still needs to reach room temperature!
After those torturous hours of waiting and preparation, it’s time to cook! Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. While waiting for the oven to heat up, it is time to sear the meat to lock in all of those delicious juices and flavor. Heat up a pan with medium-high to high heat, and sear each and every single side of your meat for approximately 2-3 minutes per side. You might want to open up some doors/windows first cuz it’s going to get pretty smokey. I always panic at this point of the process because I just see my roast getting burnt and (in my mind) ruined. However, you need to keep in mind again that the outside is only a fraction of the deliciousness you will be tasting once a piece is sliced up. Letting it get burnt is okay as it will help to form that delicious crust that everyone knows and loves about the prime rib. Now even though I boast about the burnt crust, use common sense. If it’s so burnt that the crust is chipping off, you’ve gone too far.
Once there is a good sear encompassing the entire meat, place it in the pan with the fat side facing up. This will allow any fat juices to trickle down your meat instead of straight to the pan. Some also say it allows the fat to melt into the meat, but not sure how true that is. Some will suggest placing your roast on a roasting rack, but this is optional. The roasting rack allows an even amount of heat to reach all sides including the bottom. It’s also suggested to not get a V-shaped roasting rack but a flat one because it creates a cold air bubble apparently. Not sure how much truth there is to that but oh well. I didn’t have a roasting rack on hand, and my prime rib came out perfectly delicious, but I made sure to order one the next day! I ordered the Norpro 275 Adjustable Roast Rack for $7 off of Amazon.
Next, insert your digital thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. This may be through the top or through the side. It just depends on the shape of your meat. For the cut I have, that means through the side. You want your thermometer to hit the deepest part of the meat without going through to the other side (especially if that other side is your pan. It will definitely throw off the temperature reading).
I was too excited about getting it in the oven, so I don’t have a picture of my thermometer setup. Once you’re ready to go, pop it in the oven to begin another torturous wait. You want your internal temperature to reach 125 degrees. I was told 120-125, but when I tried this the first time and took it out at 123, it seemed a little too rare (as seen to our right). If you like it more rare, adjust accordingly.
Once it reaches 125 degrees (or whatever you want), take it out of the oven and loosely tent the roast with foil. If necessary, readjust your thermometer, so it’s still reading the temperature while being tented. Let the roast rest for about 10-20 minutes until it reaches the internal temperature of about 130-135 degrees. Again, that “too rare” piece was rested til 130 degrees. The cut I used in this post is rested to 135 degrees. Pretty much, it’s a fine line between rare and medium rare, but it’s all up to preference.
Once the roast has rested to your desired temperature, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor! Before you get too cut-happy, don’t forget to remove the string holding it together. I’ve also heard that using a thinner knife is better for cutting meat than a regular kitchen knife. Again, I was too excited to take a picture of the finished roast before cutting into it, but Voila!
Basic Cooking Instructions
- Season meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. Let refrigerate overnight.
- Soak minced garlic and rosemary in a small dish of olive oil.
- Remove meat from refrigerator 2-3 hours before cooking. Fold the meat inward with the fat side facing outward. Tie the meat to hold shape. Rub olive oil mixture over entire meat. Let meat sit and reach room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 275F.
- Sear the outside for 2-3 min per side all around on high heat or until it has a good sear.
- Place roast on baking pan/roast rack with the fat side on top. Insert thermometer through thickest part of meat.
- Bake uncovered until internal temperature reaches 125F. ~15 min for steak cut, ~30 min for 2 lb roast, ~1.5 hr for 4+ lb roast.
- Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let sit for 10-15 min until internal temperature rises to 135F or above.
Stan Thompson from Mrs T’s BBQ
Yay first post!