Cooking a prime rib roast can certainly be intimidating. However, if you successfully prepare a delicious prime rib, there is no need to overdo the rest of your meal. With the roast as the star of your meal, simple side dishes liked creamed spinach, green bean casserole, or mashed potatoes will perfectly compliment your protein. Below are three simple steps that will guarantee you a perfectly prepared prime rib.
Step 1: Selecting the Perfect Roast
Prime rib is sold both bone-in and boneless; however, a bone-in roast will ensure the meat is more tender. Your guests will eat about ½ a pound of roast per person when it is part of a holiday buffet, or ¾ a pound per person if it is the main course to a smaller holiday dinner.
You can request your local butcher to order a roast in the weight range you need. You can also ask your butcher to trim and tie the roast so you can avoid this step later on. There should still be about one inch of fat on the roast after it has been trimmed and tied.
Step 2: Preparing a Rub
Whether you want a classic salt and pepper combination to accentuate the roast’s flavor, or a less traditional rub, spices and herbs are key to giving your roast that crackling, seared crust.
Either the night before or at least two hours prior to cooking your prime rib, rub the entire roast with olive oil and generously sprinkle it with one of the following seasoning blends:
- ¼ cup black pepper and ¼ cup kosher salt (Grab a canister of Morton’s or Diamond kosher salt; the larger salt crystal size will make for a better crust on the meat than you’d get from regular table salt.)
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons herbes de Provence and 2 large minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon dry mustard and the zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tablespoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary and 2 large minced garlic cloves
If you are seasoning the roast in advance, place the roast uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, the let it come to room temperature two hours before before you put it in the oven.
Step 3: Test the Temperature
When cooking a roast, do not fall victim to guess work. Instead of relying on time to tell you when your meat is properly cooked, use a digital meat thermometer. This will provide you with more accuracy and prevent overcooking.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees for at least 30 minutes while the prime rib comes to room temperature.
- Place the roast in a high-sided roasting pan bone-side down. The bones create a natural roasting rack for the meat, so don’t worry if you don’t have one.
- Cook the roast for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue to cook the roast until your meat thermometer reads 120 degrees. Estimate about 15 minutes of cooking time per pound of prime rib.
- Once the thermometer hits its target temperature, remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes. The roast will continue to cook as the juices inside settle, raising the internal temperature to 130 degrees for a perfect medium-rare prime rib.
- Snip the tied bones off the roast, slice and serve to appreciative friends and family!