Restaurant-Style Prime Rib Roast

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Prime Rib: It’s not just for Christmas dinner.

I’ll make this whenever I can get my paws on one at a good price (or the rare super sale). It’s a great excuse to have a party. In fact, if you’re sick of ham on Easter, consider giving Roast Beast it’s day in the (springtime) sun.

This is a restaurant technique that’s practically guaranteed to produce a moist, juicy, evenly cooked roast beast. And it couldn’t be simpler.

Seriously.

How to buy prime rib

Prime rib is expensive, so you want to be sure you get the best meat for your dollar. You’ll find it sold two ways: bone in, or boneless. I prefer the bone-in roasts. I think they taste better. They also make a slightly more impressive table presentation. Boneless roasts cook a little faster, so keep that in mind as it’s roasting.


Look for a roast with a layer of creamy white fat on the top. You’re going to roast your beast fat-side up, so the fat bastes the meat as it melts. The roast should be tied (though you can do this yourself at home) to keep its nice, plump shape as it cooks.

 

The flesh should be bright red and the fat should be firm and white.

Look for good marbling, if you can find it. Marbling = those skinny little strips of white fat shot through the meat. Most of it will melt as the meat roasts, contributing rich, beefy flavor.

Many butchers will have some pre-cut and wrapped in the case, especially around the holidays. If you don’t like the look of the ones they have out, ask your butcher to cut a fresh one for you. Depending on your market, you might need to special order one.

I’ve said it before: Find a butcher and make friends with him. You can thank me later.

What size roast do you need?

When you order prime rib at a restaurant, normally you’ll get one whole rib, so you wind up with a brontosaurus-sized steak.

You can certainly cut one rib per person, but that can be a lot of meat for one, especially if you’re serving other stuff. Plus, that can get pricey fast.

I prefer to carve the ribs off, then cut the boneless roast into thinner slices. You’ll be able to feed a lot more people that way. If you go that route:

Count on (raw weight):
4 lbs. for 3-4 people
5 lbs. for 4-5 people
6 lbs. for 5-6 people
7 lbs. for 6-7 people
10 lbs. for 8-10 people
14 lbs. for 10-12 people

The short version of the recipe goes like this

Sear the meat quickly on all sides on top of the stove to develop flavor and color. Then roast it slowly in a 250-degree oven for a few hours. It seems too low, but trust me, it’ll cook.

Most prime rib recipes will give you a roast that looks kind of like a bulls-eye: Brown on the outside, pink in the center. This method of cooking (at a low temperature for a long time) gives you a roast that’s evenly cooked through and through, so every bit of every slice is just the way you like it.

This is a basic recipe that lets the rich, beefy flavor of the meat shine through. If you like, rub the roast with a little garlic, rosemary, and powdered bay leaf after you sear it (so you don’t burn the spices). You get the picture.

Restaurant-Style Prime Rib Roast

1 (5-7 lb.) prime rib
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
olive oil

Serves 4-7

Prep the beast

Grab your roast. Give him a quick rinse under cold water and pat him dry with paper towels. Get him very, very, very dry. If you don’t, he won’t sear well (water inhibits browning…the meat will kind of steam instead of brown)…

 

Next, smear him with olive oil. I use pure olive oil, not extra virgin, because it has a higher smoke point. (Plus, virgin and extra virgin olive oil are best saved for finishing and drizzling, not cooking, so their grassy flavor can shine through. Heat basically destroys that.)

Sprinkle him generously on all sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Be sure to get all sides, including both ends.

Sear the beast

Throw open a window and grab a fan, because there’s gonna be smoke. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

Next, put a little olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Roll the pan around so that the bottom is coated. Set it on the stove over high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, it’s hot enough for your meat.

Put the meat in the pan. It doesn’t really matter which side you start with because you’re going to do all sides.

When he’s brown on one side, flip him over.

Keep flipping him until he’s brown on all sides.

Don’t forget to get the ends.

Roast the beast

When your beast is brown on all sides, remove him from the pan. Place a rack in a roasting pan. Set the meat on the rack, fat-side up. This is important. You want the fat-side up, so that the fat melts as the meat roasts and bastes it.

Pop him into your pre-heated 250-degree oven.

Roast for 3 – 3/12 hours until he registers at least 120 degrees on a meat thermometer.

When is it done?

Most roasts will increase in temperature dramatically once they come out of the oven. Usually, the hotter the oven, the more your temperature will rise.

This “carry-over” cooking means you have to be very mindful of when you yank the beast out of the oven. It also means that the doneness is hard to get right. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever blown the timing on a roast. I know I have.)

Not so with this method. Because the meat is roasted at such a low temperature, it should only increase a few degrees.

It’s a more reliable way to roast a prime rib, and makes timing your meal a lot easier.

Temperature chart
121°-125° F = rare
130°-135° F = medium-rare
140° F = medium
150° F = medium-well
160° F = well done

Be sure to get the meat thermometer into the center of the roast, not touching any bones (that will skew your reading).

Tent your roast under aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes. (Tent means loosely drape and tuck a little, don’t wrap it airtight.) This will let the juices settle back into the roast.

Slice, serve, inhale!

After your roast has rested, transfer it to a serving platter. Carve it up however you like. Thick slices. Paper thin slices. Whole ribs, if you got a bone-in beast.

Enjoy!

Restaurant-Style Boneless Prime Rib Roast

This is a restaurant technique that produces a moist, juicy, evenly cooked roast beast. And it couldn’t be simpler.

Save Recipe

Ingredients

1 (5-7 lb.) boneless prime rib
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
olive oil

Instructions

  1. Grab your roast. Give him a quick rinse under cold water and pat him dry with paper towels. Get him very, very, very dry.
  2. Smear him with olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle him generously on all sides with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
  4. Throw open a window and grab a fan, because there’s gonna be smoke. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
  5. Put a little olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Roll the pan around so that the bottom is coated. Set it on the stove over high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, it’s hot enough for your meat.
  6. Sear the meat on all sides (don't forget the ends).
  7. When your beast is brown on all sides, remove him from the pan. Place a rack in a roasting pan. Set the meat on the rack, fat-side up. This is important. You want the fat-side up, so that the fat melts as the meat roasts and bastes it.
  8. Pop him into your pre-heated 250-degree oven.
  9. Roast for 3 – 3/12 hours until he registers at least 120 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  10. Tent your roast under aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes. (Tent means loosely drape and tuck a little, don’t wrap it airtight.) This will let the juices settle back into the roast.
  11. After your roast has rested, transfer it to a serving platter. Enjoy!
http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2011/03/22/restaurant-style-prime-rib-roast/


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

39 COMMENTS

  1. This works well for large cuts of pork too – I use a 3-4lb boneless butt and follow the same routine but after searing, I cook up some veggies/wine/stock and braise the pork in a stock pot in the oven instead of roasting. It’s awesome over rice. The recipe came from a class I took in Natick with Helen Rennie who posted it here: http://www.beyondsalmon.com/2008/06/boston-butt-pork-shoulder-osso-buco.html.

    I just made the braised pork a few days ago but now I’ll be gearing up for a prime rib roast after seeing your amazing pictures! Love the step by step – helps a ton with the “is it supposed to look like this?!” moments 🙂

  2. Great article! Your blog style is similar to mine and so I really appreciate the photos and description. I’ve been wanting to cook a good prime rib for quite a while and I think you’ve just inspired me to get going. I run the @GourmetNews feed on Twitter and have carried your blog on that feed for a while. Keep up the good work!

  3. Wow! I never knew cooking prime rib could be so easy.
    I like to use Montreal Steak Spice as a rub. Do you need to tent the cooked beef?
    My question is: What’s a good meat thermometer to purchase? Are there any good instant read thermometers out there?

    • You can pick up digital battery operated thermometers at just about any kitchen shop, good grocery stores or department stores…I love mine

    • Tenting the meat is way important. Have you ever cooked a steak or roast and taken it straight to the plate? Have you noticed that the meat tastes dry and there are a lot of juices on your plat? Resting the meat allows the juices to soak in THROUGH the meat.

    • I’m 50, long time cooking fanatic, and hate to say I just learned about Thermapen thermometers. 100 bucks, but worth every penny in NOT burning or overcooking pricey roasts. Wish I had heard about these much sooner. I give them for every bridal shower I’m invited to. I use them every time I cook meat. Can’t believe I did without it as long as I did.

  4. I like a slightly different method, as recommended by Bruce Aidell.

    Get the bone in rack. Season the outside. Do NOT debone, though you can cut along the bone and season the space inside. Onto a roasting pan, bone side down. The bones act as a natural roasting rack. Into a 250 oven, until shy of done, say 118-120 for rare (the only way to eat this, really). Then, crank oven to 500 for five-ten minutes, to brown the outside. Allow to rest, as in your version, then, using the cut we made along the bone, we can debone post cooking, to slice to desired thickness.

    Now that I’m all sophisticated, I’m might do a sous-vide version, and finish the char on the grill. Might. It’s such a perfect item when done properly in the oven, it might not need sous vide.

    • The recipe I found last year was similar to how you did it. I did not sear the outside first.
      Rinse and dry the roast the night before, and put your rub on it and put it in the fridge uncovered overnight. Take out 1-2 hours before cooking to come closer to room temp.
      In the oven at 225 for 4.5 hours until about 120. Pull out, tent, and let rest for 1.5 hours.
      Back in oven at 500 for about 15 minutes to crisp up the outside, oh so yummy.
      This turned out medium rare with nicely blackened tasty bits on the outside. Perfect.
      Paired with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and salad, was one delicious meal.

      Link to a picture of the finished product:
      https://scontent-a-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/3855_4106573948688_1029962947_n.jpg

      • Hi, I was just reading your post and wanted to ask how large your prime rib was. I’m planning to cook 2 large ones (1- 9.80# and 1- 9.43#) for Christmas Eve and cant quite figure out the cooking time per pound at the lower degree. Any advise??? Thanks!

  5. This site and recipe is one of the best I have come along!!!!!! The detailed( in lay mans terms) instructions and step by step pictures are a godsend….The prime rib roast was as good as any I’ve had at a restaurant…and It’s or fave! My son-in-law was so surprised on his 35th birthday with this meal, that I will be making it for every family get together from now on! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! Selling Mcconville, Tampa Florida

  6. I’ve got an oven that will do 140 degrees. If my roast sits in the 140 for a few hours, does that negate the resting period? I assumed so. Also, come up with the magic Au Jus! Nothing like a French Dip the next day, just need the Au Jus. Merry Christmas! Love your site.

  7. Cheryl

    Try a Thermapen instant read thermometer. More expensive than most, but worth it. Calibrated at the factory, I’ve had one for years, given as Christmas presents, too.

  8. Hey guys just to add another idea for seasoning… Spread dijon mustard over the whole roast before putting in the oven, i work at a high end steak house and we have the best prime rib in the country. Trust me adds a very nice flavour to the roast, along side prime rib, horseradish is a great partner on the side.

  9. So similar to what I’ve been doing after 20 years of trial and error. I dry age the roast in the refrigerator for 3-4 days (remove packaging and wrap in a cloth towel). I then sear the roast in a shallow layer of sprinkled salt. Start searing when the salt begins to smoke. I use a remote thermometer and roast at 225 degrees. Remove from oven at 129 degrees. Resting results in about 136 degrees inside. I always provide prepared horseradish on the side. So-o-o tender and juicy.

  10. Help!!! Due to some issues at the office……..I have learned I am going to have to cook prime rib for the office party this Friday. I have never cooked one before. The post was very helpful but I am worried and hoping someone will have suffestions and thoughts. I have 4 prime rib weighing 12lbs. each to cook. 1.Do I have to season them and let them sit before I sear them or can I season and sear right away (does it matter, I have been told to let it set for a couple of days for better flavor).
    2.We have 1 oven at the office but I also have 2 big white roasters, can I use them for the prime rib and still get a good flavor?
    3.If I am cooking all of these in the oven or a couple in each cooker how do I plan accordingly for the time to cook? Is it greatly increased since it is not just one roast? Can the prime rib touch eachother or do I have to make sure they do not touch?
    4.Do I baste them and look at them periodically to make sure they are cooking properly?

    I am a decent cook and can get around in the kitchen just fine but cooking prime rib is something I have never done and I have heard of a lot of people cooking it and then learning they overcooked it and it was dry. This is for the company Christmas party so of course I want it to be perfect or at least yummy and edible but not well done in the middle…..any and all help would be greatly appreciated!!!!

    • Hi, was wondering if anyone ever responded to your questions about the prime ribs you were cooking? I have the same issue and was wondering what if any answers you got.

      Thanks

  11. I made this for our Christmas Dinner this year. I was too afraid to try before, but your recipe gave me courage. It was delicious and tender! It made for a truly memorable Christmas Dinner. All of my family, children included, loved it. It will now be a tradition for us in the years to come. Thank you so very much.

  12. I AM MAKING PRIME RIB FOR EASTER DINNER TOMORROW, I HAVE SIX ADULTS THAT ARE HAVING PRIME RIB SO I BOUGHT A FIVE RIB, 10 LB. ROAST. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I AM PREPARING THIS AND LOOKING FORWARD TO MAKING IT. I PLAN TO USE YOUR RECIPE WITH A FEW HERBS ADDED AFTER BROWNING IT. I ALSO AM MAKING FILET MIGNONS FOR MY TWO GRANDCHILDREN (AGES 6 AND 8) AND MYSELF AS WE ENJOY THEM THE MOST. I AM PLANNING ON COOKING THE FILETS ON THE GRILL SO THE OVEN IS RESERVED FOR THE PRIME RIB ONLY. I’M JUST NOT SURE WHAT TO SERVE WITH IT, SOME OF YOU HAD MENTIONED HORSERADISH SAUCE OR SOMETHING MADE WITH HORSERADISH. I HAVE FRESH HORSERADISH AND I HAVE BOTTLED PREPARED HORSERADISH BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT. PLEASE HELP ME OUT. EVEN IF IT’S AFTER EASTER WHEN YOU SEE THIS, I COULD ALWAYS MAKE IT THE NEXT TIME. “IF THIS PRIME RIB COMES OUT OKAY AND I DO IT AGAIN” THANKS FOR ANY HELP YOU CAN GIVE ME.

  13. Can’t wait to make this… I am so happy to find this blog… Already saved this and definitely will make this in the near month… SO EXCITED!!! thank you

  14. I made this recipe with the bone but to be honest, if it has enough marble and outer fat, its better without it. I rub virgin olive oil on the outside and it never carries the taste of the oil. I then add the pepper and salt (plus a secret spice) and the oil allows it to stick nicely to the roast. Then I brown
    it in a pan, I have done the sear in the oven method way before this recipe and until you sear in the pan, you have no idea how different and better it will taste. Don’t be lazy. It doesnt take that much to brown in a pan. Just use a heavy spatula to turn it because if you use a fork you will defeat the searing process and allow the juices to escape. Slow baking at 250 or 225, again much different and better than recipes saying to cook higher. This roast can be more tender than filet mignon if you prepare it right.

  15. I am making this New Year’s Day – 2014. I am planning on serving with a red potato dish & a spinach salad with bacon dressing. Would love to hear what others here have served this delicious looking roast with. Thanks in advance..

  16. This is by far the best and most reliable of prime rib recipes. It is my go-to for company but sometimes I selfishly make it for just my family. I have the butcher remove the bones, tie them back on for cooking and use them later for making french onion soup. Delish!1538

  17. Am cooking 8.5 lb boneless for Easter. LOVED the pics & feel even more confident after reading these comments! Thank you so much! My dad is so excited we’re having something else besides ham this year…

  18. This is so easy and delicious! I never thought I could make prime rib, which is my family’s favorite meal but this recipe has made it so simple we can enjoy having it even when it’s not a holiday. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!

  19. I have never made prime rib before but would love to give it a try . I have only had it one time where I actually loved it. You recipe looks and sounds amazing jus wondering g how I manage to get lots of au jus because I like to dip the meat and some sides I it ????

  20. We have been preparing ALL of our beef and pork roasts in this fashion for six years or so now. I was a sceptic the first time we did this, with a prime rib; I was sold on the method four hours later after I had eaten far more of the best beef roast I’d ever prepared than most normal people could eat in one sitting.

    The BIG secret is….because the roast cooks the same despite the number of ribs – or how long it is – a seven-rib roast cooks in the same amount of time as a three-rib roast. So, buy big if you have a place to store the leftover beef.

    We cook all roasts this way; prime rib, rump roasts, bottom rounds, you name it. Pork loins cook the same way, and with today’s pork you can cook it medium-rare very safely. We shake a layer or salt, pepper and minced garlic onto a large cutting board and just roll the roast in it until it’s all been implanted into the roast. Brown the roast on all sides in a Dutch oven or kettle with half a cup of oil, then roast slowly to 120-125° just as the recipe says.

    Lay in the Tums. You may not be able to stop eating the meat, it comes out that good.

  21. Hi, I would love to try your method for prime rib roast! I’m planning to cook 2prime rib eyes (1- 5.540# and 1- 5.15#) for Christmas and cant quite figure out the cooking time per pound at the lower degree. Do I add the total pounds to calculate or do I use calculate it based on each separate??? Thanks!

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