The Perfect Prime Rib Recipe

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

prime-rib-4

Every year my mother makes a prime rib roast for Christmas dinner.  It’s tradition.  And, every year that prime rib causes some kind of drama.  That’s tradition too.  Apparently, prime rib is fickle.  There’s something about it that just seems to defy consistency.   My mother always prepares it the same way, and while it often turns out great,  sometimes it’s overdone, and other times it just doesn’t seem to want to cook at all.  The rest of the family has started an annual “prime rib pool”, taking bets each year on which way the prime rib will sway.  Let me tell you, having a prime rib roast that misbehaves on Christmas doesn’t make for pleasant dinner conversation – especially at my mother’s table.  The rest of us couldn’t care less. Overdone or underdone, it always still tastes good.  But, Mom spends the rest of the meal obsessing over it and analyzing every little thing that could have gone wrong.   That’s how she rolls.  And, that’s why I’ve never attempted a prime rib – until now. 

The supermarket where I shop has one of those butcher display cases.  This is where you’ll find the organic, grass-fed, dry-aged and generally “fancier” cuts of meat.  A real live meat guy works the counter, and you can ask him for special cuts or just bombard him with meat-related questions.  Last week as I was strolling by, I saw some standing rib roasts in the case. This was a rarity.  Usually, these have to be ordered in advance.  You almost never just find them like that.  They were gorgeous, too!  Plus, they were were the perfect size for a small family – about three or four ribs each.  Those fleshy, beautifully-marbled slabs of beef were were strutting their stuff, begging be taken home -  daring me to break the prime rib curse that had plagued my family for years!

Never one to shy away from a challenge, I bought a five pound roast and went on my merry way.  Now, all I had to do was figure out the best way to cook it.

prime-rib-1

While doing some research, I found a rather lengthy and detailed treatise on cooking a perfect prime rib at Serious Eats.  Usually, I pass those types of articles right on by.  I mean, who has the time to even read one, much less follow all of the numerous painstaking  steps involved?  But, we were talking about prime rib here.  PRIME. RIB.  With the holidays looming, I owed it to my family to conquer that sucker.   Besides, if I pulled it off I would be a hero -  a cooking ninja – a kitchen goddess!   Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I saw accolades.

The SE article promised a deep brown, crispy, crackly crust on the outside, with a consistently juicy, deeply pink,  medium-rare interior.  It eschewed searing and embraced a “low and slow” method of roasting, followed by a blisteringly hot blast at the end.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  I didn’t have anything to lose, except a ridiculously expensive piece of meat, so I decided to give it a try.

As recommended, I let my roast “air dry” uncovered in the fridge overnight.   I seasoned it very simply with salt, pepper and some dry mustard.  Then, I set it in a 200 F. degree oven and went shopping with Mini SGCC for about four hours.  When I came home, the roast’s internal temperature was 125 F. – exactly where I wanted it to be.  I removed the meat and let it “rest” for half an hour while I let the oven fire up to to a toasty 550 F., and prepared the rest of the meal.  The final step towards prime rib nirvana involved sticking the roast back into that oven inferno and praying that it didn’t incinerate.

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So, what do you think?  Looks pretty close to perfect to me.   And, it was so tender that you could almost cut it with a fork!  Like buttah!

I’m volunteering to make the prime rib for dinner this Christmas.   I just hope that Mom doesn’t feel too badly when I knock everyone’s socks off.  Smile

Now, if I could only come up with a way to deal with all of that icky fruitcake we end up with every year!

prime-rib-3

 

57 responses to The Perfect Prime Rib Recipe

  1. On October 04, 2011 at 12:38pm, Wendy said...

    Looks lovely, another recipe to add to my folder, thanks.

  2. On October 04, 2011 at 12:40pm, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    I am glad you did this. If I end up making Christmas dinner again I was thinking of doing a rib roast. You have given me major inspiration!

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:05am, Susan said...

      Glad to hear it, Rachel! :)

  3. On October 04, 2011 at 1:15pm, Rosa said...

    This meat is cooked to perfection! So droolworthy.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. On October 04, 2011 at 3:51pm, Mary Kay@JustforCooking said...

    This looks so good! I have been making Tyler Florence’s recipe for the past few years. It comes out great. But you have to turn the oven off in the middle and you can’t open it. If you don’t have a double oven (I don’t), then that can be a problem if you are making a big dinner. I think I will try your recipe this year. I have to remember to bookmark this. BTW – can you Fedex some of that over to me tonight? LOL – MK

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:06am, Susan said...

      Sorry! Mr. SGCC polished off every last bite! :)

  5. On October 04, 2011 at 3:55pm, Suzy said...

    Oh this looks wonderful. I’ve been using Paula Deen’s recipe for Prime Rib Roast, but, like others, you can’t open the oven during the cooking/resting period. It also never got the seriously brown and crispy crust like this one. I think I’m going to need to change my recipe!!! Can’t wait for Christmas!

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:10am, Susan said...

      That short, hot blast at the end is apparently what give it the crust without overcooking the meat. Just letting it sit in the oven seems like it would dry out the meat. I’m no expert, but this method really worked great for me. :)

  6. On October 04, 2011 at 4:36pm, Robin said...

    Interesting. My family recipe does it exactly backwards…a short blast in the high heat (which usually sets off the smoke alarms) followed by the long, slow roast at low heat. It comes out looking pretty much like the one pictured, and juicy, and tender as can be.

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:15am, Susan said...

      Lol! I have the same issue with the smoke alarms. The SE article specifically talks about how searing first rather than last affects the meat. But, if it works for you, go with it. :)

  7. On October 04, 2011 at 5:28pm, Anna said...

    I did something very very close for Thanksgiving a few years back except instead of the mustard I coated the roast in a crust of salt/pepper/coffee/vanilla bean. I think I got it from Gourmet? Oh my, it was amazing. No one missed the turkey. Yours looks cooked to perfection!

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:15am, Susan said...

      Sounds great! I love coffee rubs on beef!

  8. On October 04, 2011 at 6:47pm, Stacy said...

    This looks so delicious! My family would love to eat it, the next family dinner will be fun to make this and as always i’ll be wearing my sugarbaby apron. For a cute apron go to http://www.sugarbabyaprons.com and pick one out that you would like.

    Have a great day and Thanks!

  9. On October 04, 2011 at 10:56pm, Gloria said...

    Greetings, a blogging buddy found this on Pinterest, so I re-pinned it. Thanks for sharing! I do have something to ask though: Please don’t do it, Don’t take Christmas Dinner away from your Mom! You will be infringing on her ‘Mom always cooks Christmas dinner tradition’ territory! If you want to make this delicious prime rib, then tell your Mom that you will walk her through making it on Christmas Day. Just TELL her what to do, let HER do the actual work. This way SHE will get the accolades. On the other hand, if she has been a ‘mean’ mother to you, then you should do it yourself and keep the accolades for yourself. :)
    Best,
    Gloria

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:29am, Susan said...

      Don’t worry, Gloria! My story was written mostly tongue-in-cheek. I would never disrespect my mother that way! We all usually have our individual assignments for Christmas dinner, and the meal is a collaborative effort. Mom will continue to make the prime rib, but she says that this year we’ll try it my way. :D

  10. On October 04, 2011 at 11:04pm, Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen said...

    Perfect is the accurate word.

  11. On October 05, 2011 at 12:10am, am said...

    wow…just wow.

    on the fruitcake…fruitcake bread pudding?

    fruitcake milkshakes.

    fruitcake chopped into rum ice cream.

    • On October 05, 2011 at 8:30am, Susan said...

      Fruitcake milkshakes? Love that! :D

  12. On October 05, 2011 at 1:44am, Frieda said...

    Woot! Congratulations! And yes, you should make it for Christmas and every Christmas! Like you, I did a lot of research and have baked prime rib for two family Christmas parties and even in June for a family gathering. (http://www.friedalovesbread.com/2010/06/prime-rib-in-june-yes.html)

    Get ever so friendly with your local butcher and have him trim the bone almost all the way off and tie it up for you ~ they’ll do it for a wink and a smile!

  13. On October 05, 2011 at 8:33am, Susan said...

    Fortunately, my cousin is a butcher, and he always goes out of his way to get us a gorgeous (and huge) rib roast for the Holidays. :)

  14. On October 05, 2011 at 11:26am, Emily said...

    This is completely drool-worthy!

    On the fruitcake front, Alton Brown’s recipe is amazing. I’ve made it for three years in a row, and stock up on the plethora of dried fruits at Trader Joe’s.

  15. On October 05, 2011 at 11:32am, Michelle said...

    This is my favorite meal, I swear!!! I could go for some right now. Ill will try your recipe :)

  16. On October 10, 2011 at 8:35pm, gail said...

    found you on pinterest too! gotta love that site. so glad you conquered the prime rib. looks like a great recipe. i can’t grill a steak to save my life, but i have made prime rib a few times and always had great results. i’ll have to try this recipe this year. glad i found your blog.

  17. On October 16, 2011 at 9:36pm, patsy said...

    Now that is an impressive prime rib! I’d love to be at the table when you serve this one!

  18. On December 20, 2011 at 12:11pm, Faith said...

    It’s looks beautiful….great job! Last night I made one for our friends and I went to the Lawry’s site…famous for being the house of prime rib in LA…the Rose Bowl players eat there every year…anyway…they said to layer rock salt on the bottom of the pan then just salt the roast fat side up with Lawry’s seasoning salt (of course but it is good!) then you can use a rack over the salt or I just used the ribs and stood them on foil strips…roast at 350 degrees till 130 degrees on meat thermometer for rare or 140 for medium, which works out to 20-25 min. A pound….it was great! I think the salt is a tenderizer, I don’t know, or maybe it attracts the heat so it cooks from the outside in…no clue, but was definitely best I ever made…they also share their Whipped Horseradish Cream recipe ther, made with whipping cream, horseradish, seasoning salt and a little Tabasco…it came out great too…little a little snowball that melted on the meat….yummy!

  19. On October 04, 2012 at 7:00pm, Tara said...

    Yum yum, we have a prime rib every Xmas , well one year we decided to have it for Easter, an me an my sister inlaw was going to cook it, ( mom does all the cooking ) I had met a nice guy at the dog park, an he was going to be alone for Easter so I had invited him, that was my first mistake. Did I tell ya we all had just moved from NJ/ NY to Georgia 6 months earlier, that was really my first mistake. Ok so mom was going to relax an we were ready to cook, but my sister came with pink lemon aid martini with sugar rim glasses, that was my 2 mistake, the guy I had invited came with apple cider moon shine 3 mistake ( being it was the first time to ever have either) well they went down just a little to easy, an before you knew it mom who never drinks was passed out on the couch, it seemed this was the kind of drink that everything is fine then all the sudden it’s like bam to the back of your head like getting hit with a bat, well you could of stuck a fork in me an my sister inlaw, cause we were done, the rib was raw not rare raw, the mashed potatoes were paste you could of hung wall paper with them, the string bean casserole, what string bean casserole it never made the oven, the salad was good, so were the dinner rolls, as long as you cut the black bottoms off. That was 7 years ago, since then we had have prime rib every christmas and everything made it to the table on time an cooked to its perfection, just like mom has done for the past 46 years, as for me an my sister inlaw, we got 1 glass of wine an clean up duty. P.S. never seen that guy from the dog park again, lol he didn’t even stay for desert, we still laugh about that Easter, an soon we will be asking mom what are we having for Christmas, she tells us don’t worry about what we are having don’t even come near the kitchen, lol she is going to try this recipe,

  20. On October 05, 2012 at 2:20pm, Mori said...

    Did you put the roast directly from the fridge into the oven? Only (and best tip) I’ve found that makes prime rib perfect every time is to allow the roast to come as close to room temp as you dare before putting it in the oven. It will get to your desired temp faster, but will have the overall pink without the overdone outside. We usually do a 7 rib, 14 to 16 pound roast for Christmas dinner in my family and allow it to sit on the counter 3 or more hours before placing in the oven.

  21. On October 28, 2012 at 11:43pm, Sally said...

    Bought an 11+ # roast, but ended up having to cut it into two parts. I guessed the part we had tonight was around 4#. I guessed again at the timing, and in spite of my guesses, it turned out perfectly cooked. I hope that holds true for the other part, which I plan to cook if we have power post Sandy. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. On November 16, 2012 at 7:43pm, Mo said...

    I have a 12 pound prime rib and was wondering if your 4 to 6 pound cooked 4 hours to get to the temp, how many hours will it take for a 12 pound prime rib. Is there a rule, so many more minutes per pound. thanks

  23. On November 20, 2012 at 11:50am, Vic said...

    Been doing a prime rib on Christmas day for years, and had the same problem. Stumbled on your method last year on another site. The results were perfect, restarant quality beef. I will never cook it any other wat, Fantastic!!

  24. On December 10, 2012 at 10:32am, Desiree said...

    Can I ask would the same temperatures stay true for making a 16 pound roast?

  25. On December 16, 2012 at 7:35pm, Amy said...

    We just finished eating the Prime Rib we made using this recipe and all I have to say is delicious! We have been searching for the perfect recipe for years and it’s always the same story – too rare or tough and over cooked, not this time absolutely perfect!

  26. On December 17, 2012 at 12:20pm, Iowadonna said...

    I do a rib every Christmas. Use salt pepper & ground thyme.
    Room temp when placing into 500 degree oven for 10 min. Then turn down to 350.
    It’s about 17 min per lb. I do use meat thermometer
    This was in Bon Appetite ~1980. Never fails

  27. On December 21, 2012 at 11:45am, Heather said...

    I’m totally trying this for Christmas dinner!

    Try regifting the fruitcake by cutting it into cubes and dipping it into dark chocolate. Repackage and act like a genius.

  28. On December 22, 2012 at 12:38pm, Mimi said...

    Could this method be done with a less spendy roast? I am terrible with roast beef. It always comes out tough. I might as well serve shoes with horseradish sauce for dinner, less work and same result.

  29. On December 25, 2012 at 4:44pm, Lori Burt said...

    Made this for Christmas today!! It was awesome. Thank you!

  30. On December 25, 2012 at 7:38pm, Betsy said...

    Just cleaned up…delicious!!!! Perfectly cooked, after I put it back in, we found the 125 temp to be too raw for us. Thanks for sharing!

  31. On December 25, 2012 at 8:46pm, Phyllis Kirigin said...

    At long last, this is it. Works perfectly. At first I thought a 200 degree oven sounded too low, but it’s not. And taking it out at 120 degrees is perfect, too. Then putting it back into a 500 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes gave the perfect result, pink all the way through yet browned and crispy on the outside, AND it was soooo tender. Everyone said it was the best prime rib they had ever had. I thank you so much. I will do it this way every time (which has been only once a year). Otherwise we would have to take out a second mortgage on the house.

  32. On December 26, 2012 at 4:13pm, Roxanne said...

    Just make sure you use a “metal” roasting pan and not a “glass” pyrex pan. High heat such as 500 degrees could possibly crack or explode the glass pan. Just a word of caution.

  33. On December 26, 2012 at 9:33pm, Mskeys11 said...

    I will be trying this recipe very soon

  34. On December 28, 2012 at 2:06pm, Rosemary Sampson said...

    Hi Susan!
    Just needed to let you you know that I’ve never cooked an prime rib roast! Thank you thank you! I followed your recipe and it came out superb!! My family loves meat and cooked to perfection. I let it air dry the night before and the next day put in. 200 degree oven for four hours while we went to Christmas Day Movie, Les Miserable’
    Came home took it out and let it rest for about 45 mins. The rest is history!! We’ll be having prime rib every Christmas now! So simple and easy…thanks again…Happy New Years… I’ll be sure to continue to follow your recipes thru the year:):)

  35. On January 06, 2013 at 9:22am, Beth said...

    Just made this dish for a late Christmas/Bday dinner. It was perfect! Served with a creamy horseradish sauce! Thanks.

  36. On January 13, 2013 at 10:21pm, David D said...

    I made this last night (1-12-2013) Everyone loved it!
    10 lb prime rib with ribs tied on bottom.
    225 degrees for 4.5 hours. Pull out and set on top of oven to rest for 1.5 hours. Heat oven to 500 degrees and put back in oven for 15 minutes for a nice crust. Perfect medium rare. Moist and fork tender.

    I also seasoned it the night before with olive oil, onion and garlic flakes, salt, pepper And a little Yoshidas sauce. I let it sit in the fridge overnight, and pulled out 2 hours before cooking to get closer to room temp.
    Served it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Delish!

  37. On March 03, 2013 at 2:35pm, Ken Topham said...

    Thank you so much for a perfect tutorial! When I said I was doing a Prime Rib for Sunday my sister gave me the eye roll and when I elaborated on the steps she said it would not work and we would have raw meat. I told her I knew exactly what I was doing and felt the chill and disbelief coming from her all the way through the 4 hours. When I set it out to rest she even made fun of my “cold meat” and said we needed to be ready to go out and eat. Well I wish I could post the pic of my beautiful and PERFECT Prime Rib AND. The look on her face when I sliced it up! She even said it was better than what you get in any of the restaurants. Love it when I’m right (and she’s wrong) xox

  38. On April 01, 2013 at 6:24am, Tammy said...

    Right off the bat…. I’d like to say to Ken… “KUDOS TO YOU!!!” Love you story!
    I cooked my first Ribeye Roast for Easter following your directions, (I modified it a bit) and I must say, “I really outdid myself!” It was PERFECT! I used the advise of another Pinner and made an au jus with 12 oz beer, 16 ox water, and an envelope of Onion Soup Mix. It was out of this world! I also used Montreal Steak Seasoning and garlic podwer on the outside of roast.
    Follow these directions, and you’ll end with a roast that will impress, well, even a skeptical sister!
    Thank you for sharing your expertise, Susan!

  39. On May 13, 2013 at 12:16am, Mary said...

    I have not tried this recipe but have used Paula Deen’s with great success. It does not dry out while sitting in the oven. I had never made Prime Rib before and her recipe was great. It does get crusty enough for me .

  40. On November 16, 2013 at 5:57pm, Vicky said...

    I came across your recipe on Pinterest, and I am so like your mom!! I break out into a heavy sweat and vow to NEVER EVER roast a rib roast for Christmas Eve!! When you’re roasting a hunk of meat of that magnitude and price[150 +] you want it to roast PERFECTLY! Five more weeks until I renew my vow!! :}

  41. On November 22, 2013 at 11:31am, Kathy Schmidt said...

    I’ve been using Anne Burrel recipe for the past few years with great success. It starts off in high heat and then turned down to 200 degrees. Another thing she suggests is to dry age in the refrigerator. I’m looking forward to another Christmas with Prime Rib on the table or should I make Beef Tenderloin?

  42. On December 09, 2013 at 11:39am, Heather said...

    I do my prime rib a bit different. I use a rub of sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, garlic and onion powders. I start by letting the roast warm up a bit on the counter(aprox an hour and a half). Then placing it on a meat rack and into a 400° oven for 30min, then 250° for a few hours. I always use a wireless probe thermometer and take it out 10° before it’s done ( for carry over cooking). It always comes out perfect. I got my recipe from a local steak house

  43. On January 21, 2014 at 10:48am, Arlene M said...

    Grass fed beef would not be the ideal choice for rib roast. Corn fed beef would be my choice. We had Angus choice rb roast for Christmas and it was perfect.

    • On February 24, 2014 at 1:45pm, Big Meat said...

      never having seared a prime rib, I was nervous. Most recipes call for the searing up front rather than on the back end. Normaly I bake at 250F but took a leap of faith at 200F. I pulled it at 127F and allowed it to rest, tented, for 30 min. The temp rose to 137F and then put it back in @ 550F.10 min later 139F when I pulled it out for carving. By far the best prime rib Ive ever had. I use a salt,horseradish,thyme , rosemary etc rub/paste crusted prime rib) recipe. I think the moral of the story is start with the highest quality meat and ingredients and they’ll be no regrets.

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  46. On April 18, 2014 at 10:34am, Else said...

    I used this recipe at Christmas 2013 and my Prime Rib was PERFECT. My supermarket had prime rib on special this week for Easter ( go figure ) I used the recipe again last night, again PERFECT. I had years of cooking it the opposite way with the high heat first, this works better! The texture of meat is just right ,juicy pink but not rubbery . Don’t hesitate to try this recipe! ( I adjust recipe to 225 because I know my oven is a little slow, so if that is true for you too adjust accordingly)

  47. On April 20, 2014 at 12:03pm, Tessa said...

    Hello, all is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing
    information, that’s genuinely excellent, keep up writing.

  48. On April 21, 2014 at 3:43pm, J. said...

    If you want this to be dry, losing moisture, be sure to salt it. Otherwise, save the salting until after it has cooked.

  49. On July 12, 2014 at 2:11pm, Rick Friedman said...

    It was perfect! I’ve been roasting prime rib roasts for over twenty years using all different methods. None of them ever came close to the Prime Rib served at Lawry’s in Beverly Hills. I did make a few modifications: I bought an 8 lb roast, rinsed and patted it dry and heavily coated all the fat with a combination of Lawry’s seasoned salt and McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Steak rub. Then – uncovered – I put it in the refrigerator to air dry for two days. The meat looked gross when I took it out (dry & reddish). I left it out for three hours to come to room temperature, then I lightly sprinkled the meat portions with more seasoned salt and followed the rest of your cooking instructions. While I waited for it to “get crusty” in the high heat finish, I made “au jus” using a packet of Lawry’s au jus gravy – I took a little bit of it and mixed it with about a tablespoon of flour, then poured that back into the gravy (to thicken it) and ladled it over each serving. The result: It was Lawry’s Prime Rib at home!

2 pings to The Perfect Prime Rib Recipe

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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