How to Roast Prime Rib

By Nils Hoyum - May 26, 2010

Prime Rib Roast au Jus | Beef Recipes


4-5 servings



dish type


A prime rib roast is a standing rib roast of the highest quality. At least that's what it used to mean. The USDA's system for grading beef has eight categories. Prime is number one—the best. But the 2nd and 3rd—choice and select—aren't terrible either. As prime rib grew in popularity, someone had the brilliant idea to substitute choice rib for prime. Amazingly no one complained; probably because they didn't know. Well, these days, order a prime rib anywhere but at the most reputable steakhouses and you will most likely end up with choice or select rib. Ask the butcher or waiter, "Is this meat graded prime and can I see the USDA stamp?" Of course you should expect to pay a lot more for true prime, so be prepared. So here is my prime rib roast recipe.

Prime Rib Recipe: Seasoned with Sea Salt and Black Pepper Roasted Rare and Served with Wasabi and Jus

prime rib roast

1. Pick up a prime rib roast. Tracking down a prime standing rib roast proved to be quite difficult, at least with short notice. Several of the butchers in town could have gotten me a standing rib roast, but none had any prime rib on hand. I finally settled for a boneless prime rib roast. I asked for 4‒5 pounds of the middle section. I was a little disappointed that it was boneless, but at least it was prime. Let your roast set out for 4‒5 hours before you cook it so it can warm up. Room temperature meat cooks more evenly. About 30 minutes before you start cooking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. The prime rib recipe can be found located just to the right and up a bit. Also the recipe for the Jus and the Wasabi Dip.

prime rib ready to be roasted

2. Get the prime rib roast ready. First, tie up the roast with butcher's twine to keep the layers of meat from pulling apart during cooking using the instructions and photographs at the bottom of this page. Apply coarse salt and black pepper to the roast. I am not convinced at the effectiveness of smearing butter on the exposed flesh of the roast. It just melts off. I think lard, as in the French technique of barding, would be more effective. To the bottom of the pan, I add rosemary, parsley, green onion, and garlic. This is just to add flavor to the drippings.

roasting the prime rib

3. Roast the prime rib. Initially roast the prime rib at a high temperature, 450 F, for 25 minutes to convert some of the surface fat and crisp up the outside. Then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches your target (see the next step for exact temps). I add a cup of beef stock to the bottom of the pan at this stage. This helps with making au jus later. To best monitor the internal temperature as it roasts, use a digital thermometer with a probe that stays in while the prime rib cooks. Set the temp alarm for the desired doneness, and let it roast until the alarm goes off.

roast prime rib

4. Check the internal temperature of the prime rib. Use the following temperatures as a guide: Rare 120–125 degrees, medium-rare 125–135, medium 135–145, medium-well 145–155, and well done is overcooked. I take my roast out of the oven when it is about five degrees below the target temperature. It will keep cooking for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. Set the roast on a wire rack, and loosely cover it with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Some liquid will come out of the roast as it rests, so make sure to catch it to make the au jus. Slice thickly and serve with the au jus and wasabi dip. I hope you enjoy my prime rib roast recipe. Let me know how it went by emailing me

tieing a prime rib roast

5. How to tie a prime rib roast step 1. Cut a piece of butcher's twine long enough to go all the way around the roast, plus a little extra to make a knot. Tie the twine every 2 inches and one over the top all the way around.

a tied prime rib roast

6. How to tie a prime rib roast step 2. Tie each piece of twine tightly around the prime rib roast. Pull the twine snug but not super tight. Tie a double square knot and trim the excess.

Tips and Tricks

The rib roast itself is also from where we get rib and ribeye steaks. A true seven rib standing rib roast has a wide array of meat and meat qualities within it. The short or small end comes from the rear of the rib roast. It is right next to the strip or short loin, which is where New York Strips come from. So, as you may expect, the rib meat on that end closely resembles strip loin meat; it's leaner and not as round. As you move further up the roast closer to the neck, the meat gets more marbled and fatter. In my opinion the best rib meat will come from the middle of the roast.