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Our Perfect Prime Rib recipe takes a different approach than most other recipes you see online these days. But it’s a pro technique that results in a tender and juicy roast every single time!

How to cook Perfect Prime Rib - We share tips and tricks learned in culinary school so you can make perfectly cooked Prime Rib at home!

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Hi everyone – Jack here. I’d like to start off by suggesting that you forget everything you’ve learned about roasting a prime rib of beef.

In culinary school, two of the very first rules I learned were:

  1. NEVER salt a rib roast just before you put it in the oven to roast.
  2. ALWAYS cook the roast low and slow – and wait until the end to brown.

I know – this is completely counter to most other prime rib recipes these days, where experts have you start off by cooking the beef at a very high heat. But hear me out.

How to cook Perfect Prime Rib - We share tips and tricks learned in culinary school so you can make perfectly cooked Prime Rib at home!

Back in school, our class roasted four very large, steamship rounds of beef. (Those are the giant sub primal cuts of beef you see a chef carving at a restaurant buffet line, with a large bone sticking out the top.) With such expensive cuts of beef on hand, there is no way our teacher was going to teach us the wrong way to cook them.

The same principles taught to us then apply to large cuts of beef, as well as the smaller prime rib roasts you would make at home – or for that matter, any roasted muscle meat.

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First, we were taught to salt and season the roast the night before, and allow the roast to sit overnight, uncovered, under refrigeration. The salt draws out the moisture and then – only with time – it grabs the seasonings and infuses it back into the meat. (If you salt just before you roast, the same chemical reaction will happen, except the juices will be at the bottom of the pan, instead of in the roast where you want them to be.)

Second, always cook it low and slow – and wait until the end to brown. This guarantees the same doneness throughout, instead of the roast being red in the center and over-cooked towards the outer edge. If a prime rib roast is truly done right – only about 1/16th of an inch or so from the outer edge will be cooked more than the rest.

How to cook Perfect Prime Rib - We share tips and tricks learned in culinary school so you can make perfectly cooked Prime Rib at home!

Why you’ll love this Perfect Prime Rib recipe!

  • You’ll be following a time-tested, proven technique that yields professional results.
  • You can feel confident that your expensive holiday roast will be cooked to perfection.
  • The beef is cooked to a medium rare throughout – the ideal way to enjoy a prime rib dinner.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Beef Rib Roast – For the best results, choose a roast that says Prime on the label. Roasts can be sold with or without the rib bones protruding from the end. Either is fine for this recipe and it won’t affect the cooking method – just note that a boneless roast will cook faster than a bone-in roast.
  • Seasonings – You won’t need much more than kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus some olive oil that will help the seasonings stick to the meat.
  • Beef bones – Because this roasting method doesn’t leave much in the way of drippings (the juice stays in the meat), we like to roast off extra bones to make an Au Jus (a simple pan sauce) and Yorkshire Pudding. If you just want the beef by itself, you don’t need to purchase these.
  • Red wine – Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Sauvignon are all great options if you plan to make an Au Jus to serve with your prime rib. Most importantly, use a bottle you would enjoy drinking on its own!
  • Kitchen BouquetThis is a browning and seasoning sauce that enhances the color and flavor of gravies and sauces. It also acts as a thickener as well. Gravy Master is a popular substitute, but again, you won’t need this if you aren’t making Au Jus.

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Chef’s Tips:

  • If you’d like, ask your butcher to separate and tie back the bones – they will serve as the rack underneath the beef. Plus, the bones always add great flavor.
  • Also, a boneless roast will cook faster, so use the internal temperature as a guide.

Special supplies needed

Roasting Pan – You don’t need the metal rack insert unless you are cooking the beef by itself, without the extra bones.

Probe Thermometer – The only way to accurately tell when your roast is perfectly done is by taking the internal temperature. An inexpensive probe thermometer like this stays in the meat the entire time it roasts. Set the desired temperature on the gauge, and the alarm will go off when it’s done!

Chef’s Tip – Allow the meat to sit on the kitchen counter at room temperature for one hour before putting the roast in the oven. This will ensure even cooking.

How do I make a Perfect Prime Rib?

  1. Coat the beef with oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a platter, fat side up, and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator (the next day) and let rest on the counter for an hour.
  3. Roast the bones while the beef rests. (Do this about five hours before serving.)
  4. Place the roast on top of the bones, then roast until it reaches an internal temp of 125 degrees F.
  5. Transfer the meat to a platter to rest.
  6. Simmer wine, water, Worcestershire sauce, and browning sauce, along with the roasted bones, in a saucepan to make an au jus. After simmering, strain the liquid into a separate saucepan.
  7. Place the meat back in the oven to brown for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Rest the meat one more time before you slice and serve.
  9. Serve with hot Au Jus or our Creamy Horseradish Sauce.
Creamy Horseradish Sauce - A Family Feast

Chef’s Tip – If you prefer your roast to be served at medium doneness instead of medium-rare, remove it from the oven when the thermometer reads 130-135°F. As it rests, it will continue to cook until it reaches a perfect 135-140°F when served.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should prime rib be cooked covered or uncovered? For this prime rib recipe, we leave it uncovered.

Do I need to use a roasting rack? We place the meat directly on the roasted beef bones. If you plan to skip that part, you will need to place a metal rack inside your pan first.

Will this recipe work with a boneless roast? Yes! The cook time will be less, but the finished internal temp (125 degrees F) will be the same.

Do I remove the bones from the meat? No, they can stay in, and additional bones are used to create the drippings for Au Jus and Yorkshire Pudding. Just to clarify – this recipe can be followed for bone-in roasts, or boneless roasts. If the bones are removed, ask your butcher to save them for you to use underneath while roasting the prime rib.

How big of a roast should I buy for only two people? A one-bone roast would probably be enough. They are usually sold in larger cuts, so ask the butcher to cut one down to size for you.

I don’t have a meat thermometer. How long per pound? As noted above, a probe thermometer (like this) is the very best way for you to know when your roast is done. However – generally – plan for about 30 minutes per pound at 250 degrees F. You’ll also need an hour out of the fridge beforehand, and another half hour to rest after.

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What do I serve with Prime Rib?

You might enjoy these other roast beef recipes:

This 5-star recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in 2014.

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Perfect Prime Rib

  • Prep Time: 12 hours 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 hours 30 mins
  • Total Time: 17 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 3-rib bone-in Prime rib roast (about to 7 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 pounds beef bones including meat and fat, such as necks, chuck bones, etc. I found neck bones on sale as well as some fatty rib pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/3 cup red wine such as merlot
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon gravy color and seasoning sauce such as Kitchen Bouquette

Instructions

  1. Place the beef on a platter and coat with oil, salt and pepper and refrigerate uncovered overnight fat side up.
  2. Five hours before serving, heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. Pull roast from refrigeration and let sit at room temperature while you roast the bones and fat.
  4. In roasting pan place beef bones and fat, salt, pepper and oil and roast 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the bones and fat and roast 30 more minutes.
  6. Reduce the oven to 250 degrees F and leave oven door open so the oven cools down to this new setting.
  7. Remove pan from oven and place the garlic over the top of the bones then place the roast over that, fat side up.
  8. Insert a probe thermometer into the fattest part of the roast and set alarm temperature to 125 degrees F for medium rare.
  9. Our 6 ¼ pound roast took exactly 3½ hours to cook to an internal temperature of 125 degrees F. It will continue to cook outside of the oven to the proper medium rare doneness.
  10. Remove beef to a platter and cover loosely with foil for 20 minutes to rest, no less.
  11. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
  12. Place roasting pan with bones on stove top and add wine to deglaze.
  13. When wine has almost evaporated, add water, Worcestershire sauce and gravy color and simmer until liquid has reduced to about a cup to a cup and a half. Strain out solids and pour Au Jus into sauce pan to heat when needed.
  14. After the roast has rested for 20 minutes, remove probe and place roast back on roasting pan and into hot oven and brown for 15-20 minutes or until desired crispiness.
  15. Remove from oven, let sit five more minutes and carve.
  16. Heat Au Jus to hot and serve on the side or over the slices.
  17. Serve Creamy Horseradish Sauce on the side.
  18. With a three bone rib roast, three slices will have meat only and three will have bone in.
  19. One last note; your roast may or may not have the end of the rib bones protruding out of the end. Either way, no change to cooking method, just wanted to point out that it is sold both ways.

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    Comments

  • Jean Morse wrote:

    Doesn’t putting it back in the oven at a high temperature for 30-40 minutes cook the roast which will no longer be medium rare?

    • Jack wrote:

      Hi, first it’s 15-20 minutes to brown, not 30-40. And for that short short high temp browning session, the meat will not cook further. Instead it will stay medium rare and get a nice crust. Good luck.

  • Kathy wrote:

    I want to give this a test run prior to cooking for Christmas. I have what may be a dumb question. In step 4, you mention roasting the bones and fat – what fat are you talking about? Don’t you leave the fat cap on the prime rib for roasting? Also, exactly how do you roast the fat and bones (I know that is something that sounds simple, but I have never done it.) Thanks.

    • Jack wrote:

      Hi Kathy, this is Jack. There is no such thing as a dumb question, so no worries. If you look at the fifth ingredient in the ingredient list, it suggests that you purchase meat and bones “5 pounds beef bones including meat and fat, such as necks, chuck bones, etc. I found neck bones on sale as well as some fatty rib pieces”. This is what you roast first before placing the roast in the pan.

  • Vicky wrote:

    I serve standing rib every Christmas Eve and am never happy with the results because it doesn’t taste like a restaurant prime rib dinner. Every CE I threaten to never do this again, so, I’m going to do a trial run with a small one and see how it turns out. I usually make a 10lb roast, and I’m wondering if I have to make any adjustments other than roasting time? Thanks.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Vicky – The process will be exactly the same. The only difference with the prime rib that we cooked and the standing rib roast that you serve is that our roast has that end piece/bone cut off which requires us to roast it on a rack. And yes – the roasting time may be different (also based on the size of your roast). Hope that helps – and we hope you enjoy our recipe! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

  • Shannan wrote:

    Thank you so much for this recipe. This is how several of the restaurants I’ve worked for made theirs as well. Quick question though. After refrigeration overnight, do you bring it to room temp before placing on the bones and fat in the pan or go direct from chilled?

    • Jack wrote:

      Wow, excellent question. Shannan, this is Jack. I can’t believe I forgot to mention that in the recipe. Yes, you need to pull the meat out and let it sit at room temperature while you roast the bones, which would be an hour at room temperature. I’m going in right now and edit the cooking instructions. Good catch and thank you!

  • Barbara wrote:

    Roasted my first prime rib a couple of years ago. I was TERRIFIED. The method was similar to what you’ve described, low and slow with the high heat at the end. The exception being seasoning and letting sit overnight in refrigerator (a dry aging of sorts, yes?). I’m going to try that this year. Thanks for the cooking lesson!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Barbara – we hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Lisa wrote:

    I usually have turkey for Thanksgiving, Ham for Christmas and I hate to admit it but I don’t usually celebrate New Years but I think this year I will throw a dinner party and serve prime rib. My husband and I love it but I have never made it. So… Thank you so much for the recipe and instructions. I will follow them faithfully and expect a WONDERFUL result.

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you enjoy the recipe Lisa and it’s a great menu addition to your party!

  • Nancy | The Bitter Side of Sweet wrote:

    I am somewhat shy of cooking prime rib but you have done a great job in teaching us! Thanks!

  • Angie | Big Bear’s Wife wrote:

    We actually have Prime Rib on our bucket list! We were going to make one the other weekend and time slipped away. Yours (Jack’s) turned out perfectly. Loving the color that you got on it!

  • Nutmeg Nanny wrote:

    Prime rib is my favorite! We always make it on Christmas but never think to make it any other time of the year. Of course now I’m craving it like something fierce!

  • Kim Beaulieu wrote:

    I love prime rib and this one is beyond perfect. Nothing better in the world. And kudos on working with Wolf . That’s my dream oven one day. I covet it and have photos of it on my dream board. One day I will own one.

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