Slow Roasted Prime Rib of Beef
Prime rib is one of the most flavorful and tender cuts of beef you can eat. Prized for just how delicious it is, you'll often find yourself paying top dollar in a fancy bistro just for a taste of this succulent meat. But did you know it's actually not that difficult to make from home?
Slow roasted prime rib of beef at home is a simple and sumptuous meal you can make with just a little know-how and some elbow grease. You can even make it the star of your Christmas dinner. What do you have to do? What are you going to need? Is it really going to taste as good as what you can get at a restaurant? Let's find out as we explore an easy to follow recipe for roasting prime rib of beef from the comfort of your own home.
List of Materials For Roasted Prime Rib Recipe
Despite how delicious prime rib is and its reputation for high class dining, the materials you need to make it are actually pretty simple and easy to come by. You'll probably have most of them on hand already.
- Charcoal smoker.
- Chunk charcoal.
- Wood chunks or chips (details below).
- Smoker-safe roasting pan.
- Aluminum foil.
- Digital read thermometer.
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds.
- 2 stalks celery, quartered.
- 1 medium white onion, quartered.
- 2 cloves garlic.
- Good quality red wine.
- Unsalted sweet cream butter.
- Dried oregano.
- Fresh rosemary.
- Worcestershire sauce.
- Kosher salt or sea salt.
- Freshly ground black pepper.
- Beef prime rib roast (~8 lbs, trimmed and tied with butcher twine).
The right kind of wood can make or break a dish when you're smoking. While beef is a heartier meat that can usually stand up to heavier, richer smoke, you also want to be conscious of what you're cooking.
With prime rib, the best option is to let as much as the natural flavors of the incredibly tasty cut of meat to come through on their own, so a wood like hickory is likely too strong. A good option would be a mix of a sweet wood like apple with a still rich but less strong wood like mesquite.
Roasting the Ribs
Once you've gathered the necessary materials, you can finally begin work on your roast.
Step 1: Seasoning the Roast
To start, liberally salt and pepper your roast and allow it to set out at room temperature for a full hour. During this time, the temperature of the roast will rise slightly, leading to a more even cook and juicier cut of meat when you cook it. Applying the salt early helps to dry out the surface, too, making for a crispier and more flavorful crust.
For the best usage of your time, complete Step 2 during this time before returning to finish Step 1.
After the hour has passed, pat the surface of the meat dry and reseason as needed. Then, combine a teaspoon of oregano with a half teaspoon of rosemary along with two cloves of finely minced or crushed garlic, forming a paste that you'll then smear onto the outside of the roast.
Step 2: Prepping the Smoker
This step is best completed during the 1 hour wait with your meat, as mentioned previously.
The key to perfectly cooked meat when using a smoker is ample preheating time. About half an hour into your wait on the meat is a good time to begin. Fill your smoker with charcoal and light it, closing the lid to give heat a chance to build up. If you're using wood chips instead of chunks, start soaking them in hot water at this point, too.
By the time the meat has finished warming up, you should have some nicely smoldering coals. The target temperature is somewhere around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss on your wood and apply the grate to the smoker, being careful not to burn yourself or crush your fingers. Fill the water tank and close the lid again to let the smoke and humidity start to build while you finish seasoning your meat.
Step 3: Roasting the Beef Roast
Once your smoker has had a chance to do its thing, you'll finally be ready to roast your rib roast. Transfer the prime rib onto a smoker-safe roasting pan (a pan that can handle high temperatures for long lengths of time) fat side up. Place the pan on the top roasting rack of your smoker, close the lid, and let it cook.
The length of time it'll take for your beef rib roast to cook will vary, though with the temperature where it is and meat that size, it could last well up to six hours. Slow roasting is the best option. Monitor both the temperature of the meat as well as the amount of coals, wood, and water you have in your smoker, adjusting them as necessary to retain the smoker's heat at the optimal temperature.
About halfway through cooking, add your peeled carrots, stalks of celery, and onion to the roasting pan, cut as instructed. While you do this, take the chance to baste both your meat and vegetables with the juices collecting at the bottom of the pan. Work quickly to avoid letting out too much heat.
Step 4: Finishing the Beef Roast
Your meat will be done when it reaches a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a bit below medium rare, which is the optimal level of doneness for steak. When your thermometer reads this temperature at the thickest part of the meat, remove the roasting pan from the smoker and take the vegetables out, setting them in a vessel to keep warm before serving.
Now that your prime rib roast is alone, place it into an oven preheated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (you could also set your broiler to high). Allow it to cook for an additional 10 minutes, crisping up the outside and producing an amazing sear. Once you're done, the meat should have a temperature closer to 130 degrees or more.
Step 5: Resting the Roast
After your meat has finished browning, remove it from the pan and allow it to rest on a cutting board tinted loosely with aluminum foil for at least ten minutes. Resting the meat helps the protein fibers to relax, letting them reabsorb some of their lost juices and making for a more tender cut of beef. The temperature will rise a few more degrees, as well, finishing the cooking process.
Step 6: Making the Sauce For Prime Rib Roast
The worst sin a chef can commit is not taking advantage of a used pan. After cooking with the prime rib roast and vegetables, your roasting pan is covered in delicious meat drippings and caramelized bits of food called fond. Using these simple afterthoughts, we'll create a sauce for the meat that's almost as good as the meat itself.
Place the pan on the stove over medium heat, adding a cup of good quality red wine (a kind you would wish to drink) and half a cup of water (alternatively, you can use beef or chicken stock for extra flavor), scraping at the bottom with a spatula to lift up the fond and incorporate it into the sauce.
Add in a dash of Worcestershire sauce and whatever juices have accumulated during the rest process, and remember to season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have an extra sprig of rosemary or another fresh herb, add it to the sauce, too.
Cook off the alcohol for a few minutes and allow the sauce to thicken into a syrupy consistency, thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add in a chunk of butter (about three tablespoons) and melt it into the sauce to give it extra richness and flavor, as well as a glossy finish. Check the taste and add any more salt and pepper it might need before straining the sauce into a container for serving.
Step 7: Serving the Roast
When both the sauce and the roast have finished, it's time to eat. The best part about prime rib roast (aside from how it tastes) is that it's already pre-portioned for you. Just cut between each rib to make a serving, plating it up with a healthy amount of your roasted vegetables and a drizzle of the pan sauce across both. If you're feeling extra fancy, you can even garnish with a few sprigs of the herbs you used while making the sauce, too, for presentation.
To learn more about cooking ribs, check out this tutorial on How To Properly Cut Short Ribs, to better your technique:
Now you know just how simple it is to cook the perfect prime rib of beef in your own home. All it takes is a few quality ingredients, some time, and plenty of patience to have restaurant-quality goodness whenever you like. Add mashed potatoes and a salad and you're all set.
How was the recipe? Any tips on smoking prime rib you know? What's your favorite way to make a pan sauce? Tell us about it in the comments and don't forget to share this with a friend.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Prime Rib?
Prime rib is a classic preparation of beef and is well known for being served at large parties or holiday celebrations. The cut of beef itself is actually the ribeye roast and is cut from the seven ribs just before the loin. Sometimes it comes bone-in, and sometimes it comes boneless prime rib.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Prime Rib Roast?
The general rule of thumb with prime rib is to cook the roast 20 minutes per pound. An instant read thermometer should be inserted in the thickest part of the roast. Cook to 125 degrees F for rare, 135 degrees F for medium rare, or 145 degrees F for medium.
Should You Brine a Prime Rib of Beef?
Some people brine beef, but most do not. The beef is so flavorful on itself and has so much fat marbling that brining is not usually necessary. We recommend rubbing the prime rib with salt and pepper to season the meat. This also pulls the salt from the meat, concentrating the flavor and drying out the surface to get a good sear.
What Temperature Should You Cook Prime Rib?
Most people cook cook the prime rib at a low temperature, between 225 degrees F and 325 degrees F, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 115 degrees F. Then, the oven is increased to 400 degrees F to 550 degrees F to sear the meat. This finishes the roast with a nice caramelized sear.
How Much Prime Rib Do I Need Per Person?
When buying a large roast for a party or holiday celebration, you can figure one pound of raw meat per person. A 4-bone prime rib will feed eight or ten people, whereas a one-bone roast will feed two to three people.