The instructor of that particular class wasn’t terribly hands on and inevitably he would leave out much of the course instruction. He’d demonstrate and then leave the students to their culinary demise.
I had one chance to get it right so I paid attention. Very close attention. Making visual, mental notes of everything the instructor did to prepare his prime rib. Once he was finished and left the student groups to prepare their prime rib, I thought to myself, that’s it? It wasn’t nearly as complicated as I’d imagined. It wasn’t even nearly as scary as I’d imagined. It was in fact, rather simple.
I am happy to tell you I passed that day with flying colors.
How to Roast the Perfect Prime Rib
Roasting the perfect Prime Rib has a few important steps. Adhere to those steps and you are golden.
- Always purchase the freshest quality piece of beef. If you can find a prime rib roast from a local rancher with healthy ranching practices, that will be your best bet. I feel fortunate we have several local beef ranchers here in Oregon that raise quality beef.
- Plan on 1lb per person. A one “rib” prime rib roast usually feeds 2-3 people with several sides – so if you are serving the prime rib for 6-8 people, count on purchasing a 3-4 “rib” prime rib roast. Just remember, prime rib roast is one of the most expensive cuts of beef. I once purchased a 4 rib prime rib roast for $100. Yep, it was an expensive entree but it was for a very special family holiday. Definitely worth the celebration.
- The prime rib roast is a tender cut with natural separation between the “eye” and the fatty top layer. Some people tie kitchen twine around the prime rib between the bones to keep the two sections more secure. If I’m roasting a small prime rib I don’t tie it up, but if I’m roasting a 4 rib or more than I’ll usually tie between each of the bones. It’s not necessary, just optional if you want to get fancy with your prime rib.
- I like to have my butcher “French” the prime rib roast. This is where much of the rib meat is scraped off to create those lovely clean (Frenched) rib bones. You can certainly do this yourself, however, most market butchers are happy to do this for you.
- Always bring your prime rib to almost room temperature. If it’s been sitting in a cold refrigerator it will take at least 30 minutes to an hour to get to almost room temp. This will allow even cooking. Otherwise the center of the roast will take longer to cook and the ends may dry out.
- Make sure you have a reliable meat thermometer. This is key for the perfect Prime Rib Roast. Your roast will be done when the deepest central part of the prime rib reads 125F for rare and 130-135F for medium rare. Remember, once you take your prime rib out of the oven it will continue to cook for the next 5-10 minutes. I always take my prime rib out of the oven when the center reads 125F.
*Cooking times vary so here is a link that will give you a quick look at cook times.
If you let the temperature get any higher than 135F, you risk drying out your prime rib. If someone at your table prefers medium to medium well done beef, slice them an end piece or slice a piece and quickly pan sear on each side.
I love to serve my prime rib with Au jus, or a quick beef broth gravy (recipe below), horseradish sauce (also included) and of course, my daughters favorite, mashed potatoes. I love cooking something this special for the holidays but if you are looking for something more traditional, a perfectly roasted turkey is always a great option too!
Wishing you the happiest and most delicious holiday season!
- 4-6lb prime rib roast, about 2-3 ribs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup organic beef broth (I love the organic Beef Better than Bouillon)
- Dash of red wine (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Use a roasting pan with a rack if you can. If not, a deep baking or roasting dish will be fine.
- In a small bowl, mix together the herbs with the olive oil.
- Season the prime rib lightly with salt and pepper. About a teaspoon of each.
- Pat on the herb and olive oil mixture - all over the prime rib and in crevices if you can. Then carefully place the prime rib in the roasting pan bone side down. The prime rib will be on its side.
- Place in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Without opening the oven door, turn the heat down to 325F and let the prime rib continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 125F. I usually cook my prime rib about 15 minutes per pound. For more information about cook times, refer to the link above*.
- Once the prime rib is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest uncovered for about 10 minutes or up to 20 minutes before carving.
- Carve into slices and serve with your favorite sides.
- Serve with Au Jus (the juice from the prime rib) or beef broth gravy, horseradish sauce and of course mashed potatoes. I also like serving this meal with a spinach gratin or creamed spinach.
- Heat a sauté pan or skillet over medium heat and add the butter (or drippings from the prime rib). Just as the butter melts whisk in the tablespoon of flour. Makes 1¼ cup.