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Perfect Prime Rib Roast- A Holiday Classic

Updated on December 11, 2018
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A Chef & World Traveler That Has Been Lucky Enough To Taste And Cook With Some Of The Best Ingredients Around The Globe. Time To Share.

Tender, moist & flavorful
Tender, moist & flavorful

What Exactly is Prime Rib??

Prime rib is a classic roast beef preparation made from the primal cut of beef, traditionally with the bone in. Personally, I prefer boneless Rib Eye Roast for the occasion as there is more meat per pound for purchase. The preparation is the same for both.

So what exactly is "Prime Rib?" The word "prime" is a legal term for beef that has been graded by the USDA. This means it can only be called "prime" if this particular primal cut is being served at a restaurant. If it is anything less than a primal cut of beef, it must be called standing rib roast. There are other cuts of beef that are used in the same preparation and are delicious, but they cannot be called "prime."

The amount of marbling, or intramuscular fat within edible sections of the meat determines whether or not the USDA will assign it primal cut of beef. The more marbling found, the higher the quality and grade of meat it is.

Examining the ribeye muscle, which is known as the longissimus dorsi between the 12th and 13th ribs are what determines the grade given. Another factor is the age of the animal. To be considered prime, the beef cattle must be 9 to 30 months old.

Age of the animal is directly related to it's tenderness. The younger the animals, the more tender the meat it will provide. Most animals used for the primal cut are younger than 24 months old. The chine bone or backbone is what is used to determine age.

Choosing The Perfect Roast

Look for a good amount of marbling
Look for a good amount of marbling

"Choice" rib, is the next option below Prime. This is what is sold in most markets so ask a butcher to ensure you are receiving the proper cut.

Choice Rib is still very delicious and tender, but if you are searching for true "Prime," call ahead.

A full prime rib, also known as a standing rib roast, has seven ribs, and normally weighs between 16- 18 pounds. The boneless Rib Eye Roast is another option with equal quality to choice.

Seasoning Your Rib

Season with good salt, coarse pepper, & herbs
Season with good salt, coarse pepper, & herbs

Knowing Temperatures is Half The Battle

Steak temperature guide
Steak temperature guide

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours 45 min
Yields: Feeds up to 40 people 4-6 ounces


  • 1- 17-18 pound Prime Rib Roast, Whole
  • 1 cup Dijon Mustard
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Black Pepper, Coarse
  • 2 ounces Dried Thyme, Chopped
  • 2 ounces Dried Rosemary, Chopped
  • 1 ounce Granulated Garlic
  • 1 pound Butter, Melted
  • 4 ounces Fresh Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Bunch Each Fresh Thyme & Rosemary, Chopped


  1. Let prime rib rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place whole rib on a large and sturdy roasting pan with roasting rack. In a mixing bowl, add the salt, pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary and granulated garlic. Mix well. Rub the entire prime rib with dijon mustard. Once is rubbed on thoroughly, coat it with the seasoning mix in layers.(Season all over the rib, rub it in, then season again, repeating until all the season is used and entire rib is coated evenly)
  2. Fat cap side up, place the rib in the oven uncovered. Pour the water into the pan and fill it up 3/4 of the way up. Close oven and roast for 1 hour. Using a meat thermometer, check the internal temperature inserting it, in the very center of the meat. It is not done, but knowing the temperature is very important to avoid over cooking. Close oven and set timer for 30 minutes. Check the temperature of the rib every 30 minutes from here on out until you reach desired doneness. Refer to the temperature guide. Rare, pull the rib out at 110 degrees F and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. Medium rare, pull the rib out at 120 degrees F and let it rest 20-30 minutes Medium- Pull it out at 130 degrees F and let it rest 20-30 minutes Medium well- Pull it out at 140 degrees F and let it rest 20-30 minutes Well done- Pull at 150 degrees F and let it rest. While meat is resting, in skillet over medium heat, melt butter with fresh herbs.
  3. After resting is complete, transfer to a cutting board, use a carving knife and slice thin in smooth forward & backward carving motions.Avoid "sawing" at it, as it could toughen the meat. Serve with herb butter, Hot Au Jus, Horseradish Cream Sauce or your favorite steak garnish.

Let It Rest Before Carving

Letting the meat rest is essential to maintaining the juices and moisture. Cutting the meat too soon will dry it out.
Letting the meat rest is essential to maintaining the juices and moisture. Cutting the meat too soon will dry it out.
5 stars from 1 rating of Perfect Prime Rib

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