When it comes to a foolproof prime rib recipe, I like to keep things simple; although, that would go for just about any steaks I cook. I use salt and pepper; other than that, it’s all about the timing and temperature. Prime rib is one of those few recipes that I feel that I’ve perfected and made my own. After multiple tries, I finally found a foolproof recipe that makes the perfect rare to medium-rare prime rib.
Now, I’d like to say that this recipe came from love, but it didn’t – it came from the Great Allen Fight of 2008. It involved the hubby’s momma’s recipe that didn’t work out, an argument, tears, and me vowing to never cook prime rib again. About 5 years later, I attempted prime rib (again), but I didn’t follow momma’s recipe in regards to cooking time and temperature. At the time, I lived next to a restaurant and became friends with the head chef, Chef Danny (now Head Chef at Lidia’s Kansas City). He gave me pointers on cooking a foolproof prime rib and handed me my first cooking thermometer. With a thermometer in hand, Chef Danny told me I couldn’t fail at getting the perfect cook. With his directions and my new-to-me thermometer, I eventually narrowed down how to cook the best tasting prime rib.
What if the Prime Rib isn’t at the Right Temperature When I Take it out?
First off, breathe. Namaste.
Cooking the perfect prime rib can be stressful, but if you take it out of the oven and it’s not at the right temperature, don’t stress. You can put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and check the temperature again. Don’t believe the naysayers, you’re not going to ruin the meat. In my many attempts of cooking prime rib and getting to the point of finding the right timing in this recipe, I often found myself pulling the prime rib out and it being 10 degrees under temperature. Am I going to just throw in the towel and call it ruined? Never. That cut of meat is expensive, and I’m going to eat it, regardless.
Just stick it back in the oven for 10 more minutes, pull it out, and test the temperature again. No stress cooking is the best – learn from my mistakes, don’t stress yourself out over prime rib.
If you weigh your prime rib beforehand, the recipe below should be pretty on-point with getting the perfect temperature. If you’re at 4.5 pounds, factor that extra .5 pound into the cooking time to make sure you cook it to the correct temperature. Obviously, a cooking scale works best for weighing out the precise weight.
Don’t have a cooking scale? Hopefully, you have a scale to weigh yourself in the house, somewhere? If that scale happens to measure in decimals, then you’re good to go. Stand on the scale and weigh yourself; then, stand on the scale with the meat and get the difference to get the meat weight. Not as accurate, but it works in a pinch (always use sanitary methods of carrying the meat from the kitchen to the scale, or bring the scale to the kitchen).
Why Cut the Meat Away from the Ribs?
First off, cutting the bone away ahead of time makes it easier to pull the bone away after the prime rib is cooked. Keeping the bone with the meat gives it extra flavor. We have an amazing apple-brined pork chop recipe that the husband actually messed up completely from the original recipe, but became the best mistake ever. This same recipe does not taste the same with boneless pork chops. We did a side-by-side comparison with family and everyone enjoyed the pork chops brined with bone-in much better than the boneless pork chops. Lesson learned, cook meat with bone-in, if possible.
What to do with the bones afterwards? The hubby likes to chew on the meat between the bones, but you could also save them for the dogs or use them for broth.
How Do You Truss Prime Rib Back to the Bone?
When you cut the prime rib away from the bone, you need to truss it back together – meaning, you need to tie it back to the meat so it holds together during the cooking process. There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to truss meat, just find your favorite – mine is below. A good pointer when trussing meat is to pull out enough kitchen cooking twine to get the job done – pull out more than needed – that way, you don’t get the rest of the twine tainted with the raw meat. If there’s any long strands leftover, just cut them off.
Why is Prime Rib So Special?
It’s expensive, hard to cook, but oh, so tasty. Why does this particular meat have such a big reputation? Prime rib is what ribeyes are cut from; so, if you’ve ever given your tongue the pleasure of tasting a ribeye and thought you were in heaven, you know why prime rib is as yummy as it is. With that said, prime rib is actually a roast of ribeye steaks. Cooked rare to medium-rare, it makes this cut of meat absolutely amazing.
Sliced, you can see that prime rib has a beautiful round piece of meat that is surrounded by fat. That fat is fat-marbled-muscle that is barely used in the animal, but because of that, it adds an incredible flavor to the round piece of meat you see and all of the meat around it. I’m not a fan of eating fat (but I definitely cook with it), so that round piece of meat is my favorite, but the hubby loves all of it… I suppose it depends on the eater’s preferences.
Prime Rib Cooking Tips
- NEVER cut the fat away. The bone and the fat add a lot of flavor to the prime rib. If you don’t like fat – I feel ya – that’s fine, cut it away AFTER it’s cooked. If you get your meat from a butcher, make sure to ask him/her to keep the fat on the meat.
- Salt and pepper is all you need to flavor a prime rib, but know it’s a BIG hunk of meat, so having a nice, thick crust of salt and pepper is best.
- The prime rib should not be touching the pan it’s being cooked in. Have it lifted up, and let the grease drain away. The grease is perfect for your au jus sauce.
- Prime rib is almost always cooked rare to medium-rare. I know, I used to be a fan of well-cooked meat too, but this recipe will likely change your mind.
- Au jus is a literal translation from French to mean “with juice” (for those of us grammar geeks, that means you wouldn’t say “…do you want that with au jus?” because that’s like saying, “…do you want that with with juice?”). It’s basically a gravy, so if you’re worried about the calories, skip the au jus.
- Because I’m a wild food cook and this particular recipe is a beef recipe, I suppose it’s best to say that the best cut of any beef meat comes from your local beef farmer. If you have to, store bought beef will work, though. If you’re going to do store bought, try to find a local butcher and have them help you decide on the best piece of prime rib. Ask him/her questions about recipe tips and learn a bit about the meat you’re about to cook. Your butcher should be able to cut the bone away for you and tie it back on, saving you a bit of time.
Prime Rib Recipe
- 3-4 lb Prime Rib
- Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp Worcestershire
- 1/2 cup Red Wine
- 1 Shallot Diced
- 1 cup Beef Broth
- 2 1/2 tbls Horseradish Add more if you want more heat
- 1 tbl Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- Cut the rib bones away from the meat. You can cut them completely away, but I usually cut the majority off, and leave a bit still attached. You can ask your butcher to do this for you, as well.
- Tie the rib bones back to the meat with kitchen cooking twine. If you've never done this before, look up a great YouTube video for trussing meat - I mention my favorite video above.
- Generously, salt and pepper the entire prime rib. You're looking for a nice, thick salt and pepper crust, so feel free to use plenty. You can add the salt and pepper up to 24 hours in advanced if you like.
- Approximately 3 hours before cooking time, set the prime rib out on a clean surface to bring it to room. Prepare to
- Preheat the oven to 500ºF.
- Spray the bottom of a roasting pan with oil, and then add the prime rib on top of the roasting pan shelf, bone side down and fat side up (don't use foil, just cook the prime rib directly in the pan on the rack so you get the drippings in the bottom to make your au jus later). Once the oven is heated up, slide the pan in the oven and close the door. From here on out, you're not allowed to open that oven door. No peeking.
- Cooking times at 500ºF are 5 minutes per pound, so a 3 pound prime rib would be cooked for 15 minutes and a 4 pound prime rib would be cooked for 20 minutes.
- After the initial cooking time and without opening the oven, turn the temperature down to 325ºF and continue to roast. You'll cook at this temperature for 13-15 minutes per pound for rare and 15-17 minutes per pound for medium. So, for a 3 pound roast, you'd be fine at cooking it for 45 minutes, and for a 4 pound roast, you'd be fine at cooking it for 1 hour.
- At the end of the day, it's best to cook to internal temperature. For a rare prime rib, you'll be cooking the prime rib to 115ºF, and for a medium-rare prime rib, you will be cooking the prime rib to 120ºF.
- When the prime rib has reached the right internal temperature, remove it from the oven, place it on a clean carving board, and tent with foil for 30 minutes.
- After rested, remove the kitchen cooking twine and the bones (see above for ideas on what to do with the bones). The prime rib should be sliced long ways - the same way the bones were facing - to your desired thickness. If the end pieces are a bit cooked, that's okay, there's always someone in the group that likes that outer-crust. Serve with au jus or horseradish sauce.
- This recipe for au jus makes about 1 1/2 cups of au jus. While the prime rib is resting, place the roasting pan on your stove top, and turn the heat to medium to medium-low on two of the burners under the pan.
- Cook the drippings with Worcestershire, red wine, and shallots. Scrape up any cooked on brown bits as the au jus slowly boils. Cook until the shallots are translucent to browned.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the beef broth, and simmer until reduced slightly. If you want a slightly thicker sauce, whisk in a teaspoon or two of corn starch and cook over a higher heat while stirring constantly. Don't be tempted to add anything to the au jus just yet. As is, it goes perfectly with the prime rib, but after tasting it with the meat, if you feel it needs something, make notes for next time. Pre-tasting and adjusting before dipping the prime rib in can lead to bad results, I promise.
- Mix together horseradish, apple cider vinegar, Dijon, and sour cream.