Cooking with Alison

How to Cook a Prime Rib Roast (Updated)

In How-To, Red Meat and Eggs on December 4, 2013 at am

Roasted prime rib (or standing rib roast) is one of my family’s favourite things to eat for special occasions and family gatherings.  It’s a beautiful, tender, flavourful and expensive cut of meat that would be completely wasted if overcooked.  Once you get the hang of achieving the right doneness, you’ll discover that it’s actually very easy to cook a prime rib roast.  Below, I have shared my favourite way to cook a prime rib roast to rare. Note that I don’t normally pre-season my roasts, so the cooking methods would differ slightly if you wanted to use a flavour crust on the outside of your meat.  I prefer to add high quality salt and freshly ground black pepper just prior to enjoying. My choice of salt pairings include:  Hawaiian black lava salt, French finishing salt, black truffle salt, pink Himalayan salt, etc. 

How to Select a Prime Rib Roast

  1. First off, I want to address the price of prime rib.  Prime rib can be expensive, but several times a year, especially around the time of national holidays, it goes on sale.  Where I live, I can get them for as little as $5.99 CAD / pound.  Keep your eyes open for sales in the grocery store flyers.  Although meat has the best texture when cooked fresh, I will often stock up on prime rib at this price and freeze them.  Sometimes I freeze them whole, but most of the time I cut them up into a few large pieces and freeze the pieces separately.  Then I use the meat for steaks, jerky, stir fries, fast cooked Indian curries, etc.
  2. Prime rib roasts are often sold as “chef style” or “cap off”.  The cap of the prime rib roast is a bit tougher in texture, so the price for chef style prime rib is usually less than a prime rib roast that has had the cap removed.  I prefer to purchase prime rib with the cap off. If you do purchase a chef style prime rib, you always have the option of removing the cap yourself and reserving that for stir fries or other dishes.  The cap is separated from the rest of the roast by a layer of fat and it is very easy to remove with a knife.
  3. The meat should be bright in colour, the fat should be white, not yellow, there should be at least some marbling, and try to avoid packages that have liquid in the tray.
  4. The grading standards for meat in Canada are, starting with the best:  Prime, AAA, AA, A.
  5. Cuts of prime rib that have a smaller bone, larger rib eye, and less fat were likely cut from the loin side.  Larger overall cuts that have a smaller rib eye with layers of fat dispersed between layers of meat were likely cut from the chuck end.  Some would say that prime rib cut from the loin side is more desirable, but I enjoy both cuts, especially the larger rib bones from the chuck end.

How to Cook a Prime Rib Roast


Although most recipes recommend seasoning the outside of the meat (ie. with salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, various flavour crusts, etc.) prior to cooking, I usually prefer to cook the meat without any seasoning at all.  Then, once cooked, I serve it with flavourful beef gravy for special occasions or, typically, with high quality salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  But if you would like to encrust your meat with seasonings, note that you should use a slightly different cooking method than what I’ve listed below.

Cooking Method:

This method can be used for all sizes, but is especially good for roasting large cuts of beef. It uses low heat and will yield a caramelized crust, and evenly cooked, moist and tender meat cooked to rare.

Prime/Standing Rib Roast Recipe:

One hour prior to the start of your baking time, remove the rib roast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Rinse the prime rib well under cool running water.  Then pat the entire roast dry with paper towels.  Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat.  If you do not have a skillet that is large enough for the roast, you can use the actual roasting pan.  Add several light drizzles of vegetable or olive oil to the hot pan.  Sear all sides of the rib roast until nicely browned and caramelized, up to 2 minute per side.  Set a roasting rack in a roasting pan.  Pour 1 to 2 cups of water into the roasting pan and set aside.  Ensure that the water will not reach the meat.  Alternatively, you could use whole carrots, whole ribs of celery, and halved onions to create a roasting rack.  If you are using vegetables, you could use 1 or 2 cups of chicken stock instead of water if desired.  Stand the rib roast up, bone side down, on the roasting rack. Place the rib roast into the preheated oven.

Roast until desired doneness has been achieved.  Prime/standing rib roast is best enjoyed cooked to medium rare, or my favourite, rare.  I roast for 20 minutes per pound to yield a rare doneness. For medium-rare, roast for 22 minutes per pound.

Keep in mind that after you’ve removed the roast from the oven, the meat will continue to cook further as it rests.

Once the rib roast has been removed from the oven, transfer the rib roast from the roasting pan to a cutting board.  Allow it to rest for 10 to 30 minutes prior to carving.  To carve the rib roast, start by using a large, sharp knife to slice the meat along the bone.  This will separate the rib eye from the bone, but be sure to leave the meat attached to the bone at the larger, meatier end.  Then slice the rib eye vertically from the top of the roast straight down to the bone in the thickness of your choice.  Plate the slices of meat and serve with gravy, freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper.  Don’t forget to cut the meat between the ribs to separate the ribs.  I love gnawing on the rib bones when no one’s around.  In fact, the rib bones are my favourite part of the prime rib.

  1. mmm is this what you’ll be serving for dinner on the 24th? 🙂

  2. Great recipe! I’m bookmarking it to try myself!
    BTW, $3.99 is really a great price!

  3. Your numbers for an 8-10 lb. roast just do not add up. Regardless of searing, your 15 min. Per lb. at 200 is wrong at over 6 hours of cook time. You’re an idiot.

    • Hi Peter, thank you for reminding me to update this recipe! The cooking time instructions have now been corrected. I can see that you were frustrated, but calling someone who took the time to share their recipes an idiot is very telling of your character. Hope your new year’s resolution is to be better than this.

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