A Cut Above
If you want to know how to cook prime rib roast, it begins at the market when selecting your cut of beef.
Prime vs. choice.
Prime is the highest grade of beef available for consumer purchase. Prime cuts signify more fat marbling.
During the cooking process, the fat melts… translating to very tender, juicy and flavorful meat.
The word “prime” in the name, “Prime Rib,” can be very misleading. It does not mean that the roast you’re buying is prime grade.
Look for the USDA Prime Grade shield:
Oftentimes, prime cuts need to be special ordered through premium markets. Although some wholesale club stores offer these cuts throughout the year.
Choice is the second highest grade for beef and is gently marbled. For prime rib, we think this cut also yields excellent results at a fraction of the price.
Fat is Your Friend
Look for a well-marbled roast regardless of grade.
And DON’T remove or trim the fat cap as some recipes advise. Remember: fat = flavor.
We like a bone-in roast for its pretty presentation. But it’s more than that. Bones also add great flavor.
Let the roast sit at room temperature for a minimum of 90 minutes or up to 2 hours prior to roasting.
Don’t skip this step as your roast will not cook evenly.
Salt your roast a minimum of 90 minutes and up to 36 hours before cooking. Salt acts as a tenderizer and increases moisture retention of the roasts interior when cooking.
If salting for more than a couple of hours prior to cooking, leave the roast uncovered in the refrigerator. The result: a better browned, crusty exterior when roasted.
The Roasting Method
We love the high-heat / low-heat cooking method.
We start the cooking process at high heat for 15 minutes. Ensuring herb and peppercorn crust heaven!
Then we lower the heat, protecting the roast’s tender interior.
Remove the roast at 111 degrees Fahrenheit allowing for carryover cooking, and yielding a beautiful medium-rare result. The temperature will continue to rise as the roast rests.
Transfer your roast to a carving board immediately after removing from the oven. Let it rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes.
125 degrees Fahrenheit marks medium-rare. End cuts will please those that enjoy medium-well.
Regardless of whether you choose prime or choice grades of beef, these premium roasts are not inexpensive.
Ensure your kitchen is tooled for prime rib roast success.
Don’t even think about investing in a prime rib roast without high-quality thermometers.
We use more than one kind.
We use an oven thermometer with a leave-in oven probe. No need to open the oven with this professional grade thermometer that can be programmed to alert you when the roast reaches a set temperature.
We like this one by ThermoWorks:
A high-quality instant-read thermometer is a must-have. Not only for perfect prime rib… for poultry, other proteins, and more.
We use the instant-read to check against the oven temperature reading.
The ThermoPop is an excellent instant-read thermometer at a steal of a price, just $34.
Use a good roasting pan with a rack.
A good, heavy-bottomed roaster is essential to a brown crust and delicious pan drippings.
The pan will be transferred to the stovetop to create a delicious au jus.
This bad boy roast needs robust carving tools.
You’ll want a quality carving knife and fork. And, a sturdy cutting board with a trench to capture any juices.
Nice to Have
We love a good mini-chopper to create our peppercorn crust paste. You can also use a blender.
Your Roast Deserves a Good Wine
The prime rib’s richness and higher fat content stand up well to a big, powerful, full-bodied wine.
Tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux style blends, Syrah and Petite Sirah are great choices.
The tannins found in red wine soften on the palate when paired with high protein, rare, red meats. It’s a harmonious balance.
Consider your cooking method when choosing wine. Roasting intensifies the flavor.
Roasted prime rib pairs perfectly with a weighty red.
Cabernet Sauvignon and cooler climate Syrah have high-level tannins and nice acidity that pair well with rich foods.
If you enjoy red wine with a big fruit backbone, Syrah and Petite Sirah won’t disappoint!
Here are several reds we like, at all price levels from bargain to splurge:
Sensational Sides for a Memorable Meal
Chances are, you want to know how to cook prime rib roast because you’re serving it for a special occasion.
Why not up your side game too?
One of our favorite things about prime rib is having leftovers.
We enjoy delicious prime rib dip sliders on small dinner rolls with reserved au jus on the side. Holy moly, are they good!