In actuality, a prime rib roast is seldom a prime cut. Only 2% of all beef is graded by the USDA as Prime. What you normally see and find in most markets and butcher shops are either choice or select cuts. However if you ever get your hands on a prime cut you will notice the difference in tenderness and distinguishable flavor of this superior cut of meat. With that said, USDA Choice is an excellent grade of beef with slightly less marbling than Prime.

As mentioned earlier, prime rib roast is easy to prepare. To determine the success of this dish follow these steps:

1. When selecting a prime rib roast make sure it is at least a three-rib bone portion. Leave at least an inch of fat on the meat to prevent the meat from drying out while roasting.
2. Bring roast to room temperature (at least 2 hours) prior to roasting.
3. Use a good digital instant-read meat thermometer to achieve the desirable cooked temperature.
4. Pat roast dry prior to roasting.
5. Place roast fat side up in a heavy stainless-steel roasting or other metal pan.
6. Roast meat initially on the highest setting (usually 500 or 450 degrees) for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 325 degrees and roast according to weight (check chart below).
7. Check the internal temperature of the roast at least 30 minutes prior to the estimated end of the roasting time to ensure the correct cooked temperature.
8. Most importantly let the roast rest at least 20 minutes, covered with foil, before cutting into the meat or all your hard work of  achieving a tender cut of meat is lost.

Below is the weight and times to cook a prime rib at rare.

Cooking Time for Rare (120 -124 degrees)
(3 ribs) 7-8 lbs. 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.
(4 ribs) 9-10 lbs. 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then 1 1/2 to 2 hours at 325 degrees.
(5 ribs) 11-13 lbs. 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then 2 -2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.
(6 ribs) 14 – 16 lbs. 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then 2 3/4 – 3 hours at 325 degrees.
(7 ribs) 16-18 lbs. 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then 3-3 3/4 hours at 325 degrees.
To reach medium rare, let meat come up to 125-135 degrees; medium at 135-145 degrees, medium well at 150-155 degrees.

With all the information at your fingertips, now is the time to get down to flavoring the meat for a spectacular meal to remember. Here is my favorite prime rib roast recipe


14 lbs rib roast
2 sticks butter, softened
5 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/3 cup horseradish
salt and pepper
2 teaspoon sugar

Au Jus
1-1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup beef stock


Wipe roast dry with paper towel.

Place the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a paste. Spread paste all over surface of roast. Preheat oven to 500 degrees (or 450 degrees if that is the highest your oven can go). Place rib roast on baking sheet, fat-side up. Roast for 15 minutes and turn temperature down to 325 degrees and continue roasting for approximately 3 hours or until thermometer register 125 degrees for medium rare.  Remove roast from oven transfer to cutting board. Let stand at least 20 minutes to 1 hours before serving.

Meanwhile place roasting pan over two burners and heat over medium-high heat. Deglaze pan with red wine, scraping pan and let boil down to 1/3 of content. Add in beef stock and simmer for about 5 minutes. Strain and degrease jus. Serve jus warm over prime rib.

Serves 12